Four members of the Press Syndicate’s board expressed in a letter submitted to members of the syndicate’s general assembly, their rejection of the new laws regulating the operations of media and press institutions.
On Sunday, the Egyptian Parliament approved three draft laws aimed at regulating the performance of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, the National Press Authority, and the National Media Authority.
Press Syndicate members Gamal Abdel Rahim, Amr Badr, Saeed Abdel Hafez, and Mahmoud Kamal denounced the new laws, saying that they were all surprised by the bill that parliament has discussed over the past several days to regulate the work of the press and the media. Around 200 journalists signed the statement expressing their rejection.
“The new law is shocking, suspicious, and does not represent journalists in any way, but represents specific bodies only. It aims at controlling the press, both national and private, and silencing it forever, and is intent on a chance to harm national institutions and their workers,” the statement read.
In their letter, the members referred to some of the disagreed upon articles, stating that articles 35 and 37 of the National Press Authority proposed law will reduce the presence of journalists in any publications’ boards they work for and the general assembly of press institutions to only two journalists in each, which will be a first in history.
Also, the new law reduced the number of members of the general assembly of any publication to 17, including only two journalists. The statement commented on that, saying that currently, there are 35 members in the general assembly of state-run Al-Ahram, including 20 journalists.
The members said the draft laws will “kill” press institutions and will make their management a “big, real crisis,” adding that the aforementioned articles will make the institutions manged by outsiders.
The syndicate’s board called on the members of the general assembly to “sign the statement with the registration number to reject the draft law, which aims to restrict the work of journalists and to block any dissenting voices, destroy national institutions, and marginalise its workers.”
They also called on the journalists in parliament to stand in solidarity with the general assembly and to announce their position on the draft law. The board also decided an emergency meeting to discuss the syndicate’s escalatory steps towards the law.
Following parliamentary approval, the law has been referred to state council for legal review and is expected to be later sent to the president for ratification. The laws were drafted three years ago by the government and some media experts. The three laws will replace the Law of Institutional Organisation 92 of 2016 that is currently regulating the operations of the bodies.