Group sues for information on launching private radio channels

A human rights watchdog filed a lawsuit Monday against the information minister, the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Radio and Television Union and the chairman of the Media Free Zone to force them to disclose conditions required for launching private radio channels in Egypt.

The Bokra Foundation for Media Studies and Human Rights argued that most Egyptians don't know how to obtain a radio license in the country, and had filed a request for such information from the defendants but were declined.

“The decision violates Article 47 of the Constitution, which requires the authorities to disclose requested information, unless affecting privacy or national security,” said Bokra Legal Affairs Director Mostafa Mahmoud.

“The Radio and Television Union must be transparent and clear,” he added, denouncing the lack of access to information pertaining to public and civil society organizations' interests.

Starting in 2003, the government started to give licenses to private companies on a very limited scale to launch their own commercial radio stations. Nogoum FM, which specialized in broadcasting popular Egyptian songs, was the first private radio station.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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