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Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Egypt’s House moves to pass “anti-rumor” law

LEGISLATION WATCH- Parliament is a step closer to making rumormongering a criminal offense: House of Representatives Speaker Ali Abdel Aal has referred to the general assembly the proposed “anti-rumor law,” which was drafted by his deputy Soliman Wahdan, Al Shorouk reports. The legislation would introduce prison sentences of between six months and three years and fines of up to 100k for those found guilty of spreading disinformation. It’s not clear when the House will begin discussing the bill, whether it will first be referred to committee for debate, or when it will be put up for a vote.

How does parliament plan to identify “fake” news? The three-article bill would set up a cabinet-supervised body to identify, track, and address rumors and disinformation, a role we understand is already fulfilled by cabinet’s Information Decision Support Center (IDSC). The legislation is silent on how the government will actually determine what is “fake,” and doesn’t specify the powers that the supervisory body will have beyond “taking legal action internally and externally.”

Also from yesterday’s session: The House has signed off on 49 recommendations from MPs and passed them on to the Madbouly government for consideration. Many of the recommendations had to do with education and youth development. They include installing cameras in school classrooms to monitor teacher performance, exempting poor families from tuition fees, and renovating, expanding, or extending funds to youth centers (state-sponsored sporting clubs). Al Shorouk has the full list.

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