The Bureaucratic Broadcasting Governing Structure and Content Diversity: The Case of the Egyptian National Television System

By Allam, Rasha N. | Global Media Journal, June 2018 | Go to article overview

The Bureaucratic Broadcasting Governing Structure and Content Diversity: The Case of the Egyptian National Television System


Allam, Rasha N., Global Media Journal


Introduction

The television sector plays a crucial role in the formation of democratic societies and in the shaping and the transmission of social values as well. It can be similar to a cultural industry where there should be a well-defined policy that enables the market broadcaster operators to implement a management strategy (European audio-visual observatory-yearbook 2003).

On December 26, 2016, the Egyptian President ratified a new media law, creating three new bodies that would regulate Egyptian print, broadcast and electronic media.

The new law, which was approved by parliament, introduces three main articles in the Egyptian Constitution: 211 (The establishment of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation), 212 (National Press Council), 213 (National Media Council).

Following the January 25 and June 30 revolutions, there had been public demand for safeguarding the independence of the media by curbing direct and indirect government interference, and establishing a regulatory system for media outlets that would represent diversified opinions and ideologies.

Among the factors that would act as an obstacle for the regulatory systems to implement its policies efficiently is the centralized bureaucratic structure of the National Media Council (NMC) the governing body of the national broadcast media all over Egypt.

The Egyptian television system that is coming under pressure from the international and global trend to regulate the broadcast industry lacks political independence which affects degree of diversity. Therefore, it is important to analyze its organizational factors that would enable the Egyptian media to reform and maintain an independent television system for its importance in maintaining an independent television sector with diversified content.

Setting the derived principles from the literature review regarding the main organizational factors that would enable the independency of the national television system, and proposes a model for the Egyptian TV sector in terms of relative importance was essential to implement in the current case.

Theories in Practice

From previous conducted research, countries in transitional stage are concerned mainly about economic, organizational, and legal frameworks that affect directly the degree of diversification.

It is important at the beginning to refer to Fred S. Siebert, Theodore Peterson, and Wilbur Schramm who said that the heart of any media system is the relationship between media and government. Egypt is in a transition stage moving from the authoritarian system, where the press was heavily controlled by the government and it had to support all the governmental policies, to the libertarian system, where the free of speech and freedom of expression are the main features. Such liberal system in the press must bring along a change not only in the regulatory broadcasting system but also in the organizational structure of the broadcasting bodies [1].

In his discussion of the "perverted" public theory, Horowitz [2] examines and explains the behavior of the regulatory bodies. He advocates that the public interest has been betrayed and deceived by the governmental regulations on the structure of the broadcast media that does not witness/reflect any advancement.

Horowitz [2] identifies three main types of influence: instrumental, structural and capture of the media regulator (in this context it's there is not independent regulatory body established yet, but it is the government that controls that public media and sets the policies and regulations).

The instrumental influence takes place when staff within a regulator comes from the same background as those working in the industries they are regulating, and although they have related expertise, may invariably be sympathetic to the industry more than to the consumer side.

Structural influence is focusing on the institutions of the regulator and the lack or the insufficient resources that the regulator possesses relative to the industry. …

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