Egypt president approves law tightening internet controls

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during a news conference in Cairo, Egypt December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool

 

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during a news conference after the talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Cairo, Egypt. Image courtesy: Reuters/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has signed off on a law tightening controls over the internet in the country, the official gazette said on Saturday.

The legislation on “cybercrime” allows authorities, through a judge, to order the blocking of websites that “constitute a threat” to Egypt’s national security or economy.

Those who administer or visit such websites, intentionally or “in error without a valid reason”, can now face jail time and fines. Such decisions can be appealed.

The law is one of a series of measures that rights groups complain are aimed at curbing freedom of expression online, with the internet one of the last forums for public debate over Sisi’s rule.

Egyptian lawmakers last month approved another bill that grants the state’s Supreme Council for Media Regulations the right to monitor social media users.