FILE – The Syndicate of Journalists
CAIRO – 8 August 2018: Two Parliament members of the Culture and Media Committee voiced concerns over a proposal set to be submitted by Head of the Parliament's Human Rights Committee, Alaa Abed, disallowing individuals from joining the Press Syndicate unless they are media graduates.
Abed said it is time to allow only media graduates who received training after college to work in journalism, adding that many violations were committed and false information was disseminated by those who claim they are media persons.
Tamer Abdel kader, deputy of the Parliament's Culture and Media Committee, criticized the proposal saying that it will deprive many talented people from working in journalism
In an interview with Egypt Today, Abdel Kader said that journalism is not all about academic study, adding that it also requires talent and creativity. He added that late great writer Mohamed Hassaneen Heikal is not a media graduate. However, he is a role model for many Egyptian journalists and media persons.
Heikal was appointed as the minister of information in 1970.
FILE - From left, Heikal, Hoda Abdel Nasser, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser (third from left), 1966 – Wikipedia
Abdel Kader said that the National Press Authority law stipulates that at least 50 percent of the staff of any news institution must be members of the Syndicate of Journalists. Two years after the institution is launched, 70 percent of the staff should then join the syndicate. The other 30 percent are those under training and are set to be syndicate members after maximum two years of training.
Abdel Kader said that if Abed’s proposal came into effect, news institutions might be compelled to fire many trainees after their maximum training period is over, if they are not media graduates.
MP Youssef al-Qaeed, member of the Culture and Media Committee, told Egypt Today that limiting the membership of the syndicate to media graduates only is unconstitutional and unfair.
Qaeed said it is fine to have agricultural engineers writing in the field of agriculture, and to have individuals with military background writing in the military field. He added that proofreading news articles for example requires a Dar Al-Ulum graduate. Dar Al-Ulum is one of Cairo University's faculties specialized in teaching Arabic language and Islamic studies.
He said that journalism is not limited to writing, as there is press photography, and other forms of journalism, adding that a photo journalist can be a graduate of the photography section in the Faculty of Applied Arts.
Press, Media Syndicates membership
Unlike many other syndicates, including Egyptian Medical and Engineers’ Syndicates, the Syndicate of Journalists and the newly-established Media Syndicate's memberships are not granted for fresh graduates who have no work experience in media.
Both syndicates require candidates for membership to be Egyptians, have full legal capacity, to be free and not placed under guardianship, to have a bachelor’s degree, and to enjoy a good reputation. Moreover, candidates must have a clear criminal record and must not have been convicted in a crime.
Individuals wishing to join the Syndicate of Journalists have to be formally trained for a minimum of one year in one of the news agencies or press institutions whose publications are released in Egypt.
Media Syndicate is different from the Syndicate of Journalists as the former is responsible for regulating audio-visual media practices. It is also tasked with defending its members.