Cairo: The Egyptian parliament has approved a draft law criminalising the recording of criminal trials without prior permission, a step aimed at protecting defendants and claimants, local media reported.
The amendment, drafted by the government, provides for banning filming, taking photos and recording as well as broadcasting or showing court hearings of criminal cases without permission from the presiding judge, public prosecution and approval of the parties concerned.
Violations are punishable by a fine ranging from 100,000 (Dh23,529) to 300,000 Egyptian pounds along with confiscating the devices used in the offence.
The assembly’s legislative committee said that the amendment conforms to the constitution stipulating that the defendant is innocent until proven otherwise through a fair trial.
The government also defended the amendment.
“The draft law criminalising filming the criminal trials without permission consecrates the idea that the accused is innocent until proven guilty and the amendment prevents also defaming the victim,” Minister of Legislative Assemblies Ala Fouad.
He added that the amendment also provides protection for witnesses in such cases. The restriction comes after reports about court hearings appeared on social media in a way deemed harmful to defendants and claimants.