Head of the Supreme Council for Media (SCM), Makram Mohamed Ahmed
CAIRO – 24 February 2018: Head of the Supreme Council for Media (SCM) Makram Mohamed Ahmed announced Saturday that the council will launch the rules regulating the work of newspapers and TV channels, including the sanctions and penalties, within ten days, with no violation to the freedom of speech.
“The council has considered protecting the freedom of expression when it drafted the sanctions,” Ahmed told Egypt Today, revealing that the regulating rules will include the basic criteria, penalties, rights of media platforms, the mechanism of issuing decisions and the method to appeal.
“The SCM has formed a special committee to monitor the violations during the coverage of the presidential election in March. It will include six members of the council,” Ahmed said, adding, “It [the committee] will consider all the regulatory conditions set by the National Election Authority regarding impartiality and following the scientific way in making polls.”
The Supreme Council for Media Regulations was established on December 24, 2016 after President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi issued Law No. 92 of 2016 on the Institutional Organization of the Press and the Media as an independent body with corporate personality.
The council is composed of a chairman, selected by the president, and 12 members representing such institutions as the Parliament, the Administrative Court, and the Journalists Association.
The role of the council is to regulate and supervise media outlets in all forms – print, broadcast and electronic – and it establishes the framework and standards necessary to ensure that media outlets abide by the rules and ethics of the profession.
The SCM suspended TV anchor Mohamed al-Gheity from appearing on screen for one week for insulting presidential candidate Moussa Mostafa Moussa. Ahmed defended the council’s decision, saying that it was legal.
The SCM is set to ensure fair competition between media groups, as well as their independence and neutrality and adherence to journalistic ethics, and it will make sure they do not compromise national security.
It can punish media organizations if they violate its regulations; create a list of penalties; fine media organizations that break license terms; revoke or suspend the right to publish or broadcast; receive and investigate complaints of libel or invasion of privacy; and regulate and supervise, with other concerned authorities, the sources of financing of media outlets, to ensure transparency and legality.
“Egyptian media went through years of chaos. The council seeks decreasing the flaws flexibly,” Ahmed stated.
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