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The Press Syndicate board members defy head, slam Shura council over new appointments

The board of the press syndicate have announced they will boycott the committee formed by parliament's upper house to appoint the new heads of state-owned press institutions

Ahram Online, Wednesday 13 Jun 2012
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The Secretary-General of the Board of the Press Syndicate, Karem Mahmoud, announced that board members will not participate in the Upper House committee despite the presence of the head of the syndicate Mamdouh El-Waly in it. Board members will start working separately early July on a draft law to define the status of state-run media institutions. The statement strongly rejected what it described as a continuation of political power controlling public sector press institutions, denouncing the "blatant interference" of the Islamist-dominated upper house in the affairs of public sector press houses. It accused the Upper House of attempting to inherit the policies of Mubarak's defunct National Democratic Party.

Earlier this week, seven board members of the Journalists' Syndicate withdrew from a Sunday meeting with the speaker of Egypt's Shura Council, Brotherhood MP Ahmed Fahmy, after objecting to the upper house's "excessive" interference in the Supreme Press Council, responsible for appointing editors-in-chief of state-owned media. Only five members of the press syndicate remained for the duration of the meeting, including the head of the syndicate Mamdouh El-Wali.  The upper house of Egypt's parliament, which is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and the Salafist Nour Party, oversees the press council of which the syndicate board is part. 

In addition, the current description of appointment criteria of state newspaper editors is written by a separate sub-committee appointed by the Shura Council. Objecting board members demand a new mandate of how key editors are chosen, in order to reduce the influence of Islamist forces who hold the majority of seats in the upper house. During the committee meeting, a statement signed by almost a thousand journalists was presented, accusing the Shura Council of implementing the same controlling tactics of former president Mubarak's now defunct National Democratic Party.

 

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