PFIF Concerns About Egyptian Law Represents Additional Restriction On Public Freedoms

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PARIS – Paris Francophone Institute for Freedoms(PFIF)  expressed its deep concern about a controversial law on “cyber-crimes ” issued by the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi that represents an additional restriction on public freedoms.

PFIF stataed  in a press release that the issuance of the new law comes at a time when the Egyptian authorities continue to violate freedoms, especially on Internet and social media platforms

Pursuant to the new law, the Egyptian authorities can close any site that considers its content to be a “threat to national security” or “jeopardises the country’s national economy”, which is a loose charge that increases the security grip on public freedoms.

PFIF pointed out that the Egyptian authorities has already closed more than 500 news sites or NGOs in Egypt, and provides for a year’s imprisonment and a fine for “anyone who deliberately or unintentionally commits a specific site, account, or information system that is forbidden to enter, in order to destroy, erase or change Or copy or republish data on that site or private account. “

The law also provides for two years’ imprisonment and a fine of one hundred thousand pounds “for anyone who has established, managed or used a special site or account on a computer network to commit or facilitate the commission of a crime punishable by law.”

It also provides for imprisonment if the offences referred to are aimed at “disrupting public order or endangering the safety and security of society or harming the national security or economic status of the country.”

PFIF expressed its deep concern of  the law in Egypt at a time when the country has seen recently arbitrary arrests of dozens of Internet users and bloggers who are known for criticising the government on loose charges such as belonging to “banned groups” or spreading “fake information”.

The the law is aimed at imposing greater control on the media and emphasises the control of the authorities on sites, blogs and individuals who use social sites on a large scale.

PFIF stressed that the frequent government claim in Egypt to fight so-called terrorism and extremism should not be a justification for arbitrary arrests and additional restrictions on the freedom of opinion and expression and public freedoms, and this has been legislated by authoritarian laws in contravention of international conventions and laws.

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