Egypt SIS condemns Reuters, BBC inaccurate Wahat coverage
Both international news outlets reported a death toll of 52 police personnel; the coverage was made based on information from “unidentified security sources." According to official statements, 17 Egyptian security personnel were killed Friday during a raid on a militant hideout in Giza.
Militants were immediately alerted of the raid; resorting to the use of heavy fire power instantly. The shootout lasted for a few hours, reaping the lives of 13 police officers, four police conscripts and a sergeant, official statements announced.
The statement labeled the coverage made by Reuters and BBC “appalling” as they “erred with such magnitude." The SIS specifically condemned the news agencies for resorting to unidentified security sources while completely disregarding official statements and even manipulating them.
The SIS said BBC misquoted the Interior Ministry’s description of the militants. The official statement described them as “terrorist elements,” whereas BBC quoted; “elements that the Interior Ministry described as terrorists.”
The SIS’s statement demanded that the BBC, Reuters and any other news agencies that relied on “their own sources” to either apologize and deny what was previously published while sticking to the official figures; or, if they can prove otherwise, that they publish the names of all victims.
The SIS statement reads as follows:
The State Information Service (SIS) severely condemns the British Broadcasting Company’s (BBC) and Reuters’ coverage of the Giza attack.
The SIS has severely condemned both the BBC and Reuters for their inaccurate coverage yesterday of the Giza incident, which is still ongoing.
In light of the war that Egypt is fighting for the sake of its people and all peoples against terroristic bloodshed which has befallen everyone everywhere, both news agencies have reported the number of casualties falsely. Of the 52 martyrs who have fallen in the attack, Reuters reported that 23 of those were security officials, while BBC reported the number to be 18 only. Both news agencies cited anonymous security forces as their sources.
It is appalling that two of the most prominent news agencies in the world have come to err with such magnitude in terms of the following:
- Using “anonymous security sources” instead of resorting to, or waiting for, accurate information to be disseminated from official governmental institutions. Such reporting violates the known and agreed upon international regulations of covering terrorist attacks, which in some cases requires news agencies to wait while security forces address the attack and issue official information on it.
- Manipulating the original text of the official Ministry of Interior’s statement where the descriptions of the attackers and the security personnel were concerned. The ministry’s text explicitly labeled the attackers as “terrorists,” whereas BBC Arabic has incorporated into what was supposedly a direct quote taken from the text of the ministry’s statement the following: “elements that were described as terroristic.” This manipulation of phrasing is a liability that the publisher carries. In addition, this manipulation has underscored that the news agency does not condone the ministry’s labelling of the attackers.
- Similarly, the English version of BBC and Reuters have substituted the term “terrorists,” the most accurate and truthful label for the attackers, with the term “armed men;” which can possibly carry a positive denotation for the reader.
The SIS demands from both the BBC, Reuters, and any other news agencies that have relied on their “private sources” to do one of the following:
- Either retract, refute, and apologize for what was previously published in regards to the number of casualties; adopting instead the official statistics issued from the ministry, or;
- That they publish the names of all victims if they are confident of the figures they published, which we guarantee are inaccurate.