Egypt’s Parliament, headed by Speaker Ali Abdul Aal, will discuss on Sunday amendments for the new press and media law that were demanded by several entities.
The three-in-one law provides for regulating the work of the National Press Authority, National Media Authority, and Supreme Media Council, the three bodies that supervise the work of press and media in Egypt.
The law was preliminarily approved in June and was sent to Egypt’s highest judicial apparatus, the State Council, for legal review, which made remarks regarding some articles. A number of the articles of the law were criticised for placing some restrictions that would hinder the work of the profession.
The head of the parliament’s committee of media and culture, Osama Heikal, said that he has requested Abdul Aal to look into the remarks made by the State Council and the Press Syndicate.
On Thursday, two deputies of the Press Syndicate, Ibrahim Abu Kela and Khaled El-Meery, met with Heikal to discuss the remarks of the syndicate over the law and how it could be amended.
Heikal said in press statements that there was a complete consensus between the parliament and the syndicate over most of the comments.
Abdul Aal was not present during the meeting that aimed at hearing the views of the members of the syndicate.
The meeting came in response to the demand of the syndicate’s council to meet with Abdul Aal and Heikal to voice their comments over the law. This demand was made during the meeting of the syndicate’s council that took place on Tuesday.
During the meeting, Heikal said there are no significant differences, as the comments are mainly about the formulation of the articles, and therefore the committee called the legal advisor of the parliament to attend the meetings to hear his legal views.
Regarding the debates stating that the law will restrict the work of journalists, Heikal said that “no one can think of restricting the freedom of opinion and expression, and we understand the views of the Press Syndicate,” adding that there are some points of disagreement approved by the committee even without the need for discussion, but it will still discuss them with the legal advisor.
Regarding Article 29, which is believed to return per-trial sanctions against journalists, Heikal said that they are committed to the constitutional article that does not allow imprisonment of journalists for what they publish, adding that if there is something the committee does to the article, it will do it without committing constitutional violations.
Previously, the Press Syndicate was the first to announce its remarks against the law, pointing out several articles that they believe they do not align with the Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of expression, and that they were invited to attend the discussion of the law. Later, the State Council released a report noting the unconstitutionality of some articles.