Press reform considers fate of financially unstable papers

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Tue, 09 May 2017 - 07:44 GMT

SMRC head Makram Mohamed Ahmed – Archive

SMRC head Makram Mohamed Ahmed – Archive

CAIRO – 9 May 2017: The news industry in Egypt is facing a “crucial” problem, according to the head of the Supreme Media Regulatory Council (SMRC), Makram Mohamed Ahmed, who called the process of reforming it rather “arduous.”

During a meeting with the Parliament’s Media and Culture Committee Monday, Ahmed said lawmakers regulated the foundation of media bodies without giving much interest to the way they integrate their efforts.

The committee meeting, chaired committee head and former information minister Osama Heikal, firmly focused on discussing a new bill regulating journalism and media affairs.

Ahmed called for the inclusion of an article that gives the SMRC head the right to gather three media regulatory bodies to discuss the formation of a plan to reform Egypt’s press.

In December 2016, Parliament approved a law on the "Institutional Regulation of the Press and the Media in Egypt." Heikal said the

89-article law

, prepared by government-affiliated experts in media law, aims to create three regulatory bodies that will oversee all media outlets in Egypt.

“Coordination between the three authorities targets concessions that pave the way for their main task - to revive and financially supervise press institutions,” Ahmed said.

Ahmed also suggested during his speech the conversion of print newspapers that do not meet their circulation target to online news websites, while preserving the rights of their employees.

During a phone

interview

with journalist-cum-broadcast presenter Lamis El-Hadidi’s ”Hona Al'asema” talk show on CBC satellite channel last month, Ahmed said if any print publication fails to meet its material cost, it will be converted to an electronic publication to cut expenses.

The SMRC head added that the biggest challenge lies in setting a plan to reform the press through cooperative teamwork.

Mohamed Magdi contributed to this report.

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