by Björn Schöpe
January 16, 2014 – National Geographic has published widely on Egyptian antiquities as browsing through the cover pages of the last years shows. They had many exclusive stories and interviews which now, however, are taking on a certain uncomfortable aftertaste. The news website Vocativ has revealed that the US non-profit organisation, an icon of cultural journalism which is today much more than only a magazine owning among others a cable TV channel, may have used bribing as a mean of getting these top stories. Bribing, of course, not just any one but the man who is always named together with fictive archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones: Zahi Hawass.
Dr Hawass was Egypt’s chief archaeologist for more than a decade and, as he himself humble states ‘the most famous Egyptologist.’ In his position he was the man to open gates and to grant access to otherwise closed antiquities and sites. For such services allegedly he took fees ranging from $80,000 to $200,000 a year starting from 2001 until his deposition during the Egyptian revolution against Hosni Mubarak. Now the US Justice Department reportedly is investigating over this matter determining whether National Geographic’s payments could be understood as illegal bribes. According to Dr Hawass these fees were paid as part of contracts by which he would write books and give lectures and officially approved by the Egyptian government as required by his official position. National Geographic has declared that it is intent to fully co-operate if the authorities will make any request.
You can find the original article on the Vocativ website.