The Egypt’s National Press Authority for Press, headed by Karam Gabr, said in a statement on Tuesday that the new press law is constitutional and does not include any contradicting articles.
The statement said that the claims that there are articles that could bring journalist to jail, explaining that in Article 29 of the law, journalists can be jailed if they incite violence or promote discrimination between citizens, or impugn the honour of individuals, as specified by law and stipulated in Article 71 of the constitution.
However, the authority clarified the claims, but also demanded the amendment of the article.
The authority reaffirmed its commitment to the freedom of the press and journalists, within the framework of the constitution and the law.
Moreover, the statement added that the law did not include any additions to the article related to an extension of terms for press employees past retirement age, leaving the door open for press institutions to select employees according to their needs and demands.
“The law has taken its right of discussions, debate, and views over three years, and it is not true that it was not presented to the concerned bodies, all discussed it and expressed their opinion,” Gabr said.
Following the 55-article laws’ approval last month, the law was referred to the State Council for a legal review and are expected to be later sent to President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi for ratification. The laws were drafted three years ago by the government and several media experts.
Two weeks ago, 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 the 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 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.”