The conference on “Freedom of Opinion and Expression in the New Egyptian Media System” calls for achieving the constitutional objectives related to the media

October 16th, 2014 by Editor

The second day of the conference on “Freedom of Opinion and Expression in the New Egyptian Media System”, organized by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) for 14 and 15 October 2014, has been concluded. The participants asserted the necessity to establish the media councils set forth in Articles 211, 212 and 213 of the constitution to ensure their independence from any authority, and the need to develop self-regulating instruments for the media industry. They stressed the importance to purify the laws on freedom depriving penalties, enhance the role of the media, journalistic and civil society institutions in the protection of journalists and media personnel, and securing the appropriate conditions for the exercise of their work.

Emad Eddin Hussein, editor of AlShorouq newspaper, asserted that wrong media practices are among the dangerous issues faced by the Egyptian media. Another issue is the particular political orientation of the media institution, which changes the news shaping. On the contrary, Hafez ElMirazy, the famous journalist, clarified that the problem in the Arab world lays in the fact that there are no clear standards of the media profession, and therefore the individual abuses of the profession are the result of its attack in general. Mohamed Said, President of AlAhram Regional Institute for Press, explained that media self-regulating starts from the media itself, though we have problems in this and this results in the lack of transparency; only a small number of channels in fact choose their staff on the basis of competence.

In the same context Ragaay ElMerghany, Coordinator at the National Coalition for Media Freedom, asserted that self-regulating represents the application of the journalism Code of Honour. Farida ElNeqash, Editor at AlAhaly newspaper referred that media personnel still work for establishing their syndicate, recognizing that the existence of an overarching framework for them is the only guarantee to yield a struggle for rights and freedoms. Essam Sheha, EOHR Secretary General, asserted that there must be a political will from the state and all its institutions to reform the media and a social will, because without these components there will be problems for the development of the media.

Dr Magdy Abd ElHameed, president of the Association for
the Advancement of the Community Participation, stated that the right to freedom of opinion and expression is the fundamental right which represents one of the main pillars of the democratic society, and added that legislations are one of the most important factors on which civil society organizations must work to promote the right to freedom of opinion and expression and peaceful assembly, and ensure this with their activities.

Finally Dr Aly Agua, Professor of Journalism at Cairo University, affirmed that some civil society institutions are unuseful, because they do not contribute to their role in the development of the media and in their liberalization. Thus these institutions must communicate with civil society organizations to implement the role assigned to them.

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