President Morsi is accused of seeking to control Egypt’s media
Cairo – Islam Abou Zeid
An Egyptian free press advocacy group has criticised what it terms the \"hegemony and domination” imposed on journalists by the country’s ruling party, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The group has vowed to form
an “independent body concerned with the defence of the rights of conscience, expression and flow of information” to replace the National Media Council and National Press and Media Authority created by President Mohammed Morsi’s Constitutional Declaration.
The group said it rejected the new bodies as well as the constitution itself.
Spokesperson Yahia Kallash told Arabstoday that the advocacy organisation was busy drafting a document detailing the reasons for its rejection of the Constitutional Declaration’s perceived “domination” over the media and the press.
Meanwhile, Salah Issa, editor-in-chief of the al-Kahera newspaper said work to form an independent body “so that the tragedy of those phony councils is not repeated” was ongoing. Issa claimed the new authority would be \"independent from political, legislative and executive authority.\"
Separate bodies for television, state press and electronic media would be created, Issa said, “to prevent anyone from claiming that it is not monitored before proceeding to impose restrictions on it.”
\"Rules and regulations governing these councils will be set, granting journalists and broadcasters legal protection through their work,” Issa claimed. “We would also call on the Journalists\' Syndicate to adhere to professional conventions and apply the Journalistic Code of Honour to any member of the profession who commits a violation.”
The al-Kahera editor meanwhile said the new recommendations would not become statute, operating instead as representative of “journalists’ demands and visions for the future of the profession.” He added: “The government has the right to adopt them and whether to propose them to parliament to be passed into law or not.”
Gamal Fahmi, a deputy in the Journalists\' Syndicate, said: \"These decisions are a response to the premeditated and ferocious attack which aims to restrict the press and media, silencing dissent that opposes the political tyranny which the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters have been practicing in the name of religion.”
\"The Muslim Brotherhood and their Islamist supporters have made a point out of distorting the professional image of broadcasters and journalists so as to control and direct public opinion,” Fahmi added.
\"The Egyptian people know perfectly well who has failed them politically so far.”