Back to the complete issue
Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Media Act with the House of Representatives

An Information Ministry by any other name? The divisive draft Media Act is reportedly now with the House of Representatives in its new and updated form, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The government appears to have divided the proposed law into bills: one regulating the profession and the other for media institutions. Together, they would protect journalists from arrest or state interference, guarantee freedom from censorship, and extend some measure of protection to sources. On the other hand, they establish a Supreme Media Council with widespread oversight power over the industry. The Council has the authority to ban the dissemination of foreign news for national security reasons (opening the prospect of direct censorship of newspapers and the internet) and can ban the publication of inflammatory news or news that might be detrimental to the “peace and stability” of the country.

The bill mandates that editors-in-chief must be card carrying members of the Press Syndicate and sets minimum capital requirements of EGP 3 mn for a daily newspaper and EGP 500k for news websites. Ownership of Egyptian media would be restricted to Egyptian nationals and citizens.

The law’s introduction comes at a contentious time in relation between the press and the state. Beyond the two-year sentences of senior leaders of the Press Syndicate, state-owned Al Ahram raised the price for all newspapers which use its printing presses 80% on Monday, Al Mal reports. The decision has caused an outcry among the heads of publishing houses including Al Shorouk. Meanwhile, Legal Affairs Minister Magdy Al Agaty came out against state-owned media bodies such as the State Information Service, saying that it along with the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (Maspero) will be reorganized and restructured under the new act, AMAY reports.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.