CAIRO: No sovereign or presidential entities have objected to the doctored photo of the president published last week ahead of the second round of the Middle East peace talks held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Al-Ahram foundation secretary general Abdel-Moneim Saeid said Thursday evening.
“As far as I know, the trend adopted by Al-Ahram has [always] been welcomed. And I’m quite keen to act independently [so as not] to be pushed to [follow] a specific path,” Saeid told independent Mehwar satellite TV channel’s live “48 Hours” talk show.
On Sept. 14, ahead of the second round the peace talks in Sharm El-Sheikh, state-run daily Al-Ahram newspaper altered a photo from the Washington talks held earlier in September, showing President Hosni Mubarak in the front leading the other leaders.
The original photo was published following the first round of talks in the White House showed US President Barack Obama flanked two steps behind by the head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who were, in turn followed by President Mubarak on the left and King Abdullah on the right.
Saeid justified his stance saying that publishing the photo aimed at stressing Egypt’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, while accusing some parties of attempting to undermine the country’s endeavors.
“I believe such an act is quite legitimate. There are [certain] people who wouldn’t like that we mention Egypt’s [key] role in the region,” Saeid said.
According to Saeid, the photo was published with a special reported he co-wrote with analyst Mohamed Abdel-Salam about Egypt’s role in the negotiations.
Blogger and activist Wael Khalil was the first to write about the doctored image, which later made headlines in local and international media, including the Guardian, the New York Times and the BBC.
The altered photo further stirred the sarcasm and wide criticism of bloggers and online users active on social networking website facebook, Twitter and more.