Egypt MB: Amendments To Publication Law Are Disappointing

The Parliament has endorsed the final amendments of the law repealing imprisonment in publication while toughening financial penalties in libel cases especially those related to questioning financial integrity of individuals. The latter amendments were met with strong rejection by 107 deputies in the Egyptian Parliament who submitted a memo to the Peoples Assembly Speaker vetoing these amendments.


The memo considered the amendments “a disappointment” because they toughen financial penalties in most serious cases, mainly the financial integrity of heads of states and other government offiicals which will eventually undermine the ability of the press to uncover corruption. The signatories of the memo, who belong to various political spectrums, lamented that these penalties include both the writer and the chief editor, which the memo considered “setback to the freedom of expression and a return to the era of censorship on journalism and a flagrant constitutional violation”


For its part, the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc affirmed that the amendments contradict government’s claims of political and legislative reform, now that it has ignored invariably all voices of reform in the civil society and has thrown its weight behind freedom- restricting laws, which gag voices of reform and protect corruption. These recently endorsed amendments, the Bloc said, will deny the press the ability to fight corruption and stand up to any encroachment on freedoms. The Bloc in its statement warned that such tough financial penalties will be “a sword hanging over the journalists’ heads” and disproportionate to their incomes. The natural outcome, according to the statement, will be either to keep silent before corruption or face the threat of closure of their press establishments once they fail to pay such high financial penalties.