Egypt parliament to discuss amendments to laws on media and parliament

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 6 May 2018

The two amendments seek to regulate the affairs of the media and the press, and the performance of Egypt's parliament

File Photo: Egyptian Parliament (Photo: Reuters)

The Egyptian parliament’s house speaker Ali Abdel-Aal has asked parliament’s legislative and constitutional affairs committee to begin amending the law regulating the performance of parliament.

Abdel-Aal's statement comes after the parliamentary majority Support Egypt coalition announced two weeks ago that it is seeking to become a licensed political party.

Abdel-Aal told MPs in a plenary meeting on Sunday morning that "I am sure that the legislative and constitutional affairs committee, which has a lot of MPs highly knowledgeable in legislation, will be able to amend this law in a way that could enhance political life and democratic practices in Egypt."

The coalition's legislative experts said there is no constitutional obstacle to Support Egypt becoming a party, and that the only hurdle is Article 6 of the House of Representatives law, which states that elected MPs cannot change their political designation once elected.

"This stipulation might be removed to allow elected MPs to switch alliances and join the new party without losing parliamentary membership,” Abdel-Aal said.

Abdel-Aal also told parliament's culture and media committee that it should finalise debating a government-drafted law aimed at regulating the media and the press as soon as possible. In response, head of the committee Osama Heikal said the law will be ready for discussion before parliament at the end of this week.

Abdel-Aal said the law is necessary to regulate Egypt's media sector, particularly some television channels.

Abdel-Aal also warned MPs not to give interviews to satellite television channels affiliated with the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.  

"Some MPs gave telephone interviews to some television channels without being aware that these are hostile to the state and exploit interviews with MPs to spread a distorted image about Egypt in regional and international circles," said Abdel-Aal.

Ahmed Haridi, an MP from the Upper Egypt governorate of Sohag, told parliament on Sunday that the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated TV channel (Mikamleen), broadcasting from Turkey, lied to secure a telephone interview with him.

"Someone said he was a reporter with the Sky News Arabia channel and that he wanted to conduct a telephone interview with me," said Hardi.

"I was later surprised to find that the interview was broadcast by the Mekamleen channel and that it was used as a response to a Muslim Brotherhood figure who was attacking and insulting the country."

Hardi said that "these channels like to mix poison with honey and there should be some way to safeguard MPs against these Muslim Brotherhood media outlets."

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