The Press Syndicate will provide its final opinion regarding the new list of sanctions issued by the Supreme Media Council (SMC) in accordance with the constitution, said Egypt’s newly-elected Head of the Press Syndicate, Diaa Rashwan, in his first media statement as the newly elected head on Tuesday.
The SMC prepared a sanctions list to face any media violations or irregularities in late 2018. The list was officially published on 18 March and included 29 articles specifying every violation.
The list covers all media violations starting from rumours, disrespecting others’ opinions, defamations, disgracing someone’s honour, libel and slander, inciting violence or hatred, invasion of privacy, as well as violating the code of children, women and special needs, and was recently approved by the council.
Rashwan said in an official statement that the syndicate is scheduled to discuss all the articles in the list, and will review previous reports prepared in January by the syndicate’s council over the list, which was referred to the SMC, noting that the syndicate has the right to provide its opinion in accordance to Constitutional articles 70, 71, 72, 77, and article 76 of the Syndicates Law.
Some of the articles of the list raised a lot of objection and rejection on a large scale among the Egyptian press community, especially after its official release, Rashwan noted, and asserted that the syndicate only has the right to hold accountable its members for their behaviour during the performance of their profession. His statement comes as the first since he was elected as the new head during Friday’s mid-term elections.
Previously, over 600 journalists and public figures have submitted a memorandum to the syndicate in rejection of the list that was also recently approved by the Parliament. Some of them vowed to file a lawsuit before the Administrative Court.
Meanwhile, as criticism is ongoing, the Head of the SMC, Makram Ahmed, rejected the reactions of journalists and media personnel over the list, depicting it as “distortion attempts.”
The list was approved by the State Council and was discussed while taking the comments of journalists and media personnel into consideration, he said, adding that the list did not add anything new as it came as a completion for the recently approved Media and Press Laws.
Moreover, Seham Saleh, the deputy of the Media Syndicate, criticised the list and stated to local media that it is contrary to the Media’s Syndicate Law.
Moreover, the Media Syndicate submitted a number of comments to the council, but did not consider most of them, Seham said.
Noteworthy, the syndicate submitted comments on five articles to the council, which are related to the accountability of media professionals, but they were deleted and replaced with Article 27, which infringes upon the right of the Media Syndicate to hold accountable excesses issued by media personnel.
“Article 27 violates the law of the Media Syndicate, which recognises the right to hold any media accountable in case of infringement,” Salah said, adding, “There are a number of articles that stipulate the suspension or cancellation of a licence for certain media personnel, as well as the suspension of programmes, which is totally unacceptable under any circumstances because it is contrary to the freedom of opinion and expression.”