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Indicators of Risks to Media Pluralism

Is the Egyptian media landscape concentrated and if yes, how strongly? How well does the current law safeguard media pluralism? Which are the greatest risks to a diverse media coverage that includes all voices, all viewpoints, including criticism of people in power? These ten indicators shed some light on the risks that independent media faces and which could put media pluralism in Egypt in jeopardy.

 

 

Media Audience Concentration

Result: High risk / No data

This indicator assesses the concentration of audience and readership across media platforms based on audience share. Concentration is measured by using the nationwide biggest 4 owners in the market.  

Why? 
In Egypt, audience shares were not available for the broadcast sector since no private market research agency is present in the country and the only official channel to request these numbers is the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, which requested that private companies halt audience surveys “until the release of scientific and objective standards that take into account the regulations of measuring public opinion (…) and until the surveys become representatives of reality.” The MOM team contacted the Council and asked for this data but still did not have any answer when this study was released.  

Given the lack of reliable audience data, this indicator could not be entirely calculated. Yet audience data is essential for assessing media concentration and ensuring media diversity. Therefore, in accordance with the MOM methodology, the risk of audience concentration is assessed as "high" for the broadcast sector.  

The PRINT market shows a very high audience concentration. We looked at the Top 4 companies in the news-focused print market: the public and state-owned Al Ahram Establishment (22%), Dar Akhbar Al Youm (20%) and Dar El Tahrir for printing and publishing (9%) as well as the private AlMasry Establishment for Press, Printing and Publishing and Advertising (16%) owned by prominent businessman Salah Diab. They get through their news print outlets together get at least 67% of the readership. Moreover, the state-owned companies gather about 51% of the readership, putting pluralism at a high risk for the print market.  

The TV market is also highly concentrated, as six out of the ten TV stations surveyed either belong to the General Intelligence through the Egyptian Media Group (ON E, Extra News and Al Hayah) or are state-run through the National Media Authority (Nile News, Al Oula, Al Thaneya).  

The RADIO market is also highly concentrated with 7 radio stations belonging to the State; either directly (Radio Masr, Sawt Al Arab, Al Bernamed Al Aam, Al Sharq Al Awsat) or through the publicly-owned Nile Radio Company (Mega FM, Nagham FM, Shabee FM). Nogoum FM and El Radio 9090 FM are the only private radio stations of the MOM media selection, respectively owned by Taher Helmy and Tarek Ismail. The now closed DRN station was linked to the military intelligence through Falcon Group, a pro-Sisi Egyptian security agency.  

The ONLINE news and information market is more diverse although the most popular platforms are digital versions of existing media outlets, reinforcing their influence. Some of the most popular sites include Youm7 owned by The Egyptian Media Group, Masrawy, owned by giant Telecommunication owner Naguib Sawiris, Al Bawaba News owned by the Arab Center for Journalism, led by MP Abdel Rahim Ali, and Sada El Balad News, owned by Cleopatra Media Company.   

LOWMEDIUMHIGH
Audience concentration in television (horizontal) : audience share not available
If within one country the major four owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%. If within one country the major four owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%. If within one country the major four owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%. 
Audience concentration in radio (horizontal) : audience share not available
If within one country the major four owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%. If within one country the major four owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%. If within one country the major four owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%
Readership concentration in newspapers (horizontal) : 67%
If within one country the major four owners (Top4) have a readership share below 25%.If within one country the major four owners (Top4) have a readership share between 25% and 49%. If within one country the major four owners (Top4) have a readership share above 50%. 
Audience concentration in online (horizontal) : audience share not available
If within one country the major four owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%. If within one country the major four owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%. 

If within one country the major four owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%.

LIMITS:

  • Readership shares for Print are based on an article published by Masrawy in 2017.
  • Consumption of broadcast media could not be assessed due to the lack of reliable data. Sada El Balad TV, along with ON TV channels, DMC channels, Nile News, Al Hayah and Al Nahar came out of the Ipsos Marketing Research list of the most watched channels in Egypt in its latest report for 2017. This report, however, led Ipsos to terminate its contract with Egypt by a request of the by the Ministry of Manpower. The company was accused by several channels and by the chamber of the media industry – that includes the top owners of the most important television networks- of fabricating its reports for the benefit of MBC group. The MOM team contacted Ipsos to request this data in August and September 2018 but has not gotten an answer from the company when the study was released. An expert group provided information and insights, which helped to assess the popularity of and based on that to select media outlets.
  • Data related to the online sector is based on the rankings of Alexa and SimilarWeb.  

