A journalist holds up a pen during a protest against the detention of journalists, in front of the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt April 26, 2016. Photograph: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany.

Egypt’s National Press Institute aims at ‘governing news coverage of terrorism issues’

By Nada Baraka,

The National Press Institute declared plans to have regulations that govern covering terrorism stories and a draft for a national media charter in a meeting on Saturday.

“The media has become the main intermediate that terrorist groups use to promote their criminal ideologies,” said Karam Gabr, President of the Egyptian National Press Institute during the press release following the meeting.

The press release also announced its deliberations for a memorandum of understanding for the behaviours of press reporting on issues concerning terrorism and extremism. One of the important criterion will include restricting the photos published following terrorist attacks in an attempt not to incite terror in civilians.

The meeting also concluded a series of recommendations by the council, including the prohibition of using social media as a source for information, establishing a national arm that guards how terrorism stories are handled and focusing on stories of the army when fighting terrorism.

The council for the Egyptian National Press Institute was established after a law was passed by parliament in December, 2016 dictating the formation of the institute and granting President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi executive powers to select the chairman and committee members of the institute. The institute currently has seven committees that acts as judiciary, financial, and administrative subdivisions.

The institute is also scheduled to be working on a law for the freedom of information flow and strategies to restructure national institutions.

New editors in chief for national newspapers were appointed in May.

The meeting was exclusively attended by the board of directors and editors-in-chiefs of national press institutions. Such a collaboration was deemed imperative by the National Press Institute.

The meeting came in second to a series of five meetings in which the institute will formulate a road map and strategic goals that define the media’s role in combating terrorism.

The institute is also expected to work in close relations with Egyptian security institutions following a recommendation by the council on Saturday in an effort to keep media outlets “in-line with state rhetoric against terrorism.”

This follows a recent speech by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in which he called on the media to support the state and its efforts in maintaining stability and fighting terrorism.

Published by The Daily News Egypt

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