Journalism Syndicate will form committee to write media laws
Journalist Syndicate Head Diaa Rashwan - YOUM7/Ahmed Ismail

CAIRO: The Journalist Syndicate’s bar council discussed journalism’s current situation and formed a committee after a Tuesday urgent meeting to prepare the laws that organize the mechanism and nature of Egyptian media, Al-Tahrir reported Wednesday.

The bar council decided to form a committee that will specialize in preparing and writing the constitution’s complementary laws concerned with organizing conditions of journalism and media, according to Al-Tahrir.

The committee will include Journalist Syndicate members Diaa Rashwan, Gamal Abdel Rehem, Gamal Fahmy, other high Syndicate members, representatives on the behalf of all journalists, Egyptian Radio and Television Union, private media sectors, and law specialists.

The committee will work in the absences of the Ministry of Media, which was removed from Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab’s cabinet. Media figures had called for the cancellation of the Ministry of Media, to be replaced with a national council of media that was supposed to be established soon after choosing the cabinet.

Present Abdel Fatah al-Sisi questioned newspaper editors-in-chief and media figures about when the national council would be established during his last meeting with them, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Sunday.

“Are you going to wait six more months after the parliamentary elections to reconsider forming the council?” Sisi asked them.

During the meeting, Sisi aaaured the editors that he would not interfere with choosing any of the members to keep the council independent, without governmental authority. He called on media figures to work harder on the necessary laws to allow its establishment.

Agent of the Supreme Council for Press Salah Essa told Al-Masry Al-Youm Sunday that this council will supervise all Egyptian media and will not be delayed any further since they already researched several suggestions considering the formation of the council.

The demand to establish an independent council to supervise the Egyptian media began soon after the January 25 Revolution in 2011 when political powers called for free media away from interference by  authorities.

Cairo University media professor Adly Reda told Al-Shorouk in June the decision to cancel the Ministry of Media assured the freedom of media. It would remove all obstacles that usually prevent coverage of important events in the Egyptian streets, he said.

Reda said this council should put firm rules to discipline those who might deviate from professionalism or the required criteria according to the current media charters.

With this change to meet the revolutionary demands for free media, there is a hope that this national council will play a more effective role in protecting journalists and bringing back their rights, he added.

Head of the Arabic Center for integrity and transparency  Shehata Mohamed told The Cairo Post that this council might not represent a huge change in favor of journalists, especially if its line of work is not going to be related to them in the first place.

“The council’s work is going to be more regulatory than anything. Journalist’s rights are related to the law itself, not to the national council or the ministry,” he said.

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