Parliament Proposes Three Bills to Protect Journalism and Media in Egypt
If these three draft laws pass, Egypt’s journalism and media sectors will be that much safer.
Egypt’s parliament is opening new windows to protect members of the media and journalists by proposing three new draft laws. Osama Heikal, Head of Parliament’s Media Committee, regulated the meeting and claimed that the laws would provide members of the press with the decorum and safety that they deserve.
Heikal stated that the laws would “ensure the independence of journalism and media in Egypt.” The three bills that were drafted cover the following:
- The work of the National Press Council and state-owned newspapers will be regulated.
- The National Media Authority and state-owned audio-visual media outlets will be regulated.
- All things related to privately-owned media will be governed.
The draft laws will also be prohibiting authorities from entering and searching journalists’ homes, unless a member of the state prosecution service is accompanying the authorities. Consequently, newspapers and TV channels (both public and private) will be required to establish editorial guidelines that all their members must conform to, as well as establish a minimum wage for all editorial employees. Heikal also reiterates that these laws are unprecedented; for the first time in Egypt, if the draft laws pass, the government will fine whoever harasses reporters with EGP 10,000 to EGP 20,000.
With these laws in place, media-related arrests should decrease in due time. However, the voting outcome of these bills is still in the dark, hopefully to see light by the end of the meeting held on June 10. Heikal tells Al-Ahram that the verdict of the draft laws will be decided after 39 meetings held between the committee, media stakeholders, Media Committee and other parties.
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