Khaled El-Balshy Elected as Head of the Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate

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Khaled El-Balshy Elected as Head of the Syndicate of Egyptian Journalists

Egyptian journalist Khaled El-Balshy was elected head of the Egyptian Journalist Syndicate (EJS) on Friday, March 17, according to the Judicial Committee that oversees the mid-term elections of the Synod of Journalists.

El-Bashy won, receiving a total of 2,450 out of 5,062 eligible votes against his opponent Khaled Miri, editor-in-chief of the nationally owned news outlet, Al-Akhbar Al-Youm, who received 2,211. 51 candidates competed during the election; 11 candidates ran for the head of the syndicate, and 40 candidates ran for council seats.

His campaign focused on restoring independent journalism in Egypt. He said the main objective of his campaign is to “liberate the Egyptian press industry from the control of the monopoly powers and regain the independence and freedom of the syndicate,” he told El-Bashy.

El-Balshy is a prominent figure in the Egyptian journalistic world. He worked for Rosa Al-Youssef newspaper from 1998 to 2005, and served as Vice President of Al-Dustour newspaper from 2005 to 2006. He was editor-in-chief of Al-Badeel newspaper from 2007 to 2012, and is currently the editor-in-chief of Darba news outlet affiliated with the opposition Popular Socialist Movement Party, whose access is blocked inside Egypt.

In his campaign, he also discussed the salaries of journalists, where the starting monthly salary of a recent graduate can be as low as EGP 1,158 (USD 38), and sometimes does not go beyond EGP 5,181 (USD 170) at retirement age, or after 30 years of service. He stressed the importance of increasing salaries to match the Central Bank of Egypt’s recent core inflation rate, which showed inflation jumped as high as 40 percent in February.

His plan also includes increasing the syndicate’s financial allowance by 40 percent in line with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s new packages of social support measures, including social support measures such as wage increases, pension increases, and tax breaks.

For many journalists in Egypt, the election of El-Balshy as head of an independent news outlet against a government candidate brings a wave of hope and freshness.

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