Morsi becomes butt of jokes after launch of Twitter Q&A session
CAIRO - Egypt's beleaguered President Mohamed Morsi has begun a Twitter question and answer session in a bid to reach out to youths, some of whom have used the website to organise protests against him.
Morsi said late Wednesday he would be answering questions posted by "youths" on the microblogging site between 1700 and 1730 GMT.
Morsi's Twitter account – which now has 1.3 million followers – drew 70,000 new followers in the few hours after announcing plans to hold the daily sessions on the social-networking platform.
The tweet prompted a wave of sarcastic comments, which Morsi ignored when he began responding to some questions late Wednesday night and on Thursday morning.
Asked why he dropped lawsuits against some journalists accused of "falsifying news," Morsi responded: "I leave it to public opinion to judge the violators. I sent a message and I hope it reached the right address."
The presidency had announced Wednesday it would withdraw complaints filed on its behalf against journalists.
But most complaints have been filed by private lawyers, including against popular satirist Bassem Youssef.
One of the tweets asked: "Why are you insistent to appoint the Brotherhood and their sympathisers to top state positions while this is not the case in democratic states?" The Islamist President replied "if you know particularly an incident of somebody appointed unjustly, contact me personally and I promise I will investigate and improve."
Among comments that flew on the president's reply, was one suggesting 'his son', another suggesting 'the public prosecutor', and another sarcastically saying "some person working in the Ittihadiyya (presidential) palace, named Morsi."
In response to a tweet asking the president to pay greater attention to slums, he said "people who live in slums are my family," asserting that the government has developed 68 slums this year "and more to come."
Asked about recurrent power cuts across the country, President Morsi said that there is "a ministerial group working day and night to avert recurring power cuts in summer."
On inflation and the continuing devaluation of the Egyptian pound against the dollar, Morsi said there is an economic plan to stabilise the value of the dollar, yet asserted "the matter needs some patience and much work."
Elected in June last year, Morsi has faced regular, and sometimes violent, protests since he adopted wide ranging powers in November, which he has since rescinded.
His government has sought to use social networking websites to reach out to Egyptians and journalists, but the approach has not been immune to the occasional glitch.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Hisham Qandil prompted jokes when he tweeted: "Doctor Smurf prescribes cakes, pies and smurfberries as part of a healthy diet".
The comment appeared to have been automatically generated after he or an assistant signed onto the online game Smurfs' Village using an iPad.