Egypt presidency to discuss NGO bill with media on Tuesday

Ahram Online, Tuesday 28 May 2013

Egyptian presidency to hold press conference on Tuesday afternoon to explain recent changes to bill regulating non-governmental organisations

File photo: Egyptian policemen sit in front of Egyptian employees of several pro-democracy groups charged with using foreign funds to foment unrest during their trial in Cairo (Photo: AP)

The Egyptian presidency will discuss recent amendments to a controversial non-governmental organisations (NGO) bill at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

The press conference, which will be held at 1pm at the presidential palace in Cairo, will be conducted by an official presidential spokesperson.

Egypt's presidency announced it would refer the final draft of the NGO bill to the Shura Council (the upper house of parliament, currently endowed with legislative powers) for discussion within a couple of days, after it changed a handful of controversial articles included in previous drafts of the bill.

"The bill aims to create a climate of freedom, transparency and accountability for civil society to work in," the presidency said via Facebook page on Monday. "It strikes a balance between the openness of post-revolution Egypt and the requirements of national sovereignty and independence."

The bill, originally drafted by the Islamist-led Shura Council's human development committee, has drawn widespread condemnation – both domestic and international – with rights campaigners deeming it more repressive than its Mubarak-era counterpart.

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