HEC bans 3 TV channels from covering elections for 3 days
Tawfiq Okasha
 

The High Elections Council (HEC) banned the privately owned Sada al-Balad, Al-Faraeen and CBC TV stations from broadcasting any news pertaining to the elections for three days for electoral violations.

The HEC released a statement through the Official Gazette on Saturday saying that the aforementioned channels had broken several laws in their coverage of elections. The statement did not specify what the violations were, however.

The privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported on November 14 that the HEC was undertaking legal procedures against CBC and Al-Faraeen, among other channels, for violating electoral silence in the first phase of the parliamentary elections. The HEC mandates a 48-hour period of electoral silence before the elections begin.

The first stage of the parliamentary elections took place on October 17-18 for Egyptians abroad, and October 18-19 for domestic voters. Runoff elections were held on October 26-27 for Egyptians abroad, and October 27-28 for domestic voters.

Other channels have recently come into the spotlight when top media figures and executives used their channels or shows to campaign for themselves.  The HEC has banned media personnel from personal campaigning.

HEC member Ihab al-Sayad stated that TV host Tawfik Okasha, who works for the Al-Faraeen channel, was blatantly violating the ban and stated that a report would be filed to HEC documenting his electoral violations.

The HEC assembled a committee to monitor elections coverage in newspapers, TV shows and radio broadcasts and guard against electoral violations. Committee members include officials from the state-affiliated Egyptian Radio and Television Union, private sector media professionals, academics and members of the National Council for Human Rights.

The second stage of the parliamentary elections is set for November 21-22, with the runoff scheduled for December 1-2. The second stage of elections will include 13 governorates: Cairo, Qalyubia, Daqahlia, Damietta, Monufiya, Gharbiya, Sharqiya, Kafr al-Sheikh, Ismailia, Port Said, Suez, as well as North and South Sinai.

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