Media Market Concentration

Result: No data

This indicator aims to assess the horizontal concentration of ownership within the media sector. Concentration is measured by using the Top4 concentration measure. 

Why?

The media market concentration based on market shares could not be computed. No ownership data, financial data (revenue, advertising etc.) could be retrieved a) per media company b) as market share and c) for the media sector.

According to the recently adopted laws, media companies do have an obligation to disclose financial statements. However, since no executive regulation has been issued as of January 2019, these laws are not effective.

Regulatory Safeguards: Media Ownership Concentration

Result : High risk

This indicator assesses the existence and effective implementation of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high horizontal concentration ownership and/or control in the different media.   

Why ? 

  • There is no precise definition of media concentration although there are some limitations when it comes to media ownership of private media. There is no mention about the ownership of public media.  
  • For the print sector, article 36 of the Law 180/2018 does not allow an individual, his/her family or the legal person to own more than one daily newspaper. Moreover, ownership of shares conferring the right of management in more than one daily newspaper is not allowed, and this also applies to electronic newspapers.  
  • In the TV sector, a media company may not own more than seven television channels. These channels may not include more than one public and one news channel (article 53 of Law 180/2018).  
  • Financial conditions for the broadcast and the online sectors are also a main obstacle to the ownership of a media outlet in these sectors. The amounts needed for the capital of a news or public channel is set at 50 million EGP (about 2.8 million USD), 30 million EGP (about 1.7 million USD) for a thematic channel, 15 million (839,000.00 USD) for a radio station and 2.5 million (about 140,000 USD) for an online channel. Moreover, the founders of a media company should contribute to at least 35% of its capital. This percentage may not be reduced during the next five years in order to obtain the license to broadcast. (article 54 of Law 180/2018).  
  • Foreign ownership is possible but limited and mentioned only for the print sector. According to article 36 of Law 180/2018, non-Egyptian shareholders –whether natural or legal- may not own the proportion of the shares that entitles them to the right of management of a daily newspaper.

These restrictions do not apply to the public media institutions and are monitored by the Supreme Council for Media Regulation

  • Vertical integration (i.e., the control of one individual, a company or a group over the basic elements of the value chain, i.e. production, assembly, distribution, and related industries such as advertising or communications) is not addressed.
  • State-owned media are not subjected to these restrictions.

Regulatory Safeguard Score: 

3 out of 20 – High Risk (15%). 
1 = media-specific regulation/ authority
0.5= competition-related regulation/ authority

Table summarizes TV/Radio/Online/Print - Max. score: 4 per sector. DescriptionYesNoNAMD

Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds or limits, based on objective criteria (e.g. number of licenses, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue) to prevent a high level of horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in this sector? 

This question aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific) against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the Television sector.

1

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with the thresholds in the print sector and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)?    

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.    

 0.5

  

Does the law grant this body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioral and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?    

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as:

-Refusal of additional licences;

-Blocking of a merger or acquisition;

-Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

- Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors;

-divestiture.  

1.5 

  

  

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?    

This indicator aims to assess the effective implementation of sector-specific remedies against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the television media.    

N/A

Total 

3

Cross-media Ownership Concentration

Result: High risk / No data

This indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership across the different sectors – TV, print, audio, and any other relevant media – of the media industry. Cross-media concentration is measured by adding up the market shares of the Top media companies.  

Why?

