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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Egypt's prosecution summons head of Supreme Council for Media Regulation, issues media gag order on investigations

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din, Saturday 7 Jul 2018
Nabil Sadek
File Photo: Egypt's public prosecutor Nabil Sadek (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Egypt's Attorney General Nabil Sadiq summoned head of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation Makram Mohammed Ahmed on Saturday to investigate his decision to implement a media gag on reports related to the 57375 cancer hospital, asserting that the Supreme Media council has no jurisdiction to order media gags.

The Attorney General also issued a media gag order on ongoing investigations with Ahmed following this statement on Saturday.

"Referring to what media and newspapers reported concerning the decision by the Supreme Media Council to impose a gag order on a case related to a major international medical institution, this decision is ineffective and violates the law," a press release issued by the Attorney General's Office said.

The statement said that the decision is an interference in the jurisdiction of the judicial and executive authority entrusted to protect the public affairs of the state.

The Attorney-General addressed the President of the head of the Supreme Media Council saying, "the law of your council has the right to protect the freedom of the press and the citizen's right to enjoy free press within a professional framework, otherwise you have no jurisdiction in accordance with the Constitution and the law; the provisions of the law must be interpreted in the correct manner."

Last month, the Egyptian government formed a committee to investigate complaints about the operation and spending of prominent charity hospital 57357.

The move comes two weeks after prominent screenwriter and columnist Wahid Hamed wrote an article questioning the well-known cancer hospital's spending of millions of Egyptian pounds worth of donations.

He also criticised the organisation’s big-budget advertising campaigns and what he described as the extravagant salaries of the management, which he claimed is dominated by one family.

The committee, which consists of members of Egypt’s Central Auditing Authority and the Administrative Control Authority, will take ten days to conclude its findings, Wali said.

The hospital, which is named after its donations hotline, was founded in 2007, and relies entirely on donations to treat child cancer patients, organise advertising campaigns and pay the salaries of its staff.

However, the hospital slammed the allegations against it as “inaccurate information” and said in a statement that it had prepared a report with detailed lists of donation expenditures and sent it to authorities.

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