Egypt Independent

BBC report on human rights in Egypt is ‘baseless’ and ‘false’: SIS

In response to a recent visual and written BBC report entitled ‘The shadows over Egypt’, which addresses the country’s human rights conditions and alleged torture, Egypt’s official State Information Service (SIS) said that report contains “lies and allegations.”

According the SIS statement, it requested to summon the head of the BBC’s office in Egypt to receive an official letter of response on the report. It also called on BBC to adopt stance to address the flagrant professional violations of its correspondent.

“The author of the report, Orla Guerin aimed to ‘impose her biased personal views and impressions through the report, she committed violations to internationally recognized professional norms, and those of the BBC itself,” the SIS statement read.

The BBC published on Friday a 5,000-word article and video report.

‘The Shadow over Egypt’ includes interviews with families of alleged victims of torture and enforced disappearances conducted by security apparatuses.

The BBC report highlighted a woman which it claimed was subjected to forced disappearance by police forces. However, the SIS report noted that the BBC reporter has failed to provide any information about the woman or to prove police involvement in the case.

“[We have] tried twice to contact the BBC ‘reporter’ to get information about the case, but she could not be reached, this is considered a lack of evidence for police involvement in the case,” the SIS statement continued.

The BBC report showed photos and video of a mother, and the house of the girl who was allegedly forcibly disappeared. The girl’s name is ‘Zubeida’ according to the report, however the SIS said that BBC report did not refer to any data or information on the girl’s status so as to prevent the SIS from following up on her case.

Moreover, the SIS issued harsh criticism aimed at Guerin over her citation of unidentified sources, including “lawyers, human rights campaigners and former prisoners,” without revealing their identities despite the “seriousness” of the claims.

The SIS blasted the report as “replete with contradictions as it clearly shows the author’s bias to portray an offensive image of the conditions in Egypt.” It also criticized Guerin for describing June 30, 2013 as a “coup.”

Guerin is an Irish journalist and news presenter who previously worked as the BBC’s Egypt correspondent from 2013 until January 2018.