head of the Supreme Media Council Makram Mohamed Ahmed – File Photo head of the Supreme Media Council Makram Mohamed Ahmed – File Photo

Supreme Media Council approves first Freedom of Information Law

Fri, Oct. 20, 2017
CAIRO – 20 October 2017: The Supreme Media Regulatory Council, chaired by Makram Mohamed Ahmed, approved on Thursday the first Freedom of Information Law draft.

The council will hold a press conference next Monday to announce the draft law.

Ahmed called the council to conduct a community dialogue with journalists, media professionals and the National Council for Human Rights to discuss the final draft law before referring it to the House of Representatives.

The draft law, which the parliament is considering, was originally written under Article 68 of the new Egyptian Constitution and based on the First Information Law issued in 1946 by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Constitutional Article 68 stipulates that “information, data, statistics and official documents are the property of the People and the disclosure thereof from their various sources is a right guaranteed by the State for all citizens. The State is committed to provide and make them available to citizens in a transparent manner. The law shall also impose penalties for withholding information or deliberately providing wrong information.”

The deputy of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, Abdul Fattah Al-Jabaly, told Egypt Today that, under the penalties clause in the draft law, a penalty will be imposed on the employee who refrains from giving information to citizens and will be subject to a fine of LE 5,000 to 20,000 — even imprisonment in the case of preventing information in the commission of a crime.

This law guarantees the right of anyone to receive information in a simplified way and, in case of obtaining statistics or data, it will be for free. However, in the case of economic reports or files, the cost will be determined by the competent authority, Al-Jabaly added.
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