‎Egypt's state television and radio to be ‎restructured: Transitional Justice Minister

Gamal Essam El-Din , Wednesday 22 Jul 2015

A new law is being drafted to restructure Egypt's ‎state television and radio, in order to be more ‎competitive against growing private media

Ibrahim Al-Heneidi
Ibrahim Al-Heneidy (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's state-owned Television and Radio Union — ‎popularly known as Maspero — will be restructured to ‎be part of a national media authority mandated with ‎supervising all forms of government-affiliated media.‎

According to Minister of Transitional Justice and ‎Parliamentary Affairs Ibrahim Heneidy, a new law ‎is being drafted to bring Maspero under the ‎supervision of one authority. "This goes in line with ‎Article 213 of the new constitution and aims at ‎promoting the competitive capacity of Maspero in a ‎market increasingly dominated by the private ‎sector," Heneidy told parliamentary reporters in a ‎press conference Tuesday.‎

Heneidy said Article 213 of the 2014 Constitution ‎states that a national media authority be established ‎to take charge of supervising all government-‎owned audiovisual and digital media outlets, ‎developing their financial assets and reinforcing ‎their independence and impartiality. "As a result, a ‎legislative reform committee is currently in the ‎process of drafting a new law aimed at achieving the ‎philosophy of Article 213 and turning the anticipated ‎national media authority into a reality," said Heneidy.‎

Heneidy also disclosed that the committee will hold ‎a number of hearing sessions next week to review ‎reforms proposed by Maspero officials, media ‎experts and former information ministers.

"We want ‎the voice of the national media to be more influential ‎and competitive, not necessarily reflecting the state ‎or the government's point of view but giving the ‎people a different background and vision about what ‎is going on inside and outside Egypt," said Heneidy.‎

Heneidy said Maspero has huge technical and ‎technological capacities that have to be utilised to be ‎more competitive. "We hope the new national media ‎authority will do this job: relieve Maspero of ‎bureaucracy, develop its financial capacities, and ‎help it deliver in-depth coverage from an ‎Egyptian perspective," said Heneidy.‎

Going hand-in-hand with the above, Heneidy ‎indicated that another committee in charge of ‎preparing new laws on national press organisations ‎is currently reviewing different proposals in this ‎respect. "This goes in line with Article 212 of the new ‎constitution, which states that a national press ‎authority be established to take charge of running ‎the affairs of the country's national press ‎organisations, upgrading their performance, and ‎maximising the economic benefits of their assets," ‎Heneidy said.‎

Heneidy, however, added: "The issue of drafting a ‎unified law for national press organisations will take ‎some time, not only because a lot of proposals are ‎submitted in this respect but also because other ‎laws dealing with the national print media in one way ‎or another will have to be also redrafted."‎

A national committee on media and press ‎legislation, including a number of prominent ‎journalists and experts from the Journalists Syndicate, ‎announced it will meet this week to discuss drafting ‎a single law for all media forms.‎

Heneidy went on to indicate that he met with Khaled Al-Sadr, ‎‎secretary general of the House of Representatives, ‎to discuss preparations for the new parliament.

"As ‎parliamentary elections are approaching, we ‎discussed the technical preparations that should be ‎in place before parliament convenes," said Heneidy, ‎adding that "MPs will be able for the first time to ‎electronically vote on laws and a new screen will be ‎fitted to show the voting blocs and the progress of ‎parliamentary debates."‎

Heneidy said several security and logistical ‎measures will be introduced to safeguard the ‎House of Representatives building against terrorist attacks and ‎that new machines were imported to detect ‎explosives. He said MPs will be obliged to leave ‎their cars at the nearby Tahrir Square garage for ‎security reasons.

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