Shura Council Speaker Ahmed Fahmy said on Wednesday that the Shura Council decided to extend the terms of the editors-in-chief of state-owned newspapers until agreements on new names to the posts are reached.
“We will extend the services of the chief editors of the state-owned newspapers until new criteria for these posts are set,” Fahmy told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
He added that the appointments of 48 new editors-in-chief of state owned papers will be based on qualifications.
The landscape of the Egyptian newspaper industry is divided into three categories: the state owned newspapers, private newspapers and papers issued by political parties.
State-owned papers are regulated and monitored by the Shura Council. Previously those papers, especially Egypt’s flagship Al-Ahram, were the main source of information for the public. But after opening the door for the private papers, state-owned newspapers lost significant influence.
They are widely criticized for being the mouthpiece of the ruling regimes and the editors of these papers were considered loyal to the regime.
Fahmy said that most journalists are against electing editors-in-chief and would prefer that they be appointed.
In response to concerns that new editors will be chosen based on their relationship with ruling Islamist parties, Tarek al-Sahry, a leading figure from the Salafi-led Nour Party, denied that the Salafis or the Muslim Brotherhood intend to control the state-owned newspapers by appointing chief editors from their groups.
“We believe in freedom of the press, provided it does not contradict the customs and traditions of society,” he said.