Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Enani announced in an interview on 18 July that Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, asked him to coordinate with the state authorities and state agencies to set laws permitting photography in streets and public spaces.
El-Enani added in the telephone interview with “El-Hekaya” program broadcast on MBC Egypt that three types of photography are to be explicitly permitted.
The first applies to Egyptians taking photos in public spaces, photography enthusiasts and finally, foreign residents in Egypt and tourists. El-Enani stressed that they will be able to take pictures in public without permits and that “no one will be allowed to ask you why you are filming in public”.
The second type are foreign reporters and news channels who will be required to obtain permits through the State Information Service. The Minister also stated on air that Diaa Rashwan, the current chairman of the State Information Service, will be in charge of setting rules and regulations for providing permits for reporters and news channels.
The third type, El-Anani continued, is specific to film producers and cinematographers. The Minister clarified that the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities sets the license fees for local cinematographers filming inside Egyptian archaeological and touristic sites to be at EGP 50,000 (USD 2,642) per month, while foreign cinematographers would be granted licenses at “EGP 150,000 (USD 7,925) per month”.
Concerning the question of filming near “unflattering” scenes or areas, El-Enani responded that he will “discuss it with the Council of Ministers for a clearer answer, however filming will be permitted, as long as they provide a license explaining why they are shooting in this area”. The Minister did not clarify how such provision of a ‘license’ is consistent with the new rules that apply to everyday people and visitors.
Over the past year, there have been several complaints regarding Egypt’s authorities, with reports of security forces confiscating cameras and film equipment from people in streets and interrogating them regarding licenses and permits.
In April, American food blogger Sonny Side, stated on his YouTube food and travel channel, ‘Best Ever Food Review Show’ (BEFRS), that “Egypt is one of worst places for filmmakers”. He added that Egyptian security personnel mistreated him, while filming Egyptian dishes, and confiscated their cameras and shut their filming down.
After receiving heavy backlash, El-Enani addressed these issues and the Council of Ministers’ decisions to rectify the situation and ease the restrictions regarding public filming, stating that this “is the type of photography we want to encourage”.
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