Egypt Watch

Masr Al-Arabia website closes after years of blocking and restrictions

Masr Al-Arabia published a statement informing readers and followers it is closing after it was launched seven years ago. The site has had many restrictions placed on it by the Egyptian authorities during these years.

The statement, signed by the site’s editor-in-chief, Adel Sabry, said that they were surprised that the website was blocked in Egypt four years ago. Since that time, the site’s administrators have lived difficult times to provide a distinguished professional media service. The statement indicated that after it was blocked the editor-in-chief was arrested and detained for about two and a half years.

During that time, work on the site stopped until some journalists insisted on continuing writing voluntarily in the hope that the state would finish legalising the status of websites in accordance with the constitution and law.

The statement added that after the editor-in-chief was released, the interviews with the head of the Journalists Syndicate and official correspondence with the National Media Authority did not stop in legal and friendly attempts to restore work on the site. He pointed out that those responsible for the site have endured hardships during the past eight months. Their efforts have not been crowned with success, as they only received repeated promises to return, so they quietly opted for closing.

Dozens of news and electronic sites in Egypt are facing the problem inside Egypt of being blocked, in addition to security prosecutions, closing websites, and preventing them from issuing licences to work, including international news agencies. The offices of news channels and websites have suffered from harassment and prosecution in Egypt since the military coup in Egypt in 2013, which prompted many of them to close their headquarters, conceal themselves and stop publishing.