The Egyptian Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media established in December a specialized committee to monitor TV series and weed out the
ones that it considers to be against the country's customs and traditions. The decision raised criticism and concern within Egyptian artistic and cultural circles, as well as questions about the future of Egyptian drama.
At the committee's third meeting on 3rd January, participants agreed that the TV channels will not sign a contract or broadcast any drama productions that have not previously received a permit from the TV censors of the General Directorate for the
Censorship of Artistic Works, a body that reviews the scripts of films and drama series and gives them permits to shoot.
In the past, the directorate had expressed dissatisfaction that the satellite channels did not care whether the series they aired had this permit or not, as the censorship body has no legal authority over the channels.
According to Ahmed Salim, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media, the new committee will set standards for drama producers in Egypt to abide by during the series-filled season of Ramadan 2018. Salim said
that the committee, studying the TV series aired during the last Ramadan, observed many violations such as offensive words and topics that are contrary to Egyptian customs and traditions. He claimed that these series ruined Egypt's image and that
is why the committee, which consisted of art critics, directors and members of the film sector's professional organizations, was formed to control these series.
Salim also stressed that the committee would not seek to censor the work of writers but cooperate with the TV channels to ensure that the drama series that violate the committee's criteria will not be aired. We aim to provide a clean screen that
will preserve the customs and traditions of Egyptian homes. We do not want any scenes of violence, drug use or any other bad examples, he said.
The Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media, formed in April 2016 by a presidential decree of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is authorized to fine or suspend broadcasts or temporarily close down TV channels that broadcast materials it
classifies as immoral or in violation of professional standards. In 2017, it suspended several TV programs and advertisements, some of which criticized the current regime's policy, including one that draws attention to difficulties of finding
clean water .