Thursday,20 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1358, (24 August - 6 September 2017)
Thursday,20 June, 2019
Issue 1358, (24 August - 6 September 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Regulating TV

The Higher Council for Media Regulation is establishing an agency to oversee TV ratings, reports Mohamed Abdel-Baky


Ahmed presides over the HCMR meeting this week
Ahmed presides over the HCMR meeting this week

The Higher Council for Media Regulation (HCMR) announced last week that it will create an agency to assess TV ratings and viewer figures.

The new agency will conduct surveys of viewers and oversee media development research services, says HCMR Chairman Makram Mohamed Ahmed.

The Ministry of Communications will provide the HCMR with technical assistance to establish the agency which will be staffed by representatives from the government, judicial authorities, the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics and the National Telecom Regulatory Authority, said Ahmed.

The private sector will be allowed to enter the TV rating field at a later date, though it will be bound by regulations set by the HCMR and the new agency.

“The new agency will serve as an umbrella and role model for private TV rating companies. The agency will also supervise their performance according to a code of ethics it will create,” Ahmed said.

The HCMR, Ahmed explained, will create a committee mandated to licence private TV rating and media research companies and monitor their research. 

A simmering controversy over TV ratings and TV viewership figures spilled over following the closure of the Cairo office of leading market research company Ipsos. Ipsos had been dogged by complaints from TV channels that its audience data figures were inaccurate. Ipsos is headquartered in France.

Following Ipsos’ closure private companies were banned from compiling TV viewing figures in Egypt.

“Many surveys of TV programmes undertaken were not conducted on a scientific basis. As a result fears grew that these surveys benefited some parties and harmed others, damaging the integrity of the media,” Ahmed told Al-Ahram Weekly in a phone interview.

HCMR was established as a replacementfor the Ministry of Information. Though its mandate is to regulate and organise the media market, most of the decisions it has made focus on media monitoring.

Two weeks ago HCMR suspended two TV presenters for airing material which it claimed encouraged extra-marital affairs.The decision sparked controversy among media professionals given HCMR has yet to announce a code of conduct for domestic media outlets.  

Under Media Law 92/2016 the council is responsible for ensuring all media outlets abide by professional standards and do not compromise national security.

Under article four of the law the council sets and enforces rules and standards for the press, the media and advertisers in coordination with the relevant syndicates.

Under the 2014 constitution the council is responsible for ensuring media outlets meet the required standards of professionalism and is the only authority authorised to licence broadcast and electronic media outlets. With other concerned authorities it is mandated to oversee the sources of financing of media outlets to ensure transparency and legality, receive and investigate complaints of libel or invasion of privacy and grant permission to representatives of foreign newspapers and information agencies to work in Egypt.

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