Over 600 journalists and public figures submitted a memorandum to the Press Syndicate rejecting a sanctions list scheduled to be issued by the Supreme Media Council which was recently approved by Parliament.
The memorandum was also forwarded to the Council, describing the list as constituting “crimes against the community and the press profession.”
In mid-November, the complaints committee affiliated to the council, headed by Gamal Shawki, prepared a sanctions list to face any media violations or irregularities. The list included 27 articles specifying every violation a penalty ranging between fines and referrals for investigation.
The list covers all media violations starting from rumours, disrespecting other opinions, defamations, disgracing someone’s honour, libel and slander, inciting violence or hatred, invasion of privacy, or violating the Code of Children, Women and Special Needs recently approved by the Council.
The penalties include a fine ranging between EGP 50,000 to 500,000 and could be doubled in case of repetition, warning, a ban of publishing or broadcasting, and blocking websites.
Shawky previously noted that the list came in accordance to recent media and press laws.
Public figures Alaa Al-Aswany, Mohamed El-Saeed Idris, Gamal Bekhit, Mohamed Helmy, Wahid Hamed, Yehia Qalash, Medhat El-Zahad, Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat, and Farid Zahran are among the signatories.
The signatories believe that the list will limit the freedom of the press and will restrict the profession, and demanded the cancellation of the list, not only amending some of its articles.
The move comes while the Head of Media Syndicate, Hamdy El-Konaysi, submitted his resignation from his post in protest against the rejection of the Parliament’s Committee of Media and Culture to amend some disputed articles in the new Media Syndicate Law.
Deputy Speaker of the parliament, Jalila Othman, commented in press statements on the resignation, saying that Al-Konaysi was attempting to use all means to amend the law in order to remain in office and to be elected again. She noted that according to the current syndicate law, which was issued two years ago, the appointment of the Al-Konaysi was temporary, until elections are held after 6 months, but he kept on delaying the election.
In January 2017, President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi decreed a law establishing a syndicate for audio-visual media, following the parliament’s approval to supervise the regulation of audio-visual media practices, as well as defend its members.