Egypt's state prosecutor is set to press criminal charges against The New York Times, after it reported that the Egyptian intelligence service had attempted to influence television coverage of America's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In an article published on 7th January, headlined "Tapes Reveal Tacit Acceptance By Arabs of Jerusalem Decision", David D. Kirkpatrick wrote that an intelligence officer, Ashraf al-Kholi, had telephoned four TV presenters asking them to play down any negative reaction to the US policy. (The article also appeared in the international edition, on 8th January.)
The article quoted one of the TV hosts, Azmi Megahed, who confirmed that the recordings were genuine. Kirkpatrick also explained the significance of the calls: "Television talk shows play a formative role in shaping public debate in Egypt, and Egyptian intelligence services often brief the presenters of the programs about messages to convey to the public. The hosts typically prefer to characterize the conversations as journalists talking to sources."