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Press Releases 2013

Ambassador Patterson's August 28 letter to Al Ahram newspaper

Cairo, August 28, 2013

Mr. Abdel Nasser Salama
Editor in Chief
Al Ahram Newspaper
El Galaa St.

Dear Mr. Salama:

I am writing to adamantly deny the outrageous, fictitious, and thoroughly unprofessional headline article that appeared in your paper on August 27. Your article’s claim that I personally am involved in a conspiracy to divide and destabilize Egypt is absolutely absurd and dangerous.

The irresponsibility of this article only serves to further misinform and misguide your readership, and to further raise tensions in an already perilously tense environment. Make no mistake – false articles such as this one are a real threat to Egypt and to prospects for Egypt’s democratic transition. I call on you to use your position of leadership and responsibility to stop this spread of inciting misinformation, and to instead work to inform and educate your readership on real, not make-believe, events. I am also surprised that you would have violated a fundamental principle of journalistic ethics by failing to contact the U.S. Embassy to check the veracity of the (invented) information you received from your sources. In this regard, I reiterate that the staff of my press section is always at your disposal for fact-checking.

I am particularly disturbed to think that Al Ahram, as the flagship state-run paper in Egypt, is regarded as a representative of the government’s viewpoint. We will, therefore, raise this article at the highest levels of the government to protest its publication and the irresponsible behavior that led to it.

Good journalism checks facts, scrutinizes sources, and offers viewpoints. This article isn’t bad journalism; it isn’t journalism at all. It is fiction, serving only to deliberately misinform the Egyptian public. Such articles make a successful future for Egypt all the harder to achieve through the propagation of lies and fear.

I call on you to act responsibly and to work to make your country a stronger one, not a more fearful and misinformed one.



Anne W. Patterson