  • Cross-media concentration is measured based on the market power. Market shares were, however, unavailable – just like financial data in general. Proxies for cross-media ownership tendencies based on audience shares could not be identified either, as data on consumption habits – essential for determining the importance of each print, TV, radio and online sector – was not available. 
  • The lack of data leads to a high risk for the media sector as effective media regulation is not implemented. In the current situation, the State owns 36.58% of the surveyed media outlets (Print and Online: Al Ahram and Ahram Gate, Al Akhbar and Akhbar Al Youm Portal , Al Gomhuria – TV : Al Oula, Al Thaneya, Nile News – Radio : Al Sharq Al Awsat, Sawt Al Arab, Radio Masr, Al Bernameg Alaam, Mega FM, Nagham FM and Shabee FM), and the Egyptian Media Group (EMG) linked to the Public Intelligence another 12.20% (The daily Al Youm Al Sabea and its online version Youm7, ON E, Extra News and Al Hayah  TV channels). Two companies related to military intelligence, Falcon Group and D Media, owns 1 of the surveyed media each, respectively DRN and El Radio 9090 FM. 
  • Recent developments in media ownership show that a phenomenon of “sisification” of the media sector is taking place, with the State and close allies of President Al-Sisi pushing out competitors, which than possibly puts a risk at media pluralism in the country. 
  • The actual cross-media concentration could, however, not be quantified. 
LOWMEDIUMHIGH

Percentage: No data available

If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have a market share below 50% across the different media sectors. If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have an audience share between 50% and 69% across the different media sectors. If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have a market share above 70% across the different media sectors. 

Regulatory Safeguards: Cross-media Ownership Concentration

Result: High risk

This indicator aims to assess the existence and effective implementation of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high degree of cross-ownership between media types (press, TV, radio, internet). 

Why ?  

  • There is no political or juridical awareness for that phenomenon of cross media concentration, and effective merger control in the Egyptian media market is missing.
  • The only limitation to cross-ownership applies to the print sector (article 36 of the Law 180/2018) and does not allow an individual, his/her family or the legal person to own more than one daily newspaper. Moreover, ownership of shares conferring the right of management in more than one daily newspaper is not allowed, and this also applies to electronic newspapers.  
  • There is no authority actively monitoring cross-media ownership. The Supreme Council for Media Regulation is overseeing the implementation of Law 180/2018.  
  • However, executive regulations detailing the legal characteristics to do so were still not adopted as of January 2019. The SCMR has been granted sanctioning powers but won’t use them until the executive regulations are released. 

Due to that lack of regulation, cross-media-ownership giants like Egyptian Media Group could develop.  

 

 

CROSS-MEDIA OWNERSHIPDescriptionYesNoNAMD

Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds, based on objective criteria, such as number of licences, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue, to prevent a high degree of cross-ownership between the different media?    

This indicator aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high degree of cross-ownership in different media sectors.    

 0

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with these thresholds and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media authority=1, competition authority=0.5)  

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.    

  0

Does the law grant body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?    

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as:

- Refusal of additional licences;

- Blocking of a merger or acquisition;

- Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

- Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors

- divestiture.

  0

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?   

The question aims at assessing the effectiveness of the remedies provided by the regulation.    

X

Can a high degree of cross-ownership between different media be prevented via merger control/competition rules that take into account the specificities of the media sector?    

For instance, cross-ownership can be prevented by competition law:

- by the mandatory intervention of a media authority in M&A cases (for instance, the obligation for the competition authority to ask the advice of the media authority);

- by the possibility to overrule the approval of a concentration by the competition authority for reasons of media pluralism (or Public interest in general);

 Even though the law does not contain media-specific provisions - it does not exclude the media sector from its scope of application.

  0

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with these rules and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)    

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation against a high degree of cross-ownership in different media sectors via merger control/competition rules.   

  0

Does the law grant body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?    

Examples sanctioning/enforcement powers and remedies:

- blocking of a merger or acquisition;

- obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

- must carry obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors;

- divestiture. 

1  

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?   

The question aims at assessing the effectiveness of the remedies of the regulation.   

X
TOTAL  1 out of 8

Ownership Transparency

Result: High risk

This indicator assesses the transparency of data about the political affiliations of media owners as ownership transparency is a crucial precondition to enforce media pluralism. 

Why ?

