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The National Council for Human Rights holds a workshop on freedom of information and the proposed law

The Civil and Political Rights Committee of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) held a workshop under the title "Freedom to allow the circulation of information between constitutional entitlement and challenges" with wide participation from all concerned parties to discuss opportunities for issuing legislation allowing freedom of information as one of the constitutional rights stipulated in the 2014 Constitution and the National Strategy for Human Rights Human which was released in September of 2021. The workshop was inaugurated by Ambassador Moushira Khattab, President of NCHR, by emphasizing that NCHR is working to raise awareness of the benefits of passing the law on freedom of information from a human rights perspective in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Khattab said that true democracy is one in which information is available, because a person will not be able to have an opinion or obtain any right unless information is available to him.

From his side, Professor George Izhaq, Secretary of the Civil and Political Rights Committee, said that the proposed law bears great importance in light of the absence of a law in the legislative system in Egypt that regulates the freedom of access and circulation of information in a manner that is consistent with international standards for freedom of opinion and expression on the one hand and responds to national requests for access to information and the ability to use it as a tool to raise awareness, enhance transparency and combat potential corruption. On the other hand, Egypt has a legal and judicial school that has been followed by many countries of the world over the years issuing national legislation in the form of a law on the circulation of information. Ezzat Ibrahim, member of NCHR and rapporteur of the workshop, said that launching a national dialogue between all components of Egyptian society provides an umbrella or an opportunity to advance the legislation of the Freedom and Access to Information Law to the fore again. The text in Article 68 of the constitution indicates clearly that information, data, statistics, and official documents belong to the people, and disclosing them from their various sources is a right guaranteed by the state to every citizen. The existence of a legal framework that regulates access to information, data and official statistics and their circulation, despite being one of the constitutional rights, is one of the main challenges to the success of the strategy. Issam Shiha, Chairman of the Legislative Committee of NCHR, Dr. Hani Mahmoud, former Minister of Communications and Information Technology, and Deputy Dr. Maha Abdel Nasser, the historical development of the deliberations related to the issuance of legislation on the freedom of access to information and the obstacles that encounter its passage. The attendees stressed the need to seize this important opportunity in light of a comprehensive national dialogue to pass the law.

The second session, which was moderated by Dr. Ayman Zuhri and participated in Dr. Safwat Alalem professor of media and Dr. Huda Zakaria,  professor of sociology and Representative Muhammad Farid,  member of the Senate, referred to the legislative effect of the proposed law. The workshop recommended the importance of studying the various aspects of national legislation in accordance with international standards and changing the prevailing culture pattern in state institutions regarding the circulation of information and developing an effective information management system.