Fake news watch: Suez sale speculation sunk

A helicopter flies overhead as tractors and dredgers work on Egypt’s New Suez Canal. (Reuters)
Updated 07 May 2019

Fake news watch: Suez sale speculation sunk

  • The Egyptian government has denied the existence of any plan to privatize the Suez Canal, stressing the importance of the waterway, which is considered a source of national income
  • The Egyptian Attorney General’s Office denied reports of the existence of secret prisons in the country, stressing that legal guarantees exist to ensure the conduct of investigations and fair trials

A weekly round-up of bogus reports and phony facts in the mainstream and social media.

1. Privatization of the Suez Canal rumors dismissed by Egyptian government
The Egyptian government has denied the existence of any plan to privatize the Suez Canal, stressing the importance of the waterway, which is considered a source of national income, Al Rai newspaper reported.
The media center of the Egyptian cabinet confirmed in a statement the unreliability of such “rumors” aimed at provoking the anger of the Egyptian people, adding there are no plans to privatize the channel to finance the “new administrative capital” being built in the country.
The Suez Canal plays an important role in global trade movement and there has been an increase in the number and load of ships passing through the channel, which “reflected positively on the increase of revenues,” the center added.
The center called on the media and social media users to be “accurate before publishing such rumors, which may lead to confusion of public opinion and anger citizens.”

2. Egyptian Attorney General said secret prisons do not exist
The Egyptian Attorney General’s Office denied reports of the existence of secret prisons in the country, stressing that legal guarantees exist to ensure the conduct of investigations and fair trials of the accused.
This came during the meetings of the 64th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, held in the resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt Today reported.
Councilor Hany George, head of the General Directorate of Human Rights in the Attorney General’s Office, said that the general prosecution is fully ready to check any allegations of enforced disappearance.


Arab films set for Red Sea Film Festival screening

Updated 24 February 2020

Arab films set for Red Sea Film Festival screening

  • MBC Group to support young film makers with training from industry professionals

LONDON: Young Arab film makers will have the opportunity to have their work showcased at next month’s Red Sea International Film Festival as investment in Saudi cinema gathers pace.

The Red Sea International Film Festival has announced a partnership with MBC Group, which will also broadcast the event’s opening ceremony on March 12.

As part of the deal, MBC Al Amal, MBC’s corporate social responsibility arm, will hold a Shorts pitch competition.

Ten short film projects will be selected from Saudi Arabia and the MENA region, with filmmakers being given a one-day workshop to prepare for a pitching session. 

Italian director and producer Stefano Tealdi will train the candidates to strengthen their skills and give them tips for better pitches, MBC said.

“We strongly believe that this new generation of talent is key in influencing change and creating the difference to the region’s media and entertainment content landscape, which of course includes independent film and mainstream cinema,” said Peter Smith, managing director of MBC Studios.

The region’s biggest broadcaster will also host talent days on March 17 and 18 to support Saudi scriptwriters, directors and producers.

The inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival takes place March 12-21 in Jeddah Old Town, under the theme “Changing the Script.” It aims to support and help grow Saudi Arabia’s emerging film industry which is attracting a slew of investment from homegrown dramas shot in the Kingdom to the construction of cinemas countrywide.

Real estate broker CBRE estimates that 45 new cinemas are expected to open this year.

The boom in cinema construction coincides with a push to develop the domestic Saudi film industry.

That is being driven by both the big and small screen as video-on-demand players that include MBC, Netflix and Amazon compete to deliver content that speaks to a young Arab audience.