  • Companies have to register at the Egyptian Commercial Registry (C.R) where they at least have to list the company form and shareholders. To request the profile however, it is necessary to precise the registry number of the company, as well as its address and the name of its owner. Moreover, a prohibitive and illegal fee needs to paid to the employees of the Registry. As such, the MOM team decided to assess all information as unavailable
  • In order to complete missing data which was neither available online nor offline, all media outlets (41) were contacted – at times directly at the media outlet at times through the company - with a questionnaire.
  • No Egyptian media company was actively or passively transparent. This means no media company published information on their websites or in publicly accessible reports. None of them answered to the questionnaire that was sent.
  • It is unknown whether companies are actively disguised through bogus companies. However, 22% of the surveyed media had unknown ownership structures (El Radio 9090 FM, MBC Masr, Al Bawaba print and online, El Fagr print and online, Al Masry Al Youm online, Al Watan News and Mada Masr).  
LOWMEDIUMHIGH

How would you assess the transparency and accessibility of data about the media ownership? 

Data on media owners as well as their political affiliations is publicly available and transparent.

(Active Transparency)

Code if that applies to > 75% of the sample

Data of media owners and their political affiliations are disclosed based on investigations of journalists and media activists or upon request.

(Passive Transparency, Publicly Available)

Code if that applies > 50% of the sample. 

Data on political affiliations of media owners are not easily accessible by the public and investigative journalists of activists are not successful in disclosing these data.

(Data Unavailable, Active Disguise)

Code if data is available for < 50% of the sample 

 

 

Read more about Transparency and access to information

Regulatory Safeguards: Ownership Transparency

Result: Medium

This indicator aims to assess the existence and effective implementation of transparency and disclosure provisions with regard to media ownership and/or control. 

Why?

  • Even though there are no specific laws on ownership transparency, general transparency regulations also apply for the media sector (TV, radio, print, online). Setting up a company requires the registration at the Commercial Registry, where such information as the shareholders, directors, the legal form, date of incorporation etc. would be listed.
  • Moreover, in the print sector, press organizations have to publish their approved budgets and final accounts, during the three months following the end of the fiscal year, parties owned and privately-owned print media also have to send a copy of their budgets to the Supreme Council for examination and to prepare a report on the results of the examination (Article 48 of the Law 180/2018).
  • In the broadcast sector, media outlets also have to publish their balance sheets and final accounts in two widely circulated daily newspapers during the four months following the end of the fiscal year (Article 66 of the Law 180/2018).
  • The Supreme Council for Media Regulation monitors their performance, prepares regular reports on the status of diversity and pluralism, to monitor monopolistic practices and take the necessary actions to prevent and combat them (Article 71 of the Law 180/2018).
  • However, as of January 2019, none of these provisions are applicable since executive regulations still have to be adopted by the government to detail the legal characteristics of the Law 180/2018. As such, none of the information related to the ownership of media company is available to the public. There are no penalties if the rules are not complied with.

Regulatory Safeguard Score:  12 out of 20 (60%).

Table shows TV, radio, press, online summarized. Max. score: 5 per sector. 

Transparency ProvisionsDescriptionYesNoNAMD
Does national (media, company, tax...) law contain transparency and disclosure provisions obliging media companies to publish their ownership structures on their website or in records/documents that are accessible to the public?    The aim of the question is to check regulatory safeguard for transparency towards the citizens, the users and the public in general. 4
Does national (media, company, tax...) law contain transparency and disclosure provisions obliging media companies to report (changes in) ownership structures to public authorities (such as the media authority)?    The aim of the question is to check regulatory safeguard for accountability and transparency towards public authorities.    4
Is there an obligation by national law to disclose relevant information after every change in ownership structure?    This question aims at assessing if the law provides rules on the public availability of accurate and up-to-date data on media ownership. This is a condition for an effective transparency.     4
Are there any sanctions in case of non-respect of disclosure obligations?    This question aims at assessing if the law on media ownership transparency can be enforced through the application of sanctions.     0
Do the obligations ensure that the public knows which legal or natural person effectively owns or controls the media company?  This question aim at assessing the effectiveness of the laws that deal with media ownership transparency and if they succeed in disclosing the real owners of the media outlets.  0
Total   12 out of 20

 

 

(Political) Control Over Media Outlets and Distribution Networks

(Political) control over media outlets
Result: Medium to High risk

This indicator assesses the risk of political affiliations and control over media and distribution networks. It also assesses the level of discrimination by politically affiliated media distribution networks. Discriminatory actions would for example include unfavorable pricing and posing barriers to media accessing the distribution channel. Political Affiliations means that the media outlet or company belongs to a party, a partisan group, a party leader or a clearly partisan person. 

