The Egyptian Centre for Public Policy Studies (ECPPS) held a press conference on Wednesday to review the situation of press and media freedoms and legislations in Egypt.
A report covering the political, legal, and economic situation of the media during the month of January 2017 was presented at the conference.
It pointed out to legislations restricting the freedom of the media and press, especially the recently passed law on press and media institutions, arguing that new bodies under formation such as the Media Syndicate remain under state control.
Moreover, ECPPS criticised media gags which hinder the right to information access for journalists. It further rejected journalists’ imprisonment in publishing crimes.
The report shed light on difficult conditions facing journalists such as those detained while on assignments, despite providing proof of their work activity.
Journalist Gamal Fahmy is one of the members expected to be on the board of the National Supreme Media Council that is currently under formation.
“Despite the fact that the law was passed, the council has not been established yet,” he said during the conference. Fahmy said that freedom of the press was unstable in Egypt and that it is a reflection of the general status of freedoms in the society.
“Freedom of the media is not a right for journalists only, but for people to see all points of view on a certain issue,” he stated.
Among the speakers also was Nagwa Ibrahim, lawyer at the “Network of Egyptian Lawyers to Defend Journalists and Bloggers.” Ibrahim highlighted the increasing number of journalists facing charges of defamation, saying she was working on solving legal issues for registered and unregistered journalists at the Press Syndicate.
Meanwhile, Marianne Sedhom, researcher in ECPPS’ legal unit, spoke to Daily News Egypt on the sidelines of the conference.
“Media workers should have a syndicate that is not under state control to be able to protect their rights,” explaining that state supervision has resulted in syndicates’ inability to accept more members due to the lack of services provided.
ECPPS has been focusing on reviewing the freedom of press conditions in Egypt for months. The conference came as a part of a series addressing media issues, especially considering that new legislation is being prepared.