Law in the works for National Media Council to oversee state, private channels

Ismail al-Sheshtawy, head of the Radio and Television Union, said a draft law is being prepared for the formation of the National Media Council, which would replace the Information Ministry and oversee both official and private media.

"We are working to form a strong council that will be able to govern the media and have a mechanism to apply its laws on media personnel,"' Sheshtawy said.

Article 215 of the new constitution establishes the National Media Council, the responsibilities of which include the preservation of “societal principles and constructive values,” besides its mandate to ensure the freedom of the media. The elusiveness of notions of values and principles have raised concerns about how they may possibly act as limitations to freedom of expression.

"One of the most important features of the project is that it [ensures] media freedom and the freedom of circulating information, regulated by law, as well as the amendment of the satellite broadcasting law, and the establishment of a syndicate for media personnel," he added.

The draft law will be submitted to the House of Representatives after it is elected, and then will be presented to media personnel.

Sheshtawy said impending changes in the administration of the state television building, Maspero will be announced next week.

"Changes will include a number of leading members in Maspero, in addition to the appointment of others in the currently vacant positions of head of the television sector and head of the specialized channels, who recently resigned," he said.

A total of 175 positions are expected to be included in the Maspero reshuffle at both the administrative and media levels.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm


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