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Egypt passes 217 laws in eight months

Egypt has passed 217 draft laws since October last year, the highest number since 1886, according to Daily News Egypt.

Speaker of Parliament Ali Abdul Aal made the announcement following the end of the second legislative term last week.

Egypt has passed a number of controversial laws in the past term, including a law aimed at regulating the work of non-governmental organisations.

The law was harshly criticised by human rights organisations who argued it imposed draconian sanctions on those that ventured to provide services outside of the developmental needs identified by the Egyptian government.

Foreign organisations were also quick to condemn the law. In a statement, the European External Action Service said: “The new NGO law in Egypt is bound to put an additional burden on NGOs’ activities and restrict the space of debate and discussion in the country. It risks making civil society’s contribution to political, economic and social development more difficult.”

One month after the approval of the NGO law, the Egyptian Parliament moved to pass another law regulating the media.

The press community had already been awaiting the issuance of a Unified Media Law, as drafted by several media professionals, which was to encompass media ethics and press freedom.

Parliament bypassed this law in favour of another that would establish numerous regulatory bodies for media and press affairs, and would grant President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi the right to appoint the heads of such bodies.

Both laws were drafted without any consultations with stakeholders or reviews by independent organisations, according to former MP Gamal Zahran.

Egypt has seen a dramatic crackdown on freedom in the country and an increase in regulatory legislation since the ousting of democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, justified by the government as necessary for “national security”.

Source : Daily News Egypt

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