When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in Cairo in 2009.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in Cairo in 2009.

CAIRO — The Egyptian government has blocked access to a total of 21 news and information websites since last Wednesday, including the original publisher of this article, Cairo-based Mada Masr. A security source cited by MENA, the country's official state news agency, said that the blocked websites were disseminating "content that supports terrorism and extremism and deliberately spreads lies."

These events are part of a longer and wider history of the state's attempt to control the Internet, a principal concern since the January 2011 revolution and one that has become apparent following the recent campaign of arrests made recently in connection with the administration of Facebook pages. The government is also currently preparing legislation to combat cyber crime.

Among the first wave of 17 websites that were blocked last Wednesday are two Egyptian outlets, Masr Al-Arabiya and the online edition of the weekly publication Al-Mesryoon. The list also includes some Qatari or Qatar-funded news outlets that support or are managed by the Muslim Brotherhood, principal among them Al Jazeera and Huffington Post Arabic, in addition to the official website for Palestinian political movement Hamas.

The Business News for Press, Publishing and Distribution Company, which owns both El-Borsa and DNE, issued a statement on Sunday that called the government shutdown "unjustified and with neither a notification nor explanation."

On Saturday and Sunday, the state extended the ban to financial newspapers Daily News Egypt (DNE) and El-Borsa. The list of blocked websites was also extended to secure internet browser Tor on Saturday. Business daily El-Borsa was printed and distributed on Sunday as usual. The English-language DNE website changed its domain in an attempt to bypass the blockage, but its new domain was subsequently blocked.

The Business News for Press, Publishing and Distribution Company, which owns both El-Borsa and DNE, issued a statement on Sunday that called the government shutdown "unjustified and with neither a notification nor explanation." The statement affirmed that the two newspapers "do not have any political or partisan or religious affiliations, nor do any of its employees, and have never been at any point a voice for any particular group, with the exception of the liberal editorial policy."

Head of the Journalists Syndicate Abdel Mohsen Salama told media outlets that he is preparing a memorandum to the higher council for media about the blockage of four Egyptian websites, two of which, Al-Mesryoon and El-Borsa issue print papers, and Mada Masr and Masr al-Arabiya.

The Egyptian government has not claimed responsibility for restricting access to the browser Tor, although it comes at the same time as the blocking of the news sites.

Tor allows users to improve security and privacy online and has been used to counter web blockages in other countries. The browser's website shows an increase in downloads from 1,300 to more than 2,000 in the four days following the blockages.

After the Turkish government blocked access to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in November of last year, the number of Tor users increased from 18,000 to 25,000 in one day.

Mada Masr has received several reports of interrupted access to the website through the same service providers at different times from different geographical locations within Egypt. This indicates that the blockage is decentralized through service providers rather than a centralized operation by the state. These providers include Orange, Vodafone and TE Data.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Geopolitics

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

Jair Bolsonaro bogus claims perform well online

Cris Faga/ZUMA
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