(Political) control over media distribution networks
Result: Medium

The overall level of (political) control over media outlets and distribution networks was assessed as a medium to high risk to media pluralism. A leading distribution network is defined as a network covering more than 15% of the national market.

Why? 

  • Out of the monitored media outlets (41), fifteen are state-owned and they all have shareholders showing allegiance to the executive authority (link to Political affiliations). Looking at the media companies, amongst the 22 analyzed, seven companies are politically affiliated: four are state-owned (Akhbar Al Youm - Dar El Tahrir - Al Ahram - Nile Radio company), and therefore managed by the State-owned National Media Authority and the National Press Authority, three are affiliated to the General Intelligence (Egyptian Media Group, Future Group Holding, The Egyptian Company for Press Publication and Advertising)
  • Generally, there is a medium to high risk based on political control through ownership over the monitored media outlets. Moreover, political control over media outlets by other means - such as repressive regulation - is happening on a large scale. This is why the overall risk is assessed as medium to high.
  • Looking at the print media, the state-owned newspapers together reach around 51% of the audience share with in the news market. Other politically affiliated print outlets include Al Youm Al Sabea (Youm 7), that belongs to the Egyptian General Intelligence (link to profile), Al Watan whose owner Mohamed Al-Amin sits on the board of the  Egyptian Media Group, Al Bawaba’s founder and owner Abdel Rahim Ali is a member of the House of Representatives and a known supporter of Al-Sisi’s regime.
  • Within the news TV market, more than half of the monitored media outlets are politically affiliated.  Three are state-owned (Nile News, Al Oula, Al Thaneya) and three are linked to the Public Intelligence through the Egyptian Media Group (ON E, Extra News and Al Hayah).
  • Within the radio market, seven stations belong to the State either directly (Radio Masr, Sawt Al Arab, Al Bernamed Al Aam, Al Sharq Al Awsat) or through the publicly-owned Nile Radio Company (Mega FM, Nagham FM, Shabee FM). Moreover, the now closed DRN station was linked to the military intelligence through Falcon Group, a pro-Sisi Egyptian security agency.
  • The popular news websites are mostly the digital versions of their affiliated print publication. As such, two of the monitored outlets belong to the State (Ahram Gate, Akhbar Al Youm Portal), two are linked to the Public Intelligence through the Egyptian Media Group and Mohamed Al-Amin who sits on its board (Al Watan Portal, Al Youm Al Sabea (Youm7), one is owned by billionaire Naguib Sawiris who also founded the Free Egyptians political party (Masrawy) and another by MP Abdel Rahim Ali (Al Bawaba). 
LOWMEDIUMHIGH
POLITICIZATION OF MEDIA OUTLETS    

What is the share of print media owned by politically affiliated entities?

The media having <30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.    The media having <50% - >30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation. The media having >50% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.    

The shares of TV/Radio/online media are not available

The media having <30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.   The media having <50% - >30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.The media having >50% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.   
  • The government not only owns the principal publishing houses (Al Ahram, Al Akhar, Al Gomhuria) but also owns the only Egyptian news service, the Middle East News Agency (MENA). The radio system is under direct control of the government and the main radio networks are managed by the state-owned Nile Radio Company or the National Media Authority. However, the most popular network (Nile Radio Production) is privately-owned. It does however rent its airwaves from the State.
  • The terrestrial television system operates under complete government supervision, leaving the private stations able to operate only via satellite. Private satellite television is very popular and a major player in the broadcasting sector. After the Jan 25 revolution, many private channels were launched, such as Capital Broadcasting Center - CBC (2011), Al Nahar TV (2011), Sada El Balad (2011), and the DMC network (2016). Despite the development of the technology sector, the growth of the market and its openness to private companies, the Egyptian State has kept control over the telecommunications and broadcast infrastructure for the past twenty years, mostly through Telecom Egypt and TV Satellites. As such, most ISPs are state-owned.
  • On May 24, 2017, the Egyptian government launched a large-scale Internet monitoring campaign that resulted in the blocking of at least 500 different websites between press sites and others of civil society organizations as well as proxy sites / block-bypassing sites.  
LOWMEDIUMHIGH
How would you assess the conduct of the leading distribution networks for print media? 
Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.    At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions.    All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions.    
How would you assess the conduct of the leading radio distribution networks? 
Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.    At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions.    All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions.    
How would you assess the conduct of the leading television distribution networks? 
Leading distribution, are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions. All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions. 
How would you assess the conduct of the leading internet distribution networks? 
Leading distribution, are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions. All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions. 

