FILE – Prime Minister MostafaMadbouli who was housing minister at the time during the bt 100 ceremony, 2017 – Courtesy of bt 100
CAIRO – 4 June 2019: The Cabinet's Media Center, established late in 2018 to spot fake news, announced spotting 12 rumors between May 23 and June 2, including selling the country's stake in Zohr gas field to a foreign company.
In 2015, the biggest gas field in the Mediterranean, Zohr, was discovered in Egyptian waters. Zohr reportedly holds about 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, and was inaugurated in January 2018. By September of the same year, the production of Zohr increased six times to become 2 billion cubic feet per day.
Zohr is not the only gas field in Egypt; West Nile Delta (WND), Greater Nooros Area, Atoll Phase 1, and WDDM – Burullus Phase 9B are all important gas fields that add to the national gas production.
Egypt’s total gas production came to 6.6 billion scfd in September, compared to 2017’s average of 5.1 billion scfd and 2016’s 4.4 billion scfd, according to the Petroleum Ministry, meaning that between 2018 and 2017, there was a 29.4 percent year-on-year increase.
Rumors spotted by the media center also included claims that the state will pay the debts of the Suez Canal Authority from thenew state budget.
ATM machines spitting white paper instead of money, the issuance of new LE 500 and LE 1000 currency banknotes, insulin'sdisappearancefrom hospitals and pharmacies, and the government's alleged move to forcibly displace people of Luxor's Karnak were all among the spotted rumors.
The rumors also included evacuating the tanneries of Cairo's Sour Magra al-Oyoun, as part of a renovation process, without compensating the owners.
Students of the second year of the high school, according to the rumors spotted, will have exams for each of the two seminars instead of once ayear.
The Cabinet also denied claims about cancelling Badr Battle (GhazwatBadr) annual celebration for the first time and banning Muslim worshippers from secluding themselves in mosques during Ramadan.
Moreover, the Cabinet denied rumors about selling Baron Empain Palace, and the government's failure to deal with locust swarms on the country's southern border.
The Cabinet's Media Center said it contacted the Ministry of Antiquities which denied the news about putting the 108-year old Indian-inspired mansion or any other archaeological buildings.
The media center affirmed keenness of the Egyptian state to preserve all its ancient monuments and cultural heritage, stressing that all rumors about this matter aim at stirring confusion and anger of the public.
The ministry also noted it has adopted a plan supervised by a group of archaeologists at a cost of LE 100 million, adding that the plan is set to be completed within the next six months.
In July 2018, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi warned against false news clarifying that more than 21,000 rumors have been propagated over a period of three months. The president also asked the citizens to be cautious of calls that inherently aim at the collapse of the Egyptian state.