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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Egypt tightens media regulations

Egypt’s stringent new media regulations are the talk of the international press this morning: The AP reports that the Supreme Media Council published late yesterday new regulations for media and social media platforms that would permit the government to block, without a court order, media sites and social media accounts with over 5k followers if they are deemed a threat to national security, Critics of the regulations say they overstep the bounds of the Press and Media Act passed in July 2018. The new regulations stipulate blocks and fines of up to EGP 250k for websites and accounts found guilty of spreading “fake news.” The nine-page document described a broad list of offensive topics, including “anything inciting violating the law, racism, intolerance, violence, discrimination between citizens or hatred.” The news is being picked up widely, with both The Hill and RT noting it.

Other headlines worth a brief skim:

  • Egyptian ports were struggling to handle the 3 mn tonnes of thermal coal we imported last year, according to energy markets information provider Montel (paywall).
  • More Belt and Road (BRI) promotion in Chinese state media: Xinhua picks up comments made by Planning Minister Hala El Saeed, who told a conference that the Suez Canal Economic Zone is “fully integrated” with the BRI.
  • Alaa Al-Aswany: The charges brought against novelist Alaa Al-Aswany of insulting the president, the army and the judiciary is receiving attention in the foreign press, with both the Guardian and Deutsche Welle covering the story.
  • The Anti-Terrorism Law: Al Monitor delves into the proposed amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Law.
  • Human rights: Human Rights Watch called on Egyptian authorities to “reveal the whereabouts” of former MP Mostafa al-Nagar, who has been missing for five months.
  • Egypt’s “historic Wafd party” has been “eclipsed” under the Sisi administration, French wire service AFP writes.

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