There are two main laws and a ministerial decree that govern the censorship on audio and audio-video works as follows:
- Law No. 430 of 1955 concerning censorship on movies, magic lantern slides, songs, plays, monologues, discs and sound recording tapes (the “Law 430 of 1955”) and its Executive Regulation as amended;
- Child Law No. 12 of 1996 (the “Child Law”) and its Executive Regulation as amended; and
- The Ministry of Media and Culture’s Decree No. 220 of 1976 concerning the basic principles of censorship on audio and audio-video works in Egypt (the “Censorship Principles”).
According to Article 2 of Law 430 of 1955, it is prohibited to distribute, rent and/or sell, by any mean, directly or indirectly, any of audio or audio-video works without obtaining authorization from the Ministry of Culture.
In this regard, according to Article 2 of the Executive Regulation of Law 430 of 1995, the General Department of Censorship on Audio Video Works (the “Department”) of the Ministry of Culture is the competent authority having the power to authorise the distribution, rental and/or sell of any audio and/or audio-video works.
However, the authorization of the Department must be issued in compliance with the provisions of the Censorship Principles.
In this regard, according to the Censorship Principles, the Mandatory Rating System that is currently applicable in Egypt may be summarized as follows (the “Mandatory Rating System”):
For children under sixteen (16) years of age, it is prohibited to grant an authorization to publish, show, circulate, rent or sell to children under 16 years of age any audio or audio-video work that contains one or more of the following: (i) intense violence; (ii) crimes; (iii) sexual situations; (iv) suggestive dialogue; and (v) coarse or crude language.
For children under twelve (12) years of age, it is strictly prohibited to grant an authorization to publish, show, circulate, rent or sell to children under 12 years of age any audio or audio-video work that contains (i) violence and/or (ii) sexual situations.
In addition to the Mandatory Rating System, the Child Law stipulates a number of supplemental provisions to the Mandatory Rating System that must be taken into consideration while authorizing to publish, show, circulate, rent or sell audio and/or audio-video works to children who have not reached eighteen (18) years of age as follows:
Article 89 “It shall be prohibited to publish, show, or circulate any printed material or audio or visual productions on children’s that addresses basic instincts or beautifies behavior contrary to the society values, or leads them to delinquency. Without prejudice to any stronger penalty in any other law, any person violating the provisions of the previous paragraph shall be penalized with a fine of not less than one hundred (100) Egyptian pounds and not more than five hundred (500) Egyptian pounds, along with the confiscation of the printed material or audio or visual productions that are the subject matter of the violation.”
Article 90 “The terms and regulations set forth by the By-laws shall determine the movies that are prohibited for display before children in cinemas and similar public places. The directors of movie theaters and similar public places – as shall be determined by a decree of the Minister of Culture – those exploiting these places, show organizers, and people responsible for admitting the public are forbidden to allow children to enter these places, or allow them to view the movie or show if it is forbidden to children, as shall be decided by the appropriate authorities. It shall also be prohibited to bring along children when entering to view these shows.”
Article 91 “The directors of movie theaters and similar public places shall announce at the movie theater and in all their advertising that the show is prohibited to children. Such announcements shall be very explicit, clear and in Arabic language”.
Article 92 “Without prejudice to any stronger penalty stated in any other law, any person violating the provisions of Article 90 of this Law shall be penalized with a fine of not less than fifty (50) Egyptian pounds, and not exceeding one hundred (100) Egyptian pounds, for every child. Also, any person violating the provisions of Article 91 of this Law shall be penalized with a fine of not less than fifty (50) Egyptian pounds and not more than five hundred (500) Egyptian pounds”.