(Political) Control Over Media Funding

Result: High risk / No data

This indicator assesses the influence of the state on the functioning of the media market, focusing particularly on the risk of discrimination in the distribution of state advertisements. The discrimination can be reflected in favoritism towards political parties or affiliates of political parties in the government, or in penalization of media criticizing the government. State advertising should be understood as any advertising paid by governments (national, regional, local) and state-owned institutions and companies.  

Why? 

There are two major regulations for advertising in Egypt:

  • Art. 5 of the Civil Code which stipulates that "The exercise of a right is considered unlawful in the following cases 1) If the sole aim thereof is to harm another person; 2) If the benefit it is desired to realize is out of proportion to the harm caused thereby to another person; 3) If the benefit it is desired to realize in unlawful."
  • Decree no. 220 of 1976 which censors several acts and topics within artistic works including advertisements. 

Political speech in advertising is legal under Article 65 of the Egyptian Constitution, which provides that "Freedom of thought and opinion is guaranteed. Every person has the right to express his/her opinion verbally or by any means of expression and publication."  

The use of religious imagery or statement in ads has no special provisions banning it. The main provisions of legislation that regulates the censorship of religious material in artworks are the sub clauses of Article 2 of Decree 220 of 1976, detailing the reasons for banning the licensing of any exhibition, production or promotion of a work. 

News media entities depend mainly on advertisements as a source of revenue. In 2017, the National Council for Print Media (NCPM) - which is now the National Press Authority - was estimating that government subsidy went down by 40 percent, and advertising expenditures by 60 percent in 2017

In the TV sector, although terrestrial broadcasting is mainly owned and controlled by the government, it relies heavily on advertising revenues from national and international product commercials aired on the Egyptian channels.  

In the print sector, privately-owned independent media are also becoming more competitive. However, these outlets still depend on the government subsidy and advertising expenditure as main tools for funding.   

Information about State advertising in the radio and online sectors could not be retrieved by the MOM team. However, it appears that some private radio stations have reduced their advertising rates for companies participating in public advertising campaigns. This was the case for Nogoum FM in 2016. The MOM group of experts also found instances where private media outlets had to promote governmental campaigns for free.  

 

LOWMEDIUMHIGH
Is the state advertising distributed to media proportionately to their audience share? No Data
State advertising is distributed to the media relatively proportionately to the audience shares of media. State advertising is distributed disproportionately (in terms of audience share) to the media.State advertising is distributed exclusively to few media outlets, which do not cover al major media outlets in the country. 
How would you assess the rules of distribution of state advertising?    
State advertising is distributed to media outlets based on transparent rules.    State advertising is distributed to media outlets based on a set of rules but it is unclear whether they are transparent.    There are no rules regarding distribution of state advertising to media outlets or these.   
IMPORTANCE OF STATE ADVERTISING    

What is the share of state advertising as part of the overall TV / Radio / Print/ online advertising market?  No Data

Share of state advertising is <5% of the overall market.   Share of state advertising is 5%-10% of the overall market.    Share of state advertising is > 10% of the overall market.

Regulatory Safeguards: Net Neutrality

Result: High risk

Protecting net neutrality is essential to safeguarding media diversity because it guarantees equal ability to access and disseminate information, opinions, perspectives, etc. online, which is essential to media diversity in general, in our post-Internet society. As the accurate measure of media diversity is based on media consumer behavior (i.e., the total content consumers usually choose, and as more people are getting their news online where most news is now reported, online media is a significant indicator and supplier of media diversity overall. Thus, it is important that this platform not be hindered to more closely reflect traditional media platforms. Hindering the ability of the open Internet to facilitate the supply of media diversity, along with other negative consequences, is precisely what will happen without net neutrality protections. 

