For the second time, the Court of Urgent Affairs decided it was not within its specialisation to rule in a lawsuit demanding the placement of a judicial guardianship over the Press Syndicate.
In July, the court rejected a similar lawsuit. Both were filed by a journalist and a lawyer against the head of the Press Syndicate, Yehia Qalash, following the crisis with the Ministry of Interior on 1 May, when police forces stormed the syndicate and arrested journalists Amr Badr and Mahmoud Al-Saqqa.
Qalash, along with senior syndicate leaders, is facing trial against the backdrop of the incident, facing accusations of giving shelter to wanted suspects.
In the meantime, the Press Syndicate is waiting for a new law on the press and media to be issued, which supposedly improves freedom of expression and the legal status of journalists. While the law has been delayed by the government, it is in the revision process at the State Council to be sent to the parliament.
Qalash asserted in Monday press statements reported by state-run news agency MENA that the law will be kept as agreed upon during its drafting, and that jail penalties for publishing crimes will come to end.
According to Qalash, the Supreme Press Council also addressed the State Council on the importance of an article that forbids the searching of a journalist’s house or office without the presence of a prosecution official.
Furthermore, the press community awaits a law that would reorganise the Supreme Press Council. The parliament is yet to look at those laws. On the one hand, MP Mostafa Bakry suggested that the council is to be formed by the president of the country, whereas MP Akal Kortam suggested that the parliament should perform the task.
Bakry also submitted Monday a draft law regarding the establishment of three media institutions stated upon in the constitution: the Supreme Council for the Regulation of Media, the National Press Organisation, and The National Media Organisation. Once more, Bakry suggested their board of directors be appointed by the president of the country.