Over the past four years, Egypt has witnessed an increase in the brutal repression of press freedom under the regime of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. The government has effectively silenced dissent by disrupting or blocking media websites and jailing dozens of journalists.
Targeting journalists with the charge of publishing “false news,” the authorities conduct routine arrest and detention of journalists for their critical reporting, leading to widespread self-censorship in the country. The authorities often enforce media licensing laws discriminately and have weaponised the licensing regime to crack down on media organisations deemed “troublesome.”
In total disregard for Article 71 of Egypt’s Constitution which prohibits censorship and the shutdown of media houses, the Egyptian authorities have embarked on a mass blocking of news websites, with an estimated 500 websites affected.
In a report highlighting the dismal press freedom situation in Egypt, by the Accra-based African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), also denounced “a new draconian legislation” which grants the newly constituted Supreme Media Council the power to ban or suspend the distribution, broadcast, or operation of any publications or newspapers without judicial authorisation. Read the full report here.