File- Head of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR) Makram Mohammed Ahmed - press photo
CAIRO – 6 September 2018: The head of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR) Makram Mohammed Ahmed announced that new leadership appointments in state-owned newspapers are expected within a month after President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has ratified the new law regulating press and media.
President Sisi has ratified on September 1 the new law regulating press and media, which was approved by the Parliament in June. The ratification of Law 180 of 2018 was published in the official gazette, stating the law shall apply to all entities, institutions, press, media outlets and websites.
Concurrently, Sisi ratified another law establishing the National Press Authority, which was passed by the Parliament in June. The state body is tasked with upgrading the performance of national press organizations by supervising their financial and administrative activities, while the head of the entity is to be selected by the president.
The new press law which consists of seven sections specifies the administrative construction of newspapers' high board and owners and defines exactly what it means to be a journalist. According to the law, a journalist is “anyone listed as a member of the Journalists Syndicate”. The new law also lists the National Media Authority and the National Press Authority rights to interfere, manage and direct all of the Egyptian media outlets.
In July, Ahmed was investigated by Egypt's Attorney General Nabil Sadiq over his decision to implement a media gag on reports related to the operation and spending of prominent charity hospital 57357. The prosecution asserted that the SCMR has no jurisdiction to order media gags.