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Al-Araby al-Jadeed

Egypt: Satirical report on Mexican president reported as news

The Mexican president did not say Egypt's killing of eight Mexican tourists was "understandable" [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 September, 2015

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Blog: Egypt's Mehwar channel was forced to issue an apology after failing to fact check a report saying the Mexican president "understood" Egypt's killing of eight Mexican tourists.
In an embarrassing about-face, an Egyptian news presenter was forced to apologise on air for taking a satirical news story at face value.

Mehwar's Eman al-Hossary reported the Mexican president said the attack last week in which eight Mexican tourists were killed in an "anti-terror operation" in Egypt's Western desert was "understandable".

"I must apologise... yesterday we made a big professional mistake," said Hossary at the start of her 90 Minutes show. "We reported news from a site called The Mexican al-Ahram, a satirical site, without fact-checking it."

The website also reported the Mexican president "Enrique Akhlasio" in the Mexican capital "Rio De Janeiro" said Egypt had the right to defend its territory from any possible act of terrorism or any tourist without warning.

The site claimed the Mexican "president" also cast doubt on the tourists' motives, asking why they would go to the Egyptian desert in the first place - as they had deserts in Mexico.

The Mexican President is Enrique Pena Nieto, and the capital of Mexico is Mexico City. Rio De Janeiro is in Brazil.

The satirical site's name is a clear reference to the Egyptian government-owned newspaper, al-Ahram ("The Pyramids").

In reality, the Mexican government has called for a full and transparent investigation into the killing of the tourists.

Eman al-Hossary is hardly the first to report satire as real news. In 2012, China's People's Daily Online ran a report from The Onion, a US-based satirical website, that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had been voted the "sexiest man alive in 2012" as real news.

The People's Daily Online's mistake was widely reported by the international news media.

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