Egypt's SIS decries foreign media coverage of Times journalist's deportation

Ahram Online , Sunday 25 Mar 2018


Egypt's State Information Service has slammed a number of foreign media outlets for ''propagating" a story by The Times, in which a British journalist said she was deported from the country.

In a statement, the SIS criticised the foreign media outlets for reporting on claims in a Times article by correspondent Bel Trew in which she said she was deported from Egypt in February after being arrested while carrying out interviews in Cairo.

The SIS described her account as  "launch[ing an] unwarranted attack in an unprofessional workmanlike manner against the so-called ‘oppression of freedom of the press, opinion and expression in Egypt.’”

The SIS said Trew, who was accredited with the Egyptian press centre, violated Egyptian law and regulations governing the work of foreign correspondents in Egypt by not applying for a temporary press card from the press centre, which they said were required as "due to technical reasons" the 2018 press cards had not yet been issued. 

Trew, the state body said, "has not applied to the press centre to issue a temporary card," citing this as a violation of Egyptian law.

It also accused her of practicing journalism without a permit 40 days after the press centre began to issue the temporary IDs, and said she used while reporting her story "video and photography equipments without having the necessary permits from the relevant authorities through the press centre", citing this as a second violation of Egyptian law.

"As a result of these two flagrant violations, the Egyptian relevant authorities took its decision to deport the British journalist, by virtue of text of articles 13 and 19 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which has been ratified by Egypt and in conformity with which Egypt has issued its code on entry and stay of foreigners," it said.

Trew was working on a story on the issue of illegal migration shortly before she was arrested, interrogated, and then driven to Cairo airport to take a flight to London, she wrote.

"I am on a list of ‘undesirable people’ and if I attempt to return I will be re-arrested. I can’t go back to my home of seven years. Nobody can explain why," Trew wrote.

The SIS affirmed its keenness on the freedom of press and expression, which it said was underscored by the number of accredited foreign correspondents in Egypt.

SIS also said that Egypt has not deported a single foreign correspondent since the January 2011 Revolution "despite the difficult circumstances the country has been witnessing ever since."

It said that the freedom of press and expression for all foreign correspondents in Egypt was guaranteed by the Egyptian constitution.

"The State Information Service considers this statement, besides being a clarification of the truth, a response and a correction of what some foreign newspapers and media outlets accredited in Egypt have published in this regard," the statement concluded.

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