25 February 2024 01:01 AM

SIS: The Economist report violated all rules and ethics of journalistic profession

Monday، 19 June 2023 - 08:19 PM

The British Economist newspaper published on 6/16/2023, on its website, a negative report on some of conditions in Egypt, including many inaccuracies and lies, in an approach that lacks most professional standards recognized globally and are in force in the field of media.

In response to this report and the inaccuracies it contains, the State Information Service decided to summon the correspondence of “The Economist” in Egypt to hand him a letter of protest against what was stated in the report, demanding the newspaper to be objective and impartial, to conform to journalism ethics when dealing with Egypt's affairs, and to consider opinion of concerned authorities to covering all opinions and points of views, in compliance with rules and ethics of journalism and the media profession.

The State Information Service issued a statement refuting the fallacies and allegations contained in the report of the British newspaper. The SIS statement said: The Economist report violated all rules and ethics of journalistic profession and included repeated uncorroborated sayings and slinging accusations, relying on a number of sources that are all unknown, in addition to publishing erroneous figures and incorrect data without citing any credible source, in addition to other allegations and misinformation that indicate a lack of knowledge about what is happening in Egypt on the political, economic, social and cultural levels”.

The SIS statement said: One of the most important rules of journalism profession is the necessity of mentioning the sources from which the reporter or the writer draws information, especially when reporting facts, data or opinions, as well as being keen to consider the opinion and position of all parties to the issue to impartially cover all points of view.

In flagrant violation of the aforementioned rules, The Economist report is considered partial, biased, offensive and a deliberate distortion. It does not consider any Egyptian party to seek precision of data and information the report contained before publishing. In addition, the report cites (13) sources for information and opinions it contained, including one well-known source, which is a Lebanese researcher, and quoted an uncorroborated opinion, while the (12) other sources are completely unknown.

Regarding figures included in the report, the SIS statement said: In an economic newspaper, like The Economist, figures and proportions are of great importance, and shall be subject to strict controls to investigate accuracy. This was contradicted in the report, which elaborated on listing economic figures and data without controls and without citing any source, including the claim that rates of food inflation in Egypt is 60%, without citing any source to back up his allegation, although official data of monthly and yearly core and general inflation in Egypt is always announced.

Adopting the exact approach, the report claimed, without citing any source, that more than half of Egyptians are deemed to be poor - and added that aid of gulf countries to Egypt is $ 100 bn, and that the cost of the administrative capital is $ 58 bn, and the cost of railways is $ 23 bn, and other economic figures and data, without referring to a single Egyptian or international source who agrees or supports these figures, and without explaining the breakdown of the amount, areas of expenditure, and the importance in the field of rebuilding the infrastructure of the economy and society, which the report itself praised for its achievement in the past ten years. Rather, it claimed a reduction in education and health allocations, contradicting the reality that the budget has been doubled in the past ten years.

The SIS statement continued: The report claimed that foreign investors withdrew $20 bn in the first nine months of last year... as a result of “Dwindling business confidence”, leading to capital flight. These are inaccurate facts and absolutely corrupt interpretation. The exit of hot money and investments was this year, in accordance with official statements of the Minister of Finance who announced a few days ago that $23 billion in hot money has already left Egypt this year (not last year, as the report claims).

The biggest fallacy, however, is in the misinterpretation of the exit of these funds and the outflow of direct investments from Egypt. The reason is not as the report claimed: “Dwindling business confidence has triggered capital flight”. Rather, it is known to the whole world and in all reports of global economic institutions; the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and then the Russia-Ukraine war and the consequent strict financial and monetary policies on the part of major economic markets, have led to the exodus of funds from emerging markets and developing countries - not just Egypt - to major economies, especially with the continuation of these economies raising interest rates. These are facts confirmed by the latest “World Economic Outlook 2023” issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) two months ago, which confirms that the monetary and financial policies of major markets are the main drive for the exodus of funds from all emerging markets that are now facing difficulty in obtaining financing at appropriate costs. Besides, the IMF indicated that general debt of all countries of the world is doubled, especially developing countries, due to the Corona pandemic, and then worsened due to repercussions of the Russia-Ukraine war.

The SIS statement added: “Among other inaccuracies included in The Economist report is repeating the false claim of the detention of (60) thousand prisoners for political reasons, without mentioning any credible source, as the report says: “at least 60,000 are thought to be behind bars for political reasons.” The statement is merely a repetition of the false allegations the brotherhood made up and failed to provide a proof on the existence of this number of prisoners in Egyptian prisons, or the existence of what is so-called a "prisoner for political reasons", which is an expression that does not exist in the Egyptian law or judiciary.

The SIS statement continued: The most scandalous allegation is the claim that Egypt may “offer a 99-year lease of the Suez Canal” for a trillion dollars, by reporting so, the report repeats rumours of a fake contract whose forgery was exposed to the whole world several months ago.

The SIS statement added that among other fabrications of the British paper’s report is describing the national dialogue as an "old trick", adding that participants were carefully “handpicked", calling the Dialogue "a charade", and that groups such as the Brotherhood were excluded.

These are incorrect assumptions that contradict the reality in whole and in detail. The National Dialogue took place at the invitation of the President of the Republic, and the Board of Trustees of the National Dialogue includes 20 members representing all Egyptian currents, and its committees include 44 rapporteurs and assistants of all political parties, trade unions, popular and societal movements, experts, youth, women and all segments of society. It is an independent dialogue that does not subject to interference from any state authorities. Besides, deliverables of the dialogue, achieved so far, indicate its seriousness, as follows:

·        Number of political parties participating in the dialogue is (65) representing all political currents and movements across the country. No party or political current declined to join the dialogue.

·        The Dialogue Secretariat has received hundreds of thousands of contributions through various means, all of which received attention and were studied.

·        The Board of Trustees of the Dialogue held (25) meetings during the preparatory phase…they ended with agreement on all procedural and organizational aspects of the Dialogue, and crystallized (113) issues that express the priorities of the Egyptian people in all political, economic and societal fields.

·        The Dialogue held its opening session on 3/5/2023, in the presence of about 1,000 personalities, including ambassadors, journalists, correspondents representing foreign media and others, and representatives of all political parties and currents, political and community movements and trade unions.

·        Registration for the Dialogue has been open to all Egyptians for several months without any reservation from any party, and without rejection or hesitation from any party or political current.

·        The Dialogue sessions, about (31) so far, discussed around (50) national issues, and were attended by 1,600 participants, including representatives of over (65) political parties.

·        The Dialogue has so far enjoyed consensus of all participating parties, and its recommendations will be submitted to the President of the Republic, who publicly pledged to adopt them, by the use of his constitutional prerogatives, as well as the state executive and legislative institutions.

All these facts refute the newspaper's claims that the National Dialogue is “an old trick” and “a charade”.

The SIS concluded its statement by saying: The report is a professional setback that we did not hope for a newspaper like “The Economist” to fall into, and we hope that it will not be repeated.

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