The Egyptian Parliament, headed by Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, is to discuss on Sunday three new draft laws submitted by the cabinet to regulate Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation, the National Media Authority, and the National Press Authority.
Parliament will discuss a separate law for each body, instead of one law regulating the work of the three entities.
Head of parliament’s media committee, Osama Heikal, said that the government had previously submitted one draft law to regulate the functions of all three bodies, but the committee recommended a draft law for each due to differences in the nature of each body’s operations.
Discussion over the bill have continued since the second legislative term, as the media committee has held 39 meetings to discuss the laws so far.
In media statements, Heikal said that the new laws will ensure the independence of the press and media in Egypt through unprecedented guarantees.
Parliament’s draft laws will reportedly also cancel all texts regarding the imprisonment of journalists and media professionals that were part of the cabinet’s proposed law.
The three bodies reviewed the draft laws. The new laws will replace the Law of Institutional Organisation 92 of 2016 that is currently regulating the work of the bodies.
The media and press have long operated according to the Union of Broadcast and Radio Law of 1979 that was responsible for audio and video broadcasting and section four of the Regulation of the Press Law of 1996.
The creation of the three bodies was approved by parliament in December 2016 and signed by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in April, to supervise all Egyptian media outlets’ work. Each body has a separate role: the National Media Authority supervises radio and broadcasting media outlets, the National Press Authority supervises state-owned newspapers, and Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation oversees the work of the two authorities.