EGYPT, AUGUST 18, 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 on 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.
He said that the “digital blackout’’ in Egypt was not just a grave attack on freedom of information, but also indicative of fear of the regime that an informed public could pose a threat to its stability.
RSF said its website had 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 organization which has been tracking affected sites.
Since May 24, 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 censor and confiscating of publications, monitoring and intercepting all communication, closing any facility and restricting any citizen’s freedom of movement.