Egypt blocks website of media watchdog Reporters Without Borders

21.08.2017

Egypt has blocked the website of international media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) as the country continues censorship measures in place since May. The Paris-based group said Friday that it was "dismayed" by the ban and called on authorities to "provide an explanation and to restore access to all blocked sites without delay."

"This is the first time that the RSF site has been blocked in Egypt," said Alexandra El Khazen, head of RSF's Middle East desk.

"This extensive digital blackout in Egypt is not just a grave attack on freedom of information. It is also indicative of a fear on the part of the regime that an informed public could pose a threat to its stability," she added.

RSF said its website has been blocked since Monday. At least 135 websites have been blocked, according to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, an Egyptian non-governmental organisation which has been tracking affected sites.

Since 24 May, Egypt has blocked access to  independent news websites and Islamist-affiliated platforms.

The government has not officially declared that it is behind the ban. A press officer at the National Telecom Regulatory Authority told RSF that the authority was not responsible for the blocking, the watchdog group said.

Egypt declared a state of emergency in April, following a twin attack on churches that killed almost 50 people.

The emergency law grants the president special powers that include censoring and confiscating publications, monitoring and intercepting all communication, closing any facility and restricting any citizen's freedom of movement.    (dpa)

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