Al-Ahram daily, Egypt’s oldest and biggest newspaper, has issued an apology and an explanation for having earlier misquoted, quoted out of context and selectively quoted a New York Times story on Egypt by its correspondent, David Kirkpatrick.
In its statement Al-Ahram regretted that such a grave error would occur at a time when the current editorial management of the newspaper and the organisation as a whole is bent on restoring its credibility and asserting the traditions of proper and ethical journalism based on the highest standards of the profession.
It also noted that these efforts are being made at a time when bad practice and low ethical and professional standards are rampant in Egyptian journalism as a whole, which makes reform an uphill battle.
In explanation, Al-Ahram pointed out that the published review of Mr. Kirkpatrick’s story was taken from Egypt’s foremost news agency, MENA. Other Egyptian dailies published the same review, distortions included.
This is no excuse, Al-Ahram said in the apology, adding that it should have checked MENA’s review against the original text of the NYT story. Whereupon, an editorial decision has been issued banning the use of any MENA story without rigorous fact-checking.
Sadly, apologies for mistakes have been lacking in Egyptian journalism for a great many years. In issuing this apology Al-Ahram not only corrects a mistake, but also hopes to set an example in restoring the traditions of editorial responsibility to Egyptian journalism in general.
Al-Ahram daily newspaper