Egyptian information minister faces sexual harassment accusations

Ahram Online , Wednesday 17 Apr 2013

Information Minister Salah Abdel-Maksoud is accused of 'verbal harassment' after making comments to female reporter laden with sexual overtones

Salah Abdel Maksoud, Egyptian Minister of Information (Photo: Reuters).

Egyptian Information Minister Salah Abdel-Maksoud was accused of harassment following a comment he made to a female journalist at a conference held earlier this week.

A complaint was lodged against Abdel-Maksoud on Wednesday for alleged "verbal harassment, undermining public morals and making sexual insinuations." 

Abdel-Maksoud, who is also a member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood group, was speaking at a conference at Al-Azhar University's mass communications department when he was asked by a journalist from the Hoqouq news website about media freedoms in Egypt.

Abdel-Maksoud responded by using an expression in colloquial Egyptian Arabic that bore sexual connotations – literally translated, "Come here and I'll tell you where to find your media freedoms."

The comment prompted a storm of criticism against the minister.

The complaint against Abdel-Maksoud also makes reference to another of the minister's recent comments, in which he allegedly told a Dubai television talk show host that he hoped her questions weren't as "hot" as she was.

In a Wednesday statement, Egypt's Socialist Popular Alliance Party said it also planned to file a complaint against Abdel-Maksoud at the prosecutor general's office for "verbal harassment."

Reporters from the Hoqouq website on Tuesday staged a protest outside the Egyptian Press Syndicate in downtown Cairo to demand the minister's dismissal, Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website reported.

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