- Egypt and France have strong bilateral ties in all domains
- Freedom of Opinion & Expression is the Pillar of Trust between the State and its Citizens.
- Information Withholding or banning is like “Swimming against the Current” Nowadays.
H.E. Mr. Osama Heikal, Egypt Minister of State for Information, received an official delegation from the French Senate headed by senator Catherine Morin-Desailly, president of the culture, education and communications Senatorial committee to discuss means of future co-operation in the Media field. The delegation consisted of Mr. Jean-Michel Houllegatte, member of the senatorial development committee, Mr. Hugues Saury, member of French Senate and Mrs. Anne-Laure Saint-Dizier, counsellor of the Egyptian French parliamentary Association of Friendship. Egyptian Parliament member, Ayman Abul Ela, President of the Egyptian French Parliamentary Association of Friendship also attended the meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting, Heikal welcomed the French delegation as their significant visit confirms the strong mutual ties and relations between the two countries in all domains.
In an open discussion with the delegation, Heikal said that the comeback of the information ministry was an urgent demand from many writers, politicians and media professionals during the last few years. It was a result of the emergence of many problems due to the unclarity of the country’s media policies after the Ministry of Information was cancelled several years ago.
Concerning the issue of information banning or unavailability, Heikal pointed out that this matter is not acceptable anymore and even impossible worldwide. Freedom of opinion and expression is the basics of trust between the country and its citizens nowadays and in case there is any ban of information, other misleading sources will take the chance to stir troubles and confusion.
Heikal added that traditional press is now facing one of its biggest challenges as technology has significantly dominated this field and no one can stop it, pointing out that journalists should abide by the profession code of ethics. Consequently, Information banning is like swimming against the current and the new media status no longer permits such a thing.
Heikal demanded that drama should play a pivotal role in raising the people’s awareness through its content. Regarding the satellite piracy which has widely spread due to the conflict among satellite channels which has negatively affected them financially, Heikal expressed his desire to cooperate with France to solve this problem in the coming period as there are tangled orbits between the French and the Egyptian Satellites. Heikal mentioned that pirated channels, are not only owned by the Muslim Brotherhood to target the country but there are also other satellite channels that steal the Egyptian drama content, the matter that causes great losses to the Egyptian producers and production companies. This situation has become totally unacceptable as it negatively affects the economy.
Speaking about the foreign press correspondents living in Egypt, Heikal confirmed his full support to them by establishing a state-of-the-art center for media services which includes many studios. The center is located in a distinguished district downtown and provided with the latest equipment.
At the end of the meeting, Heikal expressed his happiness with the discussion with the French senators as Egyptians regard France, in the media field, as the beacon of culture. That’s in addition to the strong bilateral cooperation with France that will be achieved in the coming period through the exchange of visits and expertise as Egypt has the most important press foundations and media edifices in the region.