Middle East broadcaster MBC Group has in one sense chosen an opportune moment to open a state-of-the-art news facility in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. It comes at a time when news is particularly fast moving in the country in the wake of the ousting of democratically elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. This was followed by mass protests and sometimes violent demonstrations both for and against Morsi that are still continuing, with the prospect of 1 million taking part in a rally in the Cairo streets around the new MBC Group studio early in August.
The newsroom has been set up by Media Group International (MGI), a regional systems integrator based in Dubai, comprising a broadcast control room/gallery, a central apparatus room, an audio studio, a broadcast studio, a master control room, a newsroom, and various editing and production facilities. The company was also responsible for the entire IT infrastructure and the installation of all power requirements.
“MBC’s on-air requirements meant that we were up against extremely tight deadlines,” said Paul Wallis, MGI’s sales director. “We also undertook this project during the recent political unrest, which created its own set of issues. On at least one occasion our team could not leave the facility overnight because demonstrators were protesting outside.”
At a time when many companies are avoiding outlay in Egypt, MBC said its decision to build this new facility — and its equipment choices — reflect its determination to invest in the very latest technology in order to bring high-quality news coverage to the people of Egypt.
MBC is a free-to-air, pan-Arab, news and entertainment broadcaster launched in 1991 as the first privately owned and independent Arabic satellite TV station. It was the first broadcaster to provide a satellite-based, free-to-air 24-hour TV network spanning the Arab world and has since evolved into a multi-channel platform.