File photo: A BBC sign is displayed outside Broadcasting House in London, Britain July 19, 2017 (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt’s Cairo Court for Urgent Matters said it has ‘no jurisdiction’ in a lawsuit calling for the closure of the British Broadcast Corporation's (BBC) office in Cairo, the withdrawal of its licence to operate in Egypt, as well as banning its websites within Egypt.
Lawyer Mohamed Hamed Salem filed a case in March, responding to a controversial BBC report on the alleged forced disappearances and torture of individuals in opposition to the Egyptian state.
Among the cases included in the report was the case of Zubeida Ibrahim Younis, a young Egyptian woman allegedly "forcibly disappeared". The 25-year-old young woman later appeared on an Egyptian private television channel, where she disputed claims that she had been kidnapped by authorities and tortured.
Salem's case claimed that the "BBC broadcasts are false news adopting an anti-Egypt rhetoric with the aim of undermining Egypt's stability and economy, while agitating public opinion.”
The lawsuit pointed that BBC had not yet issued an official apology over what Salem described as a “scandal”, adding that shutting down the BBC’s offices in Egypt was a “national duty”.
Anger of Egyptian officials towards the BBC was stirred as Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) handed the BBC's Cairo bureau chief a “protest note” in April, as a result of the BBC's coverage which was reported by BBC journalist Orla Guerin.
The BBC has come under fire since then, with the SIS calling on Egyptian officials to boycott the state-funded British news agency, and to abstain from conducting media interviews with its journalists and producers, until it has published an officially apology in response to the SIS.