State-run newspaper Al-Ahram published on Sunday a report accusing the BBC of being part of a conspiracy against Egypt that aims to harm the country’s tourism sector.
The report, published in the most circulated newspaper in the country, opened with the line: “Foreign media have been putting extraordinary effort into depicting Egypt as an unsafe country for tourists and foreign visitors in general.”
The report, published without a byline, said that despite terrorist attacks in different parts of the world and in countries such as France, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, the United States, and Tunisia, the foreign media did not award such countries the same type of media “focus” given to Egypt, which aims to strike a direct “blow” to the country’s tourism sector.
“In addition to these attempts, foreign media resorts to fabricating crises and exaggerating events, which may be minor in size, in order to reach their goal. And this is what the BBC did last month when it persistently focused on highlighting the allegations of food poisoning by a British girl named Emily Bridges after she ate at a tourist resort in Hurghada, which led to a kidney transplant in her home country,” wrote the newspaper.
The newspaper also made an example of “another incident” where the BBC described the Egyptian leadership as non-responsive towards the Irish government’s request to release one of their citizens held in Egypt “named Ibrahim Halawa, accused of terrorism, who is being tried in the ‘Fatah mosque violence’ case”.
Al-Ahram also said that the aim of using such news and information is to “annul any attempt to bring back British tourists to Sharm El-Sheikh, bearing in mind that the reports by the British media on the alleged shortcoming in security at Sharm El-Sheikh airport has not been repeated in other cases that witnessed clear security negligence, such as what happened at the airports in Brussels and Istanbul”.
“Even the Associated Press resorted to a strange scam to ‘squeeze’ the name of Egypt into a tragedy that occurred in the United States, when it published on 30 July 2015 a report on the crash of a tourist balloon in the state of Texas, giving a nod to the balloon accident in Luxor which took place in February 2013,” the report added.
CNN also came under the fire in the Al-Ahram report, which mentioned that it reported similarly on the same incident.
Reuters was also mentioned for a report on terrorist suspects who were arrested in relation to threats to the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Reuters report mentioned that two of the suspects met each other when they studied Arabic in Egypt in 2012 after they converted to Islam, details that were described as “very strange to mention” by Al-Ahram.
The report also read: “Also, CNN resorted to publishing reports that harm the reputation of EgyptAir after the Paris aeroplane accident. Although the aeroplane crashed in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea on its way from France to Egypt the [media] attempts did not stop to exclude the possibility of terrorism in the accident, because in this case it would not be the responsibility of the Egyptian authorities. This is unlike what happened in the Russian aeroplane accident in Sinai in which, from the first moment, the focus was that the accident must have resulted from something that happened aboard the plane.”