Egypt deletes classification of media as ‘terrorist entities’

Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy (2-L) formerly with Al-Jazeera, and his Canadian defence team lawyers Gary Caroline (R), Joanna Gislason (2-R), and his Egyptian lawyer Mohamed Hamouda stand during a moment of silence at the beginning of a press conference in Cairo on May 11, 2015 in honour of journalists killed in the line of duty. (AFP)
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Updated 12 February 2020

Egypt deletes classification of media as ‘terrorist entities’

  • Parliament added a new article that prevents a terrorist from transferring and receiving money and other similar financial services

CAIRO: The Egyptian Parliament is deleting the words “satellite channels,” “radio stations” and “social media” outlets from the definition of terrorist entities to prevent Western media attacking the state.
Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said the inclusion of “satellite channels” may cause confusion and, as such, there was no need to include it in the definition. “The path to media freedom is known to everyone, where all opinions respect the constitution, the law and national constants,” he told Parliament.
The decision follows complaints by MPs that naming television channels could be used to portray Egypt as a violator of free speech.
“The law will be promoted abroad as a means of repression if satellite channels are added, and we are not immune to that,” said Atef Nasser, who represents the Future of the Nation Party in Parliament.
“We are facing a fourth generation of wars and we have seen this through an attack on the state on social media platforms,” journalist Mustafa Bakri said. “But the formulation of the text in this way makes it an interpretation and, therefore, it must be deleted.”
The Rome-based International Federation for Rights and Development warned Egypt against trying to include audio, visual or print media in the definition of a terrorist entity, fearing it would lead to restrictions on freedom of information in the country.

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The International Federation for Rights and Development warned Egypt against trying to include audio, visual or print media in the definition of a terrorist entity, fearing it would lead to restrictions on freedom of information in the country.

Reporters Without Borders said last month that including news media to the list of terrorist entities would “explicitly” target journalists and “aggravate the already fragile press freedom situation in the country.” It ranks Egypt 163 out of 180 countries in its 2019 press freedom index.
Boards of sports clubs, sports federations and any entity designated for the public benefit will suspend the membership of terrorists instead of dropping their membership permanently in an attempt to portray the principle of the decision as being a temporary, precautionary measure.
Amendments submitted by the government also call for the freezing of funds or other assets owned by a terrorist, either fully or in the form of a share in joint ownership, the returns generated from it, and what is controlled directly or indirectly.
Parliament added a new article that prevents a terrorist from transferring and receiving money and other similar financial services.


Arab films set for Red Sea Film Festival screening

Updated 24 February 2020

Arab films set for Red Sea Film Festival screening

  • MBC Group to support young film makers with training from industry professionals

LONDON: Young Arab film makers will have the opportunity to have their work showcased at next month’s Red Sea International Film Festival as investment in Saudi cinema gathers pace.

The Red Sea International Film Festival has announced a partnership with MBC Group, which will also broadcast the event’s opening ceremony on March 12.

As part of the deal, MBC Al Amal, MBC’s corporate social responsibility arm, will hold a Shorts pitch competition.

Ten short film projects will be selected from Saudi Arabia and the MENA region, with filmmakers being given a one-day workshop to prepare for a pitching session. 

Italian director and producer Stefano Tealdi will train the candidates to strengthen their skills and give them tips for better pitches, MBC said.

“We strongly believe that this new generation of talent is key in influencing change and creating the difference to the region’s media and entertainment content landscape, which of course includes independent film and mainstream cinema,” said Peter Smith, managing director of MBC Studios.

The region’s biggest broadcaster will also host talent days on March 17 and 18 to support Saudi scriptwriters, directors and producers.

The inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival takes place March 12-21 in Jeddah Old Town, under the theme “Changing the Script.” It aims to support and help grow Saudi Arabia’s emerging film industry which is attracting a slew of investment from homegrown dramas shot in the Kingdom to the construction of cinemas countrywide.

Real estate broker CBRE estimates that 45 new cinemas are expected to open this year.

The boom in cinema construction coincides with a push to develop the domestic Saudi film industry.

That is being driven by both the big and small screen as video-on-demand players that include MBC, Netflix and Amazon compete to deliver content that speaks to a young Arab audience.