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Egypt’s Parliament Passes Law Targeted at Social Media Users

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Not long after Uganda began levying social media use in the country, the Egyptian parliament has followed this path by passing a law giving the state powers to block social media accounts.

Under the law, social media accounts and blogs with more than 5,000 followers on sites such as Twitter and Facebook will be treated as media outlets, which makes them subject to prosecution for publishing false news or incitement to break the law.

The Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media, headed by an official appointed by President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, will supervise the law and take action against violations.

The bill prohibits the establishment of websites without obtaining a license from the Supreme Council and allows it to suspend or block existing websites, or impose fines on editors.

The law, which takes effect after it is ratified by Sissi, also states that journalists can only film in places that are not prohibited.

Hundreds of news sites and blogs have been blocked in recent months and around a dozen people have been arrested this year and charged with publishing false news, many of them journalists or prominent government critics.

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