CAIRO – 17 March 2020: In a Tuesday statement, SIS demanded an apology from the Guardian for publishing the report that cited a study by a Canadian Medical Doctor claiming that infected people in the country may amount to more than 19,000. The official number stands at 196, with six deaths and 26 recovered cases at the time of writing.
The statement said that the Guardian reporter license in Egypt was canceled and that they gave a warning to chief of the New York Times Cairo bureau Declan Walsh.
Guardian reporter's license canceled over false coronavirus figures, apology demanded
CAIRO – 17March 2020: The State Information Service (SIS) has canceled the license of the Guardian reporter and gave a warning to the chief of the New York Times bureau in Cairo over false figures on the coronavirus in Egypt.
And here is the full statement:
Firstly: The General Information Authority, through its role in following up what is published about Egypt in the foreign media, has monitored the release of a press report in the British newspaper "The Guardian" on Sunday 3/15/2020, which includes incorrect numbers and estimates regarding the numbers of new cases of Coronavirus that is newly emerging in Egypt.
It also monitored a group of tweets published by the reporter the American newspaper "New York Times" in Egypt, which included the same incorrect and exaggerated numbers, which raised a lot of confusion in Egypt and in the whole world, which follows with great concern everything related to this danger that threatens all of humanity.
Secondly: With regard to the contents of the "Guardian" report, and the tweets of the "New York Times" reporter, violations of all recognized journalistic work rules in Egypt and the world, and deliberately misleading about a very serious issue, the journalist Diaa Rashwan, head of the State Information Service summoned yesterday, Monday 3/16/2020 both the " Guardian " correspondent who prepared the report, as well as the " New York Times" correspondent, and they were confronted with what the report and the tweets contained from violations, an intent to offend and mislead, the report and the tweets also included:
– The correspondents relied on one single source to this important data and information, while the rules of journalism require relying on more than one source to confirm the information before publication. This only source is an anonymous Canadian doctor who said that he conducted a study based on arbitrary estimates of international air traffic and passenger numbers, which are false conclusions, unrelated to facts, and a WHO statement was issued indicating that this study is based on "speculations", and the organization does not accept accreditation based on speculations.
– None of the reporters was interested in taking the opinion of the parties involved in the issue into what is being published as the rules of the press require in the whole world, and at the forefront of these parties: the concerned authorities in Egypt, especially the Ministry of Health, as well as the World Health Organization, whether in its Cairo office or its main center in Europe.
– The fact that the reporters hastily promoted incorrect data does not justify relying on an unpublished, unjustified and unrecognized study in the prestigious academic and scientific bodies in the world, but it reveals the bad intention of the reporters mentioned to harm Egyptian interests and offend the image of the situation in Egypt.
– The Egyptian Ministry of Health denied in an official statement these arbitrary estimates, as well as the World Health Organization, which praised the efforts of the Egyptian state and praised its cooperation and work transparently against this epidemic .. In addition, the Egyptian reality is available to hundreds of foreign correspondents accredited to Egypt who roam freely all over the country, they see the reality, and they can monitor any situations or phenomena on the ground.
– The Chairman of the State Information Service demanded that the correspondent who can provide any name of any case of fatalities with this disease other than what the Egyptian state declares can do that.
Thirdly: In the face of these professional abuses, which exceed the limits of the accreditation granted to reporters, which is based on the practice of professional journalistic work that respects the norms of the established press, and given the repeated intentional abuse, especially by the Guardian correspondent and professional abuses by the New York Times, and given that none of the reporters apologized for the professional abuses they committed that had wide negative effects, therefore, the State Information Service, according to Egyptian laws and regulations, as well as international law and rules for the work of foreign correspondents in various countries of the world, have decided the following:
– Withdrawing the accreditation of the correspondent of the "Guardian" newspaper in Egypt, with all the implications for the competent authorities.
– The State Information Service requires "The Guardian" to publish an apology for this report full of professional errors, in the same way as publishing the aforementioned report according to press norms, and in the event of non-response, all available legal measures will be taken, including closing and withdrawing the accreditation of the newspaper's office in Egypt.
– A warning to the correspondent of the American newspaper "New York Times" in Egypt that it is necessary to respect the rules of the journalistic profession in his journalistic work in Egypt, which are the rules approved by the newspaper in which he works himself.
– The State Information Service praises the professional performance of many international press institutions that have offices and correspondents in Egypt, and no attempts were raised or tampered with, similar to what the two correspondents did … The Information Authority appeals to everyone to adhere to the principles of the globally established journalistic profession and to take into account the nature of the stage of the current situation that all humanity faces and that threaten everyone, and cannot tolerate such press excitement and manipulation … The Information Agency stresses that it will not tolerate such practices from any party.