Egypt’s top media regulator has put into effect tighter restrictions that allow the state to block websites and even social media accounts with over 5,000 followers if they are deemed a threat to national security, reports AP.
The new regulations, published in the official gazette late Monday, allow the Supreme Media Regulatory Council to block websites and accounts for “fake news,” and impose stiff penalties of up to 250,000 Egyptian pounds ($14,400), all without having to obtain a court order.
The nine-page document gave a broad list of prohibited topics, including “anything inciting violating the law, racism, intolerance, violence, discrimination between citizens or hatred.”
Media outlets that continue to publish “offending material” will be fined up to five million Egyptian pounds (around $298,000).
Prominent Egyptian journalists called the measures unconstitutional, saying they grant far-reaching powers to authorities to censor the media, in violation of basic press freedoms.