Assessment of media development in Egypt

Based on UNESCO's Media Development Indicators

In 2013 an in-depth Assessment of Media Development was completed in Egypt. Following the demonstrations of 2011 and the downfall of the Mubarak regime there was a pressing need for an assessment of the media in Egypt and immediate calls by civil society for significant reform of the legal framework governing the media. The UNESCO Media Development Indicators (MDIs) Report was completed within this context.

The Mubarak period was characterised by severe repression of democratic rights. Freedom of expression was among those rights that were most restricted during Mubarak’s rule. The Egypt MDIs Study provides a comprehensive review of media development needs based on a data gathering process with involvement of local experts and stakeholders. The assessment of Egypt relative to the indicators takes into account the special challenges facing the country, and in particular the context of revolutionary change that it is grappling with.

The Report was developed on behalf of UNESCO by a group of international and Egyptian media researchers. It provides local stakeholders including, civil society, state institutions and relevant professional communities with a detailed mapping of key media development needs in the country, based on the internationally accepted and tested methodology.

Some key recommendations were for the government to commit to engaging in widespread consultations with interested stakeholders before adopting or amending any laws which relate to freedom of expression or of the media. Moreover, that the guarantee of freedom of expression in the new Egyptian constitution be substantially stronger than in the past and that it should place strict limits on the power of the government to restrict this fundamental right. There is also a need for a right to information law that would give individuals a right to access information held by public authorities.

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Interim Assessment of Media Development in Egypt (2011)

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This assessment is based on UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators (MDIs), which were endorsed in 2008 by the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). MDIs, which cover all aspects of media development, define a framework within which the media can best contribute to, and benefit from, good governance and democratic development. They are being applied in various countries worldwide to identify their specific needs in view of guiding the formulation of media-related policies and improving the targeting of media development efforts.

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