Media law executive regulations finally go into effect 18 months after law passed

The Supreme Media Regulatory Council (SMRC) on Monday issued the executive regulations for the new media law, a full year and a half after the law was enacted. 

Executive regulations clarify articles and lay out the implementation processes of laws. 

Among the regulations, which were published in the state-run Official Gazette on Monday, newspapers are required to print their issues within Egypt at licensed printing houses registered with the SMRC. Additionally, news websites are required to have a copy of their servers hosted within Egypt, in a location declared to the council that cannot be changed without approval.

Newspapers are also required to submit 20 copies of each printed issue to the council while news websites and television outlets must keep all of their published or broadcast material online for no less than one year, in addition to submitting a copy of their published or broadcast material to the council every month.

The regulations also prohibit any recording, filming, or interviews in public places with the intention of broadcasting them on a media outlet without a permit issued by the SMRC.

According to Article 2 of the Law Regulating the Press, Media and the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, which was issued on August 27, 2018, the executive regulations should have been issued within three months of the law going into effect, yet they were only issued on Monday.

Media organizations are now required to reconcile their status in accordance with these regulations within 6 months.

In October 2018, the SMRC announced without warning that it had opened the registration window for online outlets. It offered outlets a two-week period to submit their paperwork, which was subsequently extended by an additional two weeks. In response, a total of 113 websites, including Mada Masr, submitted licensing requests. In January 2019, the SMRC again said the window was open for licensing requests to be submitted until the end of the month. A total of 284 license requests from new newspapers, websites and television channels have been submitted to the SMRC, according to previous statements by the council.

SMRC member Saleh al-Salehy previously stated that after the executive regulations are issued, the media council will send letters to representatives of newspapers and satellite channels that have previously submitted requests for licensing to legalize their status in order for the outlets to complete the necessary information and documentation. After that, the SMRC will send each outlet a letter acknowledging their completed application. According to the bylaws, within 90 days from the date of this letter, the council shall decide on these requests by granting licenses or denying them with a letter showing cause.

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