Egypt's state newspapers voice disapproval of press chamber for private outlets

Ahram Online, Thursday 13 Nov 2014

Editors of state broadsheets reject announcement of a press industry chamber that only includes private newspapers

A number of state-owned newspapers issued a statement on Thursday criticising the establishment of a press chamber for private newspapers, Al-Ahram's Arabic news website reported.

Earlier this week, seven chief editors signed a statement confirming they would start with the necessary legal steps to make an industry chamber for privately-owned newspapers, as "press is a national industry, with vital credit within the Egyptian economy."

But Thursday's statement from state-run papers said that any press industry should include all sectors, whether national or private, in order to defend their rights and interests.

"The private newspaper business does not own the journalism industry in Egypt, as 99 percent of the printing machines are owned by publicly-owned press houses such as Al-Ahram, Al-Akhbar and Gomhoreya," the statement read.

Most major private newspapers are printed on presses belonging to the state-owned ones.

The step to establish a press industry chamber comes after a broader meeting was held last month between 17 Egyptian chief editors – many of whom are initiating the press chamber – to decide on the country's future journalistic framework following a major militant attack that killed over 30 army personnel in North Sinai.

The chief editors signed a statement at the end of the meeting confirming they would not publish any material that "shows support to terrorism" or attacks the army, police or judiciary. The statement also pledged full support to the project of a "modern state, carried out and led by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi."

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