Egyptian Information Minister Salah Abdel-Maqsoud and Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) President Ismail Shishtawi, along with several Egyptian broadcasting experts, are preparing to celebrate the 60th anniversary in July of the launch of trans-regional radio station Sowt Al-Arab (‘Voice of the Arabs’), Al-Ahram’s Arabic-language news website reported Tuesday.
At a planning meeting, Abdel-Maqsoud stressed the radio station’s longstanding importance in the Middle East.
“In the 1950s and 60s, Sowt Al-Arab supported the Egyptian military coup that ended the British occupation of Egypt and the Algerian revolution against French occupation,” he said. “It also supported the Yemeni revolution at the time.”
Sowt Al-Arab was renowned for broadcasting Egyptian music throughout the region during the 20th century, including the work of iconic musicians Farid El-Atrash, Abdel-Halim Hafez, Mohamed Abdel-Wahab and Um Kalthoum.
Shishtawi, for his part, highlighted the station’s historical mission to augment Egypt's role in the Arab world and North Africa. The channel had played a part in restoring the country's leading role in the region, which, he went on to concede, “has receded in recent years.”