This indicator aims at capturing the landscape of legal regulation of net neutrality as well as the specific regulatory mechanisms that address net neutrality. 

Why? 

  • The law does not explicitly define net neutrality. However, Article 4 of the Telecommunication Regulation Law of 2003 states that the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA)  “shall also encourage national and international investment in this field within free competition rules, especially in (…) guaranteeing the provision of Telecommunication Services to all regions of the Republic including economic and development regions as well as urban, rural and remote areas”. Moreover, a condition for an ISP to obtain a license is to “make the services available to the public without discrimination” (art. 25). The NTRA can take action to revoke licenses if there is a failure on the part of ISPs to comply with such condition. This could be legal grounds for ensuring that ISPs treat all online content equally and without discrimination. 
  • Nevertheless, there have been various instances of providers acting contrary to the principles of net neutrality. In 2011 for example, the then President Hosni Mubarak ordered a shutdown of the Internet for five whole days. Since May 2017, the Egyptian authorities have been monitoring the internet extensively, and have blocked about 100 news websites. Reporters Without Borders and the MOM project is among them. The Egyptian authorities also started to block the websites allowing bypassing censorship. From Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages service to the ToR Project. 
  • Moreover, In August 2018, President al-Sisi signed the new Law on Combating Cybercrimes, creating legal framework to block websites threatening national security. Internet users who visit banned websites may be jailed for up to one year, while creators or managers of websites that are later banned could face up to two years in prison. ISPs are required to retain browsing data of their customers and disclose it to security bodies upon request. This laws also states that ISPs ignoring court orders issued by government to block certain websites will be subject to a hefty fine and a minimum sentence of one year's imprisonment if they do not act on any blocking ruling from a Criminal Court.

Regulatory Safeguard Score:

0 out of 11 - High Risk (0%). 

Transparency ProvisionsDescriptionYesNoNAMD
Does national (media, company, tax...) law contain transparency and disclosure provisions obliging media companies to publish their ownership structures on their website or in records/documents that are accessible to the public?    This question aims to determine whether net neutrality is regulated by domestic law in any way; it also aims to reflect any agreement between countries, as in the EU and countries that are part of the Council of Europe.0
Does national law contain norms that prohibit the blocking of websites or content online?This question determines the degree to which a country’s net neutrality norms prevent blocking, one of the key components of a robust net neutrality framework0
Does national law contain norms that prohibit throttling of services or content provided online?This question determines the degree to which a country’s net neutrality norms prevent throttling, one of the key components of a robust net neutrality framework  0
Does national law contain norms that prohibit zero-rating and/or paid prioritiszation?This question determines the degree to which a country’s net neutrality norms prevent zero-rating (of which paid prioritiszation is a common form), one of the key components of a robust net neutrality framework 0
Where net neutrality is protected by law, does the legal framework recognize any exceptions, e.g. for reasonable network management?This question establishes when reasonable limits are placed on net neutrality protections versus other limits that may undermine its effectiveness.0
Norms that prohibit or limit zero-rating are successfully implemented: Paid prioritisation does not take place.This question aims to flesh out the extent to which paid prioritisation occurs in practice despite its prohibition in law; a number of countries with ostensibly strong zero-rating protections experience this phenomenon. This indicator may shed light on the degree of difference between the law and practices on the groundX
Norms that prohibit or limit zero-rating are successfully implemented: No other forms of zero-rating take place.Same as aboveX
Norms are successfully implemented: Blocking and/or throttling do not take place.This question seeks to determine how the legal framework in place to protect net neutrality operates in practice with respect to blocking and throttling0
Are there regulatory or other entities charged with monitoring and enforcing net neutrality protections?This question highlights whether there are authorities charged with enforcing net neutrality protections0
Have sanctions been imposed for violations of net neutrality protections where these exist?This question may illustrate the extent to which violations of net neutrality norms are taken seriously as a matter of rule of law and political will0
Are the enforcement mechanisms in place to identify and respond to net neutrality violations viewed as effective?This question shows the extent to which net neutrality norms actually achieve their goalsX
TOTAL

0 out of 11

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    Reporters without borders
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    BMZ