Should Egypt’s Ramadan TV Dramas Better Reflect Reality?

Art Critics Speak to Majalla about Their Viewpoints on Ramadan Drama

A still from Khali Balak Mn Zizi (Take Care of Zizi) TV series.
A still from Khali Balak Mn Zizi (Take Care of Zizi) TV series.

Should Egypt’s Ramadan TV Dramas Better Reflect Reality?

Violence, murder, bullying and swear words have been the highlights of Egyptian TV drama series for years now.

That prompted the state authorities to set a code of ethics for TV dramas to preserve “the identity and cohesiveness of the Egyptian society.”

This approach has drawn mixed reactions as some say that this kind of violence and bullying defames the image of the Egyptian society while others say that the dramas should reflect a part of reality.

This year the Drama Committee of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation followed up and monitored the series shown on Egyptian television channels and Egyptian satellite screens, confirming that surveillance takes place in light of the media codes issued.

The Council set a number of rules, including the requirement to eliminate any images that distort the family, women and childhood, as well as images depicting violence, whether verbal or physical.

Earlier, journalist Karam Jabr, head of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, said that the Council would activate the penalties list against all violators without exception.

The list stipulates penalties for violating the standards and codes set by the Council, which begin with a notice and warning but increase to the imposition of a fine and shutting down broadcasting for continued violations.


Art critic Magda Kheirallah said that TV drama should convey a part of reality as it does in all international TV series.

“Is the violence and bullying in US dramas defaming the image of US society?” Khairallah told Majalla.

Khairallah said that there is a huge difference between art and reality because art includes imagination. “This is a very narrow perspective on art,” she said.

Meanwhile, Khairallah said that this year’s Ramadan dramas offer a diverse and new approach as they address key issues, including those related to national security, education, harassment, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and oral divorce in Islam.

While three TV series are tackling issues related to national security, namely El-Ekhteyar 2 (The Choice 2), Cairo Kabul and Hagma Mortada (Counterattack), there are also other TV series like Al-Tawoos (Peacock), Khali Balak Min Zizi (Take Care of Zizi) and Lebet Newton (Newton’s Cradle) dealing with sexual harassment, ADHD and oral divorce, respectively.

Al-Tawoos discusses rape and violations against women especially when they are done by wealthy and influential people.

El-Ekhtiyar 2 tells the stories of Egyptian officers who are sacrificing their lives for the sake of their homeland. Cairo Kabul, meanwhile, presents three exciting stories about the plots being hatched against the Arab region, especially Egypt recently, highlighting the terrorist acts that take place in this region.

Counterattack, which is inspired by one of the files of the Egyptian General Intelligence, is a drama about a young Egyptian man whom foreign parties are seeking to recruit in order to implement a scheme threatening the national security of Egypt.

Poster of El-Ekhtayar 2 (The Choice 2) TV series.



Essam Zakaryia, an art critic and president of the Ismailia International Film Festival, said that the TV drama should not reflect reality but it should be reality’s shadow.

“Art should include imagination and fantasy and should be a rest from reality. When watching artistic works, the viewers want to be immersed in adventures and new experiences. They do not want to see what they are already experiencing in reality,” he told Majalla.

Zakaryia added that even in a historical TV series there has to be imagination and not merely sticking to the book.

The art critic mentioned the TV series “The Crown” which follows the life and the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

“The TV series is not showing the exact events of the life of Queen Elizabeth II but it includes a lot of imagination. The English people are not angry about that and they do not care that it is not true. They know that this is art and art is fiction and imagination,” he said.

“We should overcome this perception about whether drama is defaming the image of the society or not because everything is possible in drama,” he added.

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