Egyptian state television has given its anchors three months to slim down as part of a plan aimed at improving the broadcaster's sagging image, an official said in remarks published on Thursday.
"Around 90% of male and female television presenters are overweight," head of state television's regional sector Hani Gaafar told private newspaper al-Masri al-Youm.
"They have been given a three-month period to diet, starting from July," Gaafar said, adding that a committee will later evaluate the anchors in terms of weight, clothing and erudition.
"Anyone found unfit will be transferred to another work unrelated to presentation," Gaafar said.
His remarks come days after local media reported that eight female anchors were suspended for one month in order to lose weight before they are allowed back on the air.
State-run newspaper al-Ahram this week named the eight and called for applying the same standards on different channels of official television.
The paper, citing the head of the broadcaster Magdi Lasheen, said that the decision is the first in an unspecified series of steps designed to boost television's viewing rates.
Credibility of Egyptian television suffered a hard blow due to its biased coverage of the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak.
In recent months, voices have been raised in the media demanding an overhaul to the broadcaster, as it incurs huge losses amid an acute economic crisis in the country.
Khadija Khatab, one of the reportedly eight suspended anchorwomen, said she had not been formally informed of the decision.
"I think my appearance looks like that of any ordinary Egyptian woman," Khatab said.
"My shape is not repugnant at all. I should not look like a model," she told private broadcaster Dream TV this week.
Khatab expressed dismay at media calling the eight "fat" and "obese."
"Using inappropriate words in referring to Egyptian presenters is an unacceptable insult."
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