Journalists of Al-Wafd, official news portal of the liberal Wafd Party, protested on Thursday in front of the office of party leader El-Badawi, demanding an apology after he announced that he was not responsible for what was published on the news portal.
The article in question accused a number of activists and civil society workers of receiving illegal funds from abroad. El-Badawi claimed that the news portal is supervised only by the editor Adel Sabry. The article cited a US diplomatic cable recently published by whistleblower, listing a number of activists and nongovernmental organisation workers who have been in touch with American diplomats. Editor of the online portal Adel Sabry has since admitted in a televised interview the inaccuracy of the claims.
Those featured on the list were outraged. Activist Gamila Ismail who was recently excluded from the parliamentary elections filed a complaint against Al-Wafd’s print editor-in-chief Soliman Gouda and party leader El-Badawi for publishing false information about her. Gamila questioned the reasons behind publishing inaccurate information. She also wonders “why hasn’t the website published information on its leaders who recently held several meetings with the American ambassador.”
Last week, several NGO offices were targeted in a raid in which laptops and documents were confiscated – the justification for the raid was the receipt of illegal foreign funding. According to CNN, head of ruling military council Field Marshal Tantawi promised during a phone call with US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta that the raid attacks will not occur again, and that measures will be taken to make it easier for NGOs to operate in Egypt.
There are also reports that the activists and civil society workers named in the article will take legal action against Al-Wafd.