Egypt tells WaPo: TV channels suspended for inciting hatred

In reply to an editorial published earlier this week in the Washington Post about the Egyptian government's crackdown on independent media, the Egyptian embassy in Washington DC sent the paper a letter–printed in its Wednesday edition–explaining that 17 television channels had been suspended, rather than shut down, for allegedly inciting sectarian hatred.

The letter also noted that the government "had nothing to do" with the dismissal of Al-Dostour chief editor Ibrahim Eissa in August, asserting that this had been a personal decision taken by the newspaper’s chairman.

The letter went on to describe the Egyptian media as "the most independent in the Arab world."

The embassy also noted that parliamentary elections slated for 28 November would be monitored by Egypt's High Elections Commission, which is comprised of independent judges that were not appointed by President Hosni Mubarak. Egyptian civil society organizations, along with the media, would also monitor the polls, the embassy said.

In its 29 October edition, the Washington Post reported that US President Barack Obama had stressed to Mubarak the need for an active civil society in Egypt that enjoys credible and transparent elections. Mubarak, however, had done "the exact opposite," according to the paper.

Meanwhile, at a press conference on Thursday, US embassy in Cairo Cultural Attache Andrew Mitchell said the US administration–and its embassies worldwide–had altered their policies since Obama assumed the presidency early last year.

He said the new policy involved helping countries resolve their problems from within as opposed to imposing solutions upon them.

“You can't impose solutions on a country that has an enormous cultural heritage like Egypt,” he said, noting that the US had sent a delegation of "volunteer tourism" experts to help the Egyptian government promote the country's vital tourism industry.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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