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Egypt: New Council to Regulate and Supervise Media Outlets

(Jan. 10, 2017) On December 24, 2016, the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt issued Law No. 92 of 2016 on the Institutional Organization of the Press and the Media (OFFICIAL GAZETTE, No. 51 bis (Dec. 24, 2016), available at VETO GATE (in Arabic)).

The Law provides for the establishment of the Supreme Council for the Regulation of the Media. The Council is an independent body, with corporate personality. (Id. art. 2.) The Council will be composed of a Chairman to be selected by the President of the Republic and 12 members representing such institutions as the Parliament, the Administrative Court, and the Journalists Association. (Id. art. 6.)

The role of the Council is to regulate and supervise media outlets in all of their forms: print, broadcast, and electronic. (Id. art. 4.) Its tasks include in particular:

  • expressing opinions concerning draft laws related to the Council’s field of work;
  • granting licenses to establish broadcast and electronic media outlets;
  • establishing the framework and standards necessary to ensure that media outlets abide by the rules and ethics of the profession;
  • establishing, in consultation with the concerned association, the professional rules and standards for media reporting;
  • receiving and investigating complaints of libel or invasion of privacy;
  • regulating and supervising, with other concerned authorities, the sources of financing of media outlets, to ensure transparency and legality;
  • granting permission to representatives of foreign newspapers and information agencies to work in Egypt, in accordance with the requirements it establishes to this effect; and
  • imposing sanctions on whoever violates the obligations established in the permits or licenses and issuing a list of such sanctions. (Id.)

The term of appointment to the Council is four years, renewable only once. (Id. art. 9.) Owners of newspapers or media outlets are not eligible for appointment to the Council. (Id. art. 7.) The Chairman represents the Council before the judiciary and in relationships with third parties. (Id. art. 16.)

The Law also provides for the establishment of two public entities to manage media outlets owned by the government, one for newspapers (id. art. 28) and one for all other media outlets. (Id. art. 53.)