Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has ratified a new media law that critics say is a blow to pluralism and press freedom in the country.
The new law, approved by parliament and signed into law by Sisi , will see the creation of a Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media.
The body would revoke licences to foreign media and fine or suspend publications and broadcasters.
The council, whose chairman will be picked by Sisi, will create a list of penalties and sue media organisations that violate its regulations and fine outlets that break licence terms.
Chief of the press syndicate, Yehia Qalash told the Reuters News Agency that the law and the council were mostly concerned with administrative affairs and did not compromise media freedoms.
The press syndicate had earlier this month condemned the legislation as an infringement on the media.
“The law allows the executive power to take control of media outlets,” it said.
The new law comes amid rising concerns over press freedom in the country.
Over the past few years, Egyptian authorities have arrested several Al Jazeera employees, with some being accused of conspiring with “the devil” to destabilise the country.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 25 journalists have been imprisoned in Egypt in 2016, making it the world’s third-worst jailer of reporters after Turkey and China.