Egypt Watch

AFTE calls on Egypt authorities to stop blocking digital media

July 31, 2019 

The Freedom of Thought and Expression Foundation (AFTE), a law firm based in Cairo, released its quarterly report on the state of freedom of expression in Egypt on Monday, in which it reported numerous violations including against political organisation, expression and violations of journalists and media.

In its report on the period April to June 2019, the AFTE evaluated the public policies of state institutions towards the right to freedom of expression and freedom of information. The report also relied on the presentation and analysis of documented violations.

The report criticised the Egyptian authorities’ arrest of politicians after they held consultative meetings on the Alliance of Hope, through which secular opposition parties and the parliamentary bloc 25-30 Alliance were selecting candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Since the Egyptian authorities’ acquisition of media companies such as CBC and ON TV and other production companies and advertising agencies, the Egyptian media has been described as the “main tool” used by security agencies to tighten control over media ownership.

The report monitored 17 incidents of violations against media freedom and 21 violations against journalists and media personnel, ranging from physical assaults to shutting down newspapers, stopping programmes from being aired, preventing newspapers from being printed, preventing journalists from covering stories, and blocking media sites.

According to the report, the number of blocked sites in Egypt has increased to 529 since the Egyptian authorities began the practice in May 2017.

The report also monitored the regular activity of arresting social media users.

At the end of its report, the AFTE called on Egyptian authorities to abide by international conventions that protect freedom of expression and the circulation of information, and to stop blocking media sites and censoring newspapers.