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'Problem' regarding journalists' ban solved: Egypt parliament's speaker

The secretary-general of the parliament said that the initial decision to bar journalists from the House of Representatives was not one made by MPs but by parliamentary police

Aswat Masriya , Tuesday 19 Jan 2016
Egypt' Parliament Cairo, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016 (AP)

The speaker of Egypt's new parliament Ali Abdel-Al said on Monday that a "problem" regarding 12 journalists who were prevented from entering the House of Representatives on Sunday has been solved and that the reporters were able to proceed with their work.

The Journalists Syndicate released a statement after the incident expressing its "dismay" that the journalists were prevented from covering parliamentary activities, "especially after rumours that this was per security instructions."

The statement continued, "If this is true, it carries with it serious connotations on citizens' rights to know what is going on in their House of Representatives."

Abdel-Al stated that they had been prevented because security was under the impression that the reporters were not members of the Journalists' Syndicate, MENA reported. He added, however, after a phone call with the president of the syndicate, Yehia Qalash, it became clear that they are members and they were then allowed to enter.

Ahmed Saad El-Din, the secretary-general of the house, said that the incident was an "individual one," adding that it was "unacceptable." He continued to say that the decision was not a parliamentarian one, but that it came after a decision from the parliament's police.

Earlier in the week, Abdel-Al said that parliamentary sessions are to remain off-air for 15 days until MPs review the laws and presidential decrees made in the parliament’s absence. After this, live broadcasting will presume normally. 

Egypt has been without a legislature since the dissolution of the Islamist dominated parliament in 2012. Since then, the president has held full legislative powers.

The new parliament is expected to discuss and approve all the legislations passed by the president within 15 days of its commencement, according to article 156 of the 2014 Egyptian constitution.

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