By Shahira Amin* in Cairo
In recent days a series of controversial public service announcements aired on state-owned TV channels in Egypt, angering Egyptians and foreigners alike. The advertisements, which warn Egyptians against talking to foreigners “because they might be spies”, have been slammed for being “shallow” and inflammatory.
In one of the advertisements, a foreign man walks into a cafe and inconspicuously joins a group of young Egyptians at their table.
They go on to discuss Egypt’s current situation in front of the stranger — complaining about high prices, the gas shortage, and other social and economic problems plaguing the country.
They also tell the English-speaking stranger about a reported conspiracy against the army, which he immediately tweets to an unknown third party.
Sinister background music alerts viewers of an ominous threat, as the voiceover warns that “every word has a price” and that one word could “endanger a nation”.
In another advertisement, Egyptian job seekers are advised not to apply for jobs posted on job vacancy sites online.
“You never know who may use the information you post online and for what purpose”, cautions the advert.