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Egyptian TV host scolds Ethiopian envoy on air

Published: Updated:

Egyptian TV host Rania Badawy, has been suspended on the privately-owned Tahrir satellite channel for arguing with Ethiopia's ambassador to Cairo during a live TV-phone in regarding Addis Ababa's continuous Nile dam project.


On Wednesday, Badawy got into an intense argument with Ethiopian envoy Mahmoud Dardir over the Grand Renaissance Dam, a multi-billion hydroelectric dam that has been a source of contention between Egypt and Ethiopia for over a year.


During the six-minute-call, Badawy reached the question about if Addis Ababa insisted on pressing forward with the dam's construction in its current form and capacity, which may harm Egypt's share of the Nile's water.


To which the ambassador replied "You do not understand about dams and are talking in a bumptious tone."


Badawy, in a frustrated tone, told the ambassador that he had "crossed his limits" and that he should not "characterize [her] talk or speak to [her] about arrogance." She then thanked Dardir and rudely ended the call, as he was about to give a reply.


The head of the TV station, Mohamed Khedr, told Al-Ahram's Arabic news website on Sunday that it was his channel's "sense of responsibility" to suspend Badawy, as well as adding that the management was refurbishing the programme map ahead of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan on June 29.


State news agency MENA carried comments earlier in June, which consisted of Ethiopia's Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom criticizing the local media for sending "very negative messages, sometimes systematically, that create a feeling of rejection" between both nations.


However, the senior diplomat confirmed that Addis Ababa and Cairo were looking forward to a "new era" of mutual ties.


The same station suspended another female broadcaster who made light of mob sexual assaults against women in Cairo's Tahrir Square, almost ten days ago, during the celebrations of President Sisi's inauguration this month.


On Sunday, Khedr said that the suspended anchorwoman, Maha Bahnasy, would return to the airwaves after Ramadan.