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Egypt's Media Bill May Bring Demise of Small, Online Outlets

FILE - Egyptian photojournalists hold their cameras during a silent protest against preventing them by the officials from covering the Egyptian Premier League derby soccer match, west of Alexandria, Egypt, on February 9, 2016.

Egyptian journalists say a new draft bill regulating the media will likely bring the demise of dozens of low-budget, online media outlets.

Planning Minister Ashraf el-Araby announced the government's adoption of the long-awaited bill on Monday. It will be sent to parliament for final approval.

The bill sets conditions for starting up media outlets, including the creation of a shareholding company with a minimum initial capital of 500,000 pounds (about $50,000), a sum that is far beyond the reach of the typically young entrepreneurs and journalists behind such enterprises.

Doaa Sultan, editor of the independent online media site "Plus 18,'' described the bill Wednesday as a "disaster.'' Plus 18, like others like it, serves as an outlet for young and liberal writers at a time of eroding freedoms in Egypt.