A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, October 17, 2014

Al-Ahram Apologizes to NYT in English, Attacks it in Arabic

I recently noted The New York Times' critique of al-Ahram's misrepresentation of its coverage of President Sisi's new York visit.

As MadaMasr points out in this piece, the English language Ahram Online apologized profusely:
Al-Ahram daily, Egypt’s oldest and biggest newspaper, has issued an apology and an explanation for having earlier misquoted, quoted out of context and selectively quoted a New York Times story on Egypt by its correspondent, David Kirkpatrick.
In its statement Al-Ahram regretted that such a grave error would occur at a time when the current editorial management of the newspaper and the organisation as a whole is bent on restoring its credibility and asserting the traditions of proper and ethical journalism based on the highest standards of the profession.
It also noted that these efforts are being made at a time when bad practice and low ethical and professional standards are rampant in Egyptian journalism as a whole, which makes reform an uphill battle.
In explanation, Al-Ahram pointed out that the published review of Mr. Kirkpatrick’s story was taken from Egypt’s foremost news agency, MENA. Other Egyptian dailies published the same review, distortions included.
This is no excuse, Al-Ahram said in the apology, adding that it should have checked MENA’s review against the original text of the NYT story. Whereupon, an editorial decision has been issued banning the use of any MENA story without rigorous fact-checking.
Sadly, apologies for mistakes have been lacking in Egyptian journalism for a great many years. In issuing this apology Al-Ahram not only corrects a mistake, but also hopes to set an example in restoring the traditions of editorial responsibility to Egyptian journalism in general. 
How refreshing. But, as MadaMasr noted, while the English website apologizes without qualification, the "explanation" offered at the Arabic site, while acknowledging mistakes and blaming it on MENA, also takes aim at the NYT's and David Lirkpatrick's coverage of Egypt, claiming they "reject Sisi's course after June 30" and continue to support the "terrorist organization," the Muslim Brotherhood.

Maybe things haven't changed all that much.

1 comment:

Carl Roav said...

You are either with us or against us.

To quote a noted Western politician.