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Heads of Egypt's state-owned papers to be appointed Wednesday

New editors-in-chief of state-owned newspapers will be announced Wednesday, according to Shura Council deputy speaker

Ahram Online, Wednesday 8 Aug 2012
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New editors-in-chief of Egyptian state-owned newspapers will be announced on Wednesday amid ongoing controversy over the mechanisms employed to appoint them.

Tareq El-Sahry, deputy speaker of the Shura Council (the upper, consultative house of Egypt's parliament) said the council would decide on the new editors-in-chief on Wednesday morning, after which their names would be put to a vote by members of a committee tasked with selecting them.

In June, seven board members of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate withdrew from a meeting with the speaker of the Shura Council, Muslim Brotherhood MP Ahmed Fahmy, after objecting to the upper house's "excessive" interference in the Supreme Press Council, previously responsible for appointing heads of state-owned media institutions.

The objecting board members demanded a new means of selecting key editors, in order to reduce the influence of Islamist political forces that hold the majority of seats in the upper house.

The conference reiterated its support for peaceful strikes and demonstrations by public-sector journalists to pressure the Shura Council.

Conference attendees decided to hold a series of meetings between representatives of the press syndicate, political parties and revolutionary groups, so as to draft their recommendations on press legislation and submit them to Egypt's Constituent Assembly, tasked with drafting a new constitution.

A statement, signed by almost one thousand journalists, was presented at the meeting, which accused the Shura Council of implementing the same autocratic tactics as those used by former president Hosni Mubarak's now-defunct National Democratic Party. 

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