NGO websites latest targets of Egypt’s online clampdown

Responding to the news today that the Egyptian authorities have blocked access to the website of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s Head of Campaigns for North Africa said: “The decision to block access to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms website is the latest signal that the Egyptian authorities are determined to silence independent voices and stamp out online criticism of their human rights record.”

“In recent months the Egyptian authorities have cut off access to dozens of news websites with a wave of digital censorship, and now it looks like human rights NGOs are set to be the next target. Last month, access to the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, one of the oldest NGO websites in Egypt, was also blocked.

“Human rights groups in the country have already come under unprecedented attack through asset freezes and travel bans against their staff, and a draconian NGO law signed earlier this year which has imposed harsh restrictions on their work.

“Instead of arbitrarily censoring online websites the Egyptian authorities should stop lashing out against journalists, human rights groups and other online critics, and end their repressive clampdown on freedom of expression.”

According to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, access to an estimated 424 websites, including Egyptian news site Mada Masr and the freedom of information and press NGO, Reporters without Borders, has been blocked since May 2017.