Egyptian media institutions are preparing for the upcoming presidential elections that begin in a few months. The Supreme Council for Media Regulation, the National Press Authority, the National Media Authority and the State Information Services (SIS) have stressed their commitment to the standards set by the National Election Authority in regards to the media coverage.
Abdel Mohsen Salama, head of Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate, declared his complete adherence to the legal procedures determined by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to ensure fair presidential elections.
“Journalists have to be neutral during their media coverage of the presidential elections,” Salama told Egypt Today on Sunday.
He reaffirmed his support for pluralism and freedom of expression, adding, “It is forbidden to slam any potential candidate. All candidates must have all freedoms guaranteed.”
“Holding meetings with papers’ editors-in-chief may be necessary to make sure no problems or mistakes occur during the elections’ coverage,” Salama added.
The NEC announced several punishments to be enforced on both national and international media outlets that fail to commit to its announced regulations.
The announced punishments are as follows:
• If a media outlet releases the announced regulations in one of its stories; it is to publish an official apology to the readers within an appropriate space.
• The media outlet is also to publish a clarification of its editorial policy and state that it has violated it along with the agreed regulations of the 2018’s elections. The clarification will be reviewed by the NEC before publishing.
• The media outlet that violates the agreed regulations will be banned for a period of time determined by the NEC from publishing any coverage of the elections including photos, polls, stories or small news.
Various media and press institutions have submitted requests to the Supreme Council for Media Regulation to cover the upcoming presidential elections. Moreover, 400 foreign correspondents residing in Egypt have applied to SIS for the presidential elections’ coverage. SIS received 32 media coverage requests from foreign institutions outside Egypt.
Media reporters and employees will attend training workshops to learn how to cover the presidential elections, member of the National Media Authority Gamal Enayet revealed to Egypt Today.
Essam Farag, the National Press Authority (NPA) undersecretary, told Egypt Today that the NPA will announce the details of workshops for its employees to ensure they will stick to the media regulations set by the NEC.
On January 8, the NEC Chairman Lasheen Ibrahim announced in a press conference that voting in the 2018 presidential elections in Egypt will start on March 26, adding, ”Sixty million eligible voters will cast their ballots in the election on March 26-28 in Egypt, while expatriates will vote on March 16-18.”
Ibrahim affirmed that the final list of candidates will be announced on February 24, noting that the deadline for any candidate to withdraw will be on March 1. The primary results of the first round of the elections will be announced on March 29, after decisions on appeals submitted by candidates, if any, are made.
The final results of the first round will be announced on April 2.
If no candidate obtains the majority vote, a three-day run-off round will commence in Egypt on April 24, and on April 19 abroad.
“The name of the winning candidate will be announced on May 1,” Ibrahim stated.