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The United Nations is cooperating with the Egyptian government, local NGOs and media institutions to launch a program aimed at reforming the media and freedom of expression in Egypt, according to the UN’s resident coordinator in Egypt.
The program aims to ensure efficiency and pluralism in the media, and develop the capabilities of media professionals and journalists in terms of ethics and democratic discourse, James Rowley added.
During a celebration in honor of World Press Freedom Day at Manial Palace in Cairo on Wednesday evening, the UN official said the program would increase awareness on how to cover topics such as human rights, development, climate change, gender, education and health.
He added that freedom of the press can change communities by bringing about greater transparency and accountability and by opening new communication channels.
Rowley emphasized the importance of a free independent media that promotes pluralism and democracy, and helps citizens by providing information that can improve their health, education and means of living, as well as involve them in the development of their country.
He expressed his concern that media outlets have been exposed to strong pressure, as many satellite channels in Egypt and news channels have been shut down, and many journalists and reporters were killed or wounded while covering the 25 January revolution.
MP Mohamed El Sawy, head of the People’s Assembly Culture, Information and Tourism Committee and representative of People's Assembly Speaker Saad al-Katatny, attended the celebration. He said Parliament soon planned to discuss the establishment of a National Media Council, which would open up prospects for media professionals to work without hindrance and establish a new syndicate for journalists divided into several branches.
Sawy added that Parliament also encouraged the formation of groups made up of members of civil society organizations to assess the performance of media outlets.
Parliament is expected to issue legislation aiming to protect press freedom, he said, emphasizing that media personnel should not be subject to pressure or suppression of ideas as they were under the Mubarak regime.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm