FILE: BBC Leeds building, Yorkshire, England – FLICKR/Tim Loudon
CAIRO – 11 March 2018: BBC is in hot water with the Egyptian state after a controversial news report on torturing of opposition members by Egyptian police.
The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters scheduled the first hearing of a lawsuit filed against the BBC to April 10. The lawsuit calls for the withdrawal of the corporation’s license to operate in Egypt and the closure of its office in Cairo.
Lawyer Mohamed Hamed Salem who filed the lawsuit accused the BBC of continuously spreading fabricated news to destabilize Egypt and deliberately distorting the country’s image in terms of human rights.
Earlier in March, the head of the State Information Service (SIS), Diaa Rashwan, received at his office BBC Cairo bureau’s chief, Safaa Faisal, to hand her the SIS’s official objection of BBC’s report, published on February 24, under the title “The Shadow over Egypt”.
The BBC report showed an Egyptian woman called Mona Mahmoud Ahmed, also known as Zubeida’s mother, accusing the police of kidnapping her daughter. In a TV interview conducted by renowned anchor Amr Adib, Zubeida refuted claims about her "forced disappearance".
Head of the Journalists Syndicate Abdel Mohsen Salama said on Friday that the BBC lost its credibility as a media source after its false report. Salama stressed the need to continue the Egyptian boycott of the BBC as long as it ignored to apologize for its “disastrous mistake”.
Following the incident, Member of Parliament (MP) Solaf Darwish submitted a draft law in March to criminalize acts of defamation against the armed forces and police.
During his visit to the city of Alamein on March 1, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said he considers any insult against the security forces as “high treason”.
"If someone insults the army or police, they're defaming all Egyptians and that's not freedom of opinion," he concluded.