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Press law committee to convene in Cairo this week

Committee is part of a broader consultation on changes to Egypt's press and media legislation

Ahram Online , Sunday 19 Oct 2014
Diaa Rashwan
Head of Egypt's Press Syndicate Diaa Rashwan (R) holds his pen aloft during a protest at the Press Syndicate in downtown Cairo to condemn the violence targeting journalists in the field, Thursday, April 17, 2014 (Photo: Bassam El-Zogby)
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A committee tasked with drafting new press and media regulations will begin its work on Wednesday, journalists syndicate leader Diaa Rashwan has told state news agency MENA.

Legislation drafted by the 24-member committee will be reviewed by a smaller committee -- jointly formed with government representatives -- before being presented to the president or the yet-to-be elected parliament.

The formation of a separate eight-member cabinet committee, headed by the justice minister, provoked anger among journalists, with the syndicate arguing it breaches the constitution which states the supreme press council must have a say in press laws.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab agreed at a meeting with Rashwan on Saturday that the disputed committee would merely serve as an advisory body to the main committee.

The 24-member committee is comprised of six journalists syndicate board members, including Karem Mahmoud, Gamal Fahmy and Khaled El-Bilshy, and six representatives of the High Council of the Press, including council head Galal Aref, writer Salah Eissa, head of Egypt's Writers Union Mohamed Salmawy, as well as constitutional expert Mohamed Noureddin Farhar.

It also consists of 12 media figures, including television host Hafez El-Mirazy, journalist and media figure Hamdi Kandil and prominent TV anchorwoman Mona El-Shazly.

New legislation is expected to be drawn up within two months.

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