Some Press Union board members released a statement on Monday, rejecting a new draft law for the body.
Board members said they had not been consulted in creating the draft, reported state-owned Al-Ahram.
The draft laws were written by a committee of lawyers and judges, which was created following last years’ board elections.
“This law is not recognised by any journalist,” union vice-chairperson, Abeer Sa’ady, said, “it’s not just that we reject the laws, but we reject the way they came through.”
Sa’ady stated the laws were drafted by a group of judges and lawyers, led by Hatem Zakareya, the union’s rapporteur on legislation.
“We have been repeatedly asking to see the nine articles drafted by Zakareya, only to be told the legislation committee hasn’t convened yet,” Sa’ady said, “then during the Eid vacation, almost two weeks ago, all journalists were surprised by this draft law.”
Sa’ady believes this law, which she describes as the union’s constitution, cannot be written without the input of practicing journalists.
The board members also said in their statement that they do not approve of some articles within the draft. The draft law stipulates that anybody applying for the union’s membership must be Egyptian, with good qualifications and reputation. They must never have been sentenced for a crime involving moral misconduct, except in the case of opinion crimes. They must be skilled at IT and foreign languages, and be no less than 21 years-old and no more than 30 years-old.
“This article is both unconstitutional and against human rights,” Al-Sa’ady said.
Alongside Sa’ady, the statement was also signed by Gamal Fahmy, Karem Mahmoud, Alaa Al-Attar, Hisham Younes and Gamal Abdel Rahim, according to Al-Ahram.
The draft law also includes articles which prohibit arresting or holding any journalist in provisional custody, limiting the journalists’ punishment to a monetary one ranging from an EGP 5,000 to an EGP 10,000 fine. The new draft also gives only the union the right to discipline journalists, prohibiting the practice of forcing journalists to reveal their sources and the expulsion of journalists, without first notifying the union of the reason for expulsion.