CAIRO: Tahrir TV channel expelled anchor Rania Badawy days after she hung up on Ethiopia’s ambassador to Cairo Mahmoud Dardir, sources at Tahrir TV told Al-Masry Al-Youm Saturday.
“You crossed the limits, thank you,” Badawy said before she hung up on Dardir while he was still talking in a phone interview Wednesday on the controversial Renaissance Dam.
Badawy snapped after Dardir answered “you do not understand [anything] about dams and speak in a disrespectful tone.”
They talked over each other, and then Badawy said “I ask, you have to answer or refuse to comment and that is your right.”
Media professionals and professors criticized Badawy’s attitude in the interview, especially that her action coincided with sensitive talks between the two states on the Renaissance Dam.
Mass communications professors at Cairo University Safwat al-Alem told Sada el-Balad news website that Badawy’s performance was not “professional,” especially that she was interviewing a diplomatic personality.
“A media professional should be a model in his interviews and should not try to influence public opinion by acting heroic,” Alem said.
Egyptian-Ethiopian relations deteriorated during the reign of former President Mohamed Morsi when Ethiopia began constructing the Renaissance Dam.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said during his inauguration that he would not let the dam harm relations between the two countries and promised meetings with Ethiopian officials.
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency on June 19 that Sisi will visit Ethiopia in two weeks according to Anadolu news agency.
On June 11, Tahrir TV also suspended anchor Maha Bahnassy following comments many regarded as offensive.
While the channel’s correspondent in Tahrir Square was reporting incidents of sexual harassment during popular celebrations of Sisi’sSunday inauguration June 3, Bahnassy said laughing “[they] are happy, the people are joking.”
Bahnassy later claimed on her Facebook page that her comment was not directed at the correspondent or about the incident, but rather a comment to her guests about the “people’s happiness.”
“Is it possible that a woman would feel happy that another woman like her was harassed?” Bahnassy wrote.
Bahnassy’s reaction, however, stirred massive outrage and comments on social networking websites accused her of “justifying rape” and said reactions like hers blame victims.