Tempest in a teapot: The New York Times’ exposé of what it claims is an intelligence officer pushing talk show hosts to convince viewers to accept the Jerusalem declaration reigned supreme on the airwaves last night. (We have the full story in Egypt in the News, below.)
Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry phoned in to Kol Youm’s Amr Adib to confirm that Egypt’s position on the Palestinian issue “has always been consistent” and is not up for negotiation. Shoukry also told Adib that Egypt continues to prioritize its ties with Sudan, despite Khartoum’s decision to recall its ambassador to Cairo. The minister said that he maintained a steady line of communication with his Sudanese counterpart over developments in Egypt and Ethiopia’s talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and that Cairo has made clear its position on the dam (watch, runtime: 8:42).
State Information Service head Diaa Rashwan phoned in to Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi to attack the authenticity of the leaks on which the NYT’s report is based. There are no records of any intelligence officer named Ashraf El Kholy, the name cited in the article, Rashwan said. He also claims that the quality of the recordings also indicate that they were recorded by El Kholy, since his voice is clearer than the media personalities on the other end. These red flags show that the NYT’s reporters “were deceived” and did not verify the facts, Rashwan concludes. He also denounced the article as an attempt to take away from Egypt’s efforts to resolve the Palestinian crisis (watch, runtime: 5:49).
Tarek El Kholy, the number two at the House Foreign Relations Committee, took to Mehwar TV’s 90 Minutes to attack the story (watch, runtime: 5:30).
Back on Hona Al Asema, Lamees spoke to National Council for Human rights member Hafez Abu Seda about the death of a detainee in police custody (we have more in National Security, below). Abu Seda said that the investigation must be transparent and hold accountable those responsible for the detainee’s death, but also said that the details of the prosecution’s investigation should remain a secret until complete. He said that photographs showing the detainee’s body should not have been leaked and will affect that path of justice (watch, runtime: 5:32).
Meanwhile on Al Hayah Al Youm, Tourism Promotion Authority Hisham El Demery told host Tamer Amin that the authority had planned to organize a large concert at the Giza Pyramids on New Year’s Eve, but canceled the event following terror attacks in Helwan (watch, runtime: 7:54).
This stuff — again? A number of NGOs and other organizations deemed “suspicious” will be barred from monitoring this year’s presidential elections if MPs get their way, House Human Rights Committee head Alaa Abed told Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary. Abed accused a number of human rights NGOs operating in Egypt, including Human Rights Watch, of receiving foreign funding to work against Egypt’s interests. There are also seven organizations currently under investigation for allegedly campaigning against Moushira Khattab’s UNESCO bid. MPs are lobbying to ensure these organizations are denied permits to monitor the elections, Abed said (watch, runtime: 8:38).