Egyptian TV platforms have thus been transformed into a battlefield of rival ideas and agendas. In this environment, assuming neutrality is widely understood to be an act of treason, especially by talk show hosts who identify themselves as servants of a cause and sociopolitical mentors for their audiences.
This particular situation is aptly described by Reem Maged, a talk show host on the private channel ONTV who, along with some of the channel's other presenters, acquired notoriety after openly supporting the revolution from day one. "I have struggled between my professional and human identities," she says. "I would like to go to the streets to report on the daily problems of ordinary people, but I am unable to let go of my talk show program. It is a powerful weapon. I will not renounce it in the service of my cause, especially while others are still using their programs in the service of theirs."
Thus, Egyptian talk shows are playing a pivotal role in introducing a culture of popular debate as well as vulgarizing an information medium that was long restricted to the elite. The lack of professional news programs has transformed the talk shows into a main conduit of popular information. There is no question that the new talk shows will remain an essential daily ritual for Egyptian viewers. The question now is how to reconcile professional standards with politically engaged rhetoric.