Wed | May 22, 2019

Egypt tightens restrictions on media, social networks

Published:Tuesday | March 19, 2019 | 4:28 PM
AP photo

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s top media regulator on Tuesday put into effect tighter restrictions that allow the state to block websites and even social media accounts with over 5,000 followers if they are deemed a threat to national security.

The move is the latest step by the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to suppress dissent.

In recent years, Egypt has launched an unprecedented crackdown on reporters and the media, imprisoning dozens and occasionally expelling some foreign journalists.

The new regulations, published in the official gazette late Monday, allow the Supreme Media Regulatory Council to block websites and accounts for “fake news,” and impose stiff penalties of up to 250,000 Egyptian pounds, all without having to obtain a court order.

Prominent Egyptian journalists have called the measures unconstitutional, saying they grant far-reaching powers to authorities to censor the media, in violation of basic press freedoms.

Chief regulator Makram Mohammed Ahmed refused to comment.

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