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BBC Arabic quash media, Brotherhood reports of NSF poll

BBC Arabic has denied widely-circulating reports that it had carried out a poll that revealed the unpopularity of Egyptian opposition group the National Salvation Front

Ahram Online, Tuesday 5 Feb 2013
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BBC Arabic on Tuesday denied reports that it had carried out an opinion poll on the popularity of the National Salvation Front, Egypt's largest coalition of secular-leaning opposition groups.

On Monday various Egyptian media outlets, including the Muslim Brotherhood's official website, reported that BBC Arabic television carried out a two-day opinion poll that revealed that 82 per cent of Egyptians are opposed to the NSF.

Among various views cited in news reports as quotes from the poll are: "the NSF is a destruction not salvation," "the steps taken by the front and its unreasonable demands will jeopardise aid given to Egypt and damage economic conditions of the poor," and "the NSF is nothing but a group of opportunists who jumped on the revolution's bandwagon and are now speaking in the name of Egyptians."

According to a BBC statement released on Tuesday, last Friday an episode of BBC Arabic's Noktat Hewar (Dialogue Point) programme raised the question of whether Egyptians are with or against the platform of the NSF, rather than the popularity of the group itself.

Two guests of opposing views appeared on the programme - NSF spokesman Khalid Dawood and UK-based Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Ghanem.
According to the statement, the programme's routine e-voting process merely reflects views of participating audience members, rather than public opinion.
As an interactive programme, the statement read, a variety of opinions and stances related to the topic raised were received.

"We constantly clarify to our audiences that voting through the BBC Arabic website represents a random sample of views which are taken only from participating audiences," said Mahmoud El-Kassas, the programme's chief editor.

"The BBC is committed to raise issues based on neutrality, objectivity and documented news," added El-Kassas.

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