Faiek questions basis for recent decision to block websites

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Chairman of the National Council of Human Rights (NCHR) Mohammed Faiek said Sunday to Daily News Egypt that the council was concerned about the expansion of recent decisions by the state to block several news websites.

The number of blocked news websites in Egypt reportedly reached 56 on Sunday, according to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).

“We do not criticize the decision of blocking websites, but we are concerned with the right of access to information and we should know on which basis this decision was made,” he explained, adding: “Is this part of the state of emergency or the terrorism law? This must be clear.”

The council had earlier demanded clarification on the reasons why websites were blocked and the official announcement of their names, adding that the affected parties could not appeal the decision since it was not officially announced, according to a press statement.

“Although emergency law of 1958 allows shutting down print houses and means of expression and promotion and since the announcement of state of emergency since 10 April 2017, such decision should be taken with integrity and announced criteria,” the statement read.

On May 24th, 21 state owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported the blockage of 21 news websites “according to a high ranked official,” for “spreading lies” and “supporting terrorism.”

The websites included the Qatari Al-Jazeera, and any other sites allegedly operated by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group, this included several Egyptian news websites.

The official authority blocking the websites remains anonymous, according to AFTE.

In April, a state of emergency was announced, following two churches bombing on Palm Sunday in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria.

 

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