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Egypt's electoral commission to monitor media coverage of parliamentary election

Violators may be penalized with a total ban from covering the elections

Ahram Online , Sunday 2 Aug 2015
A woman casts her vote during the first day of the parliamentary run-off elections in Cairo December 5, 2011 (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's main electoral committee has decided to form media commissions to monitor coverage of a long-awaited parliamentary election that is expected to be held later this year, state news agency MENA said late on Saturday.

The three assigned commissions will be monitoring media coverage of the election on a daily basis and evaluating the media’s conduct, taking disciplinary actions against violators.

The statement added that media outlets must adhere to professional standards but it is unclear what actions would constitute a violation.

The vote for the new parliament was set to be held last March before a court ruled that the Elections Constituency Division Law was unconstitutional. The law was part of the electoral districts law regulating the individual seats system.

Egypt has been without a parliament since June 2012 when a court dissolved the lower chamber after ruling its election unconstitutional.

Under the new decision, the Supreme Electoral Commission can require that media outlets found to be in violation publish an apology with a pledge not to commit another violation in the future. The commission can also go as far as punishing violators with a complete ban from covering the elections.

The proposed committees will include representatives of several ministers and private TV channels as well as government-run investment and control bodies.

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has ratified amendments to three election laws, paving the way for for the delayed elections.

Egypt's Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Transitional Justice, Ibrahim El-Heneidy, said Saturday that a timetable for the elections is expected to be announced "next week."

During a military seminar last week, El-Sisi reiterated that the elections will be held before the end of this year while Heneidy said they may be held as early as September.

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