Saudi-owned media is reporting that Egypt’s upper house of parliament, said to be dominated by Islamists, has begun setting criteria for appointing the chief editors of state-run newspapers. According to the report, the criteria include never having been involved in “normalization” of relations with Israel:
Egypt upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, began setting criteria for appointing the chief editors of state-run newspapers, an Egyptian daily reported. The door was opened for nominations to the top posts on Tuesday for one week. Chief editors will be selected according to standards that have been agreed on by the a Shura Council specialized committee, the Journalists Association and the Supreme Press Council, Egypt’s Independent daily reported. Prior to the Jan. 25, 2011 revolution, media had been under the control of former president Hosni Mubarak, who was known to jail reporters, close down newspapers and impose fines when journalists upset the regime. The Shura Council, which owns eight state-run press institutions, according to a 1979 constitutional amendment, is responsible for recruiting editors-in-chief and board of directors for state owned news organizations. Under the ousted regime, the Shura Council used this authority to appoint employees who would serve the state’s agenda. According to the new rules, applicants should have spent 15 years at the institution whose publications they seek to be in charge of. They should have worked for the last ten years in a row without taking unpaid leaves. They should also be selected from inside the publication itself, the newspaper reported. Moreover, applicants should not have been involved in selling advertisements. They should not have been referred to disciplinary councils by the syndicate or have been found guilty of depravity. They cannot be involved in normalization with Israel, and should not have taken part in corrupting political life or working as media advisors under the former regime. If there are not any applicants in-house who meet the required conditions, then candidates can be chosen from outside, according to the new regulations laid by the Shura Council committee. A committee from the Shura Council would then name one of the applicants for the top position. Scores of journalists protested on Tuesday before the Journalists Association against the new standards. Demonstrators rejected that chief editors will be selected by a committee led by the Shura Council and not through elections.
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