Egypt says no breakthrough reached on second day of AU-sponsored GERD talks    UAE adopts new government structure, full announcement to come on Sunday    Ministry of Culture announces schedule for resumed theatrical, musical activities    WHO halts hydroxychloroquine, HIV drugs in COVID trials after failure to reduce death    Biggest lenders in Canada join boycott of Facebook platforms    CIAM targets EGP 10bn asset management portfolio year-end    Virtual talks on Ethiopia's disputed dam resume amid consensus hopes    Egypt sees 13.5m mobile wallets end-May: NTRA    Turkish deals with Libya's Sarraj illegal: LNA    Berlin metro to change derogatory station name by end of year    Brighton nearly safe after beating last-place Norwich 1-0    Egypt to hold Senate elections on 11-12 August: NEC    No days off for Liverpool under Klopp: Oxlade-Chamberlain    Banks in Egypt switch to IBAN standard to ease cross-border transactions    5 killed, 10 injured in bomb attack in southwest Somalia    Iran imposes new curbs as coronavirus toll rises    Russia says China would be needed in expanded G7 summit: TASS    Hurghada Airport receives two flights carrying 383 tourists from Ukraine and Belarus    Egypt dismisses rumours of imposing tax on bank deposits    TUI opens bookings to Egypt starting September    Egypt gets its fifth new aircraft from Airbus    Egypt reopens 5 museums, 8 archaeological sites and operates 171 international, domestic flights    Arsenal forward Martinelli signs new long-term deal    Australia's Victoria reports 108 new coronavirus cases, biggest jump since March    $50 bln more required for middle-and low-income Arab countries to recover from COVID-19: ESCWA    GERD talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to continue Saturday    GERD talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan resume on Friday    Rudolfo Anaya, 'godfather' of Chicano literature, dies at 82    Egypt and Jordan's Foreign ministers discuss annexation of West Bank    Lebanon's negotiations with IMF on hold pending start of reforms – minister    Ex-FDA official says the worst of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak to end in January    Moderna delays coronavirus vaccine trial – report    Egypt developing four WHO-registered vaccines to treat coronavirus patients    NCW calls for investigating harassment and rape allegations discussed on social media    Egypt is developing 4 vaccines, 3 drugs against COVID-19: Higher Education Minister    Egypt's Zamalek to continue training Thursday, but domestic league participation unclear    Liverpool boss Klopp happy with African Nations Cup postponement    Deadly protests erupt in Ethiopia over killing of popular Oromo singer    Egypt's cultural activities to resume mid-July    Federation of Egyptian Banks denies funding GERD: eletreby    Saudi development authority starts executing phase I of giant cultural project    Don't miss Al-Hadra troupe's two concerts at El-Sawy Culturewheel    Egypt's President Sisi opens Baron Empain Palace, two int'l airports    11 coronavirus cases detected at Egyptian Premier League clubs – EFA    Egypt to host World Handball Championship on time despite COVID-19: EHF President    Liverpool's Egyptian winger Salah fit for Crystal Palace clash – coach Klopp    Egypt's parliament Oks amendments to House law amid differences over election    CAF draws timeline for resumed continental championships amid COVID-19    

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Two days later
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 05 - 01 - 2011

The 43rd Cairo International Book Fair is to open on 22 January, or is it? Nevine El-Aref finds out
Following a week of indecision, the 43rd round of the Cairo International Book Fair (CIBF) will open on 22 January, two days before the usual opening date.
Early this week, when culture minister Shaker Abdel Hamid announced that the official inauguration of CIBF would be delayed to 1 February, Egyptian publishers and book lovers were fearful of a repeat of the 2011 scenario; they voiced strong objections.
At this time last year, officials kept confirming without a doubt that the 43th round of CIBF would take place as scheduled despite events indicated otherwise. A day before the opening, Egypt's January revolution broke out and the event was cancelled for the first time ever.
Attempts were by the ministry of culture to compensate publishers for losses incurred �ê" the Faisal Book Fair was organised last September, for example �ê" but nothing could be a substitute for the biggest and the most important fair in the Middle East.
This year the official reason for the initial delay was security: on the anniversary of the revolution, chaos elsewhere in the country might make it impossible to protect CIBF and its visitors.
Publishers would have none of it. In an objection statement issued by the Egyptian Publishers Union, union head Mohamed Rashad wrote that the ministry of culture's decision was taken unilaterally without consulting with the union or giving convincing reasons.
Rashad called on SCAF to interfere immediately to stop the delay in order to protect Egypt's publishing industry and the international reputation of CIBF.
The statement also pointed out that the army, having been well capable of protecting the parliamentary elections, it would have no trouble safeguarding CIBF.
"Inaugurating the CIBF on time is a promotion of Egypt's stability which in its turn will encourage tourists to return Egypt," the statement said, adding, "How is it that the police is able to safeguard football matches but not such a great cultural event?"
The delay of CIBF for two successive years, the statement added, would undermine the credibility of the fair and make it inconsistent with other regular Arab book fairs. "It is really a great loss," asserted Rashad, explaining that such a delay would force Arab and international publishers to withdraw from CIBF because of commitments to other fairs. They would also ask for the return of their participation fees and compensation for financial losses for the second time in a row. The statement concluded on a grave note:
"We, the Egyptian Publishers Union, object to the decision taken to delay the CIBF inauguration and the union is in permanent session until the problem is solved."
Ahmed Megahed, the head of the General Egyptian Book Organisation (GEBO), later announced that he would discuss the issue with the minister of culture, the cabinet and security officials in order to see to it the CIBF is opened on 22 January.
In collaboration with the culture committee at the press syndicate, activists have since launched a campaign to support the inauguration of CIBF on time, calling for hosting a round table at the syndicate to discuss the initiative.
On Tuesday night, Abdel Hamid announced that the CIBF is to be inaugurated on 22 January at the fair grounds in Nasr City and will last until 7 February.
Megahed, who appreciates the decision, told Al-Ahram Weekly that his efforts have finally bore fruit and both the minister of culture and the cabinet approved his suggestion to inaugurate the CIBF two days earlier than it was scheduled.
"It is a relief," he asserted, adding that the solution works in the interest of both the fair and publishers.
The Investment Pavilion was chosen to be the international hall for the official inauguration, he said. Under the title "A year since the 25 January Revolution", CIBF hosts 29 Arab and foreign countries with Tunisia is the guest of honour.

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