Selangor Journal

Egypt bans 21 websites including Al Jazeera

SHAH ALAM, May 26, 2017: The Egyptian government has banned Al Jazeera’s main website and 20 other websites including the country’s leading local independent website, Mada Masr.
The Egyptian government’s news agency reported the ban yesterday as it was the first restriction openly acknowledged by the government which accused the website to be supporting terrorism and spreading false news. However the action drew criticsm from journalists and human rights groups.
The ban by the Egyptian government against Al Jazeera is believe to be emulating the action taken by its allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday, restrict the company’s website and other sites after a dispute with Qatar.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s representative said the hackers posted a false statement of Qatar’s Emir which allegedly criticized the United States foreign policy, however the Arab Saudi media and UAE also reported the comment.
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An employee of Egypt Telecom Regulatory Authority did not confirm or deny the restriction but said, “What if he’s right? It should not be a problem”.
Two security sources said 21 websites was blocked because of its association with Muslim Brotherhood which is banned or funded by Qatar, reports REUTERS.
Cairo accused Qatar in supporting the Brotherhood which was removed of power in Egypt when the military overthrew the elected president, Mohamed Mursi following mass protest against him in 2013.
The relationship between Qatar and Egypt severely affected after the fall of Mursi especially when Doha welcomed several of the Brotherhood senior figure although Qatar requested some of them to leave the country.
A Mada Masr journalist reported the website posted articles on Facebook and still accessible outside of Egypt or by proxy even though it has been blocked by the government.
“These restrictions clearly indicate the intention of the authorities to paralyzed the media that intercept the law” said lead author Mada Masr, Lina Attalah told Reuters today.
The website was registered in Egypt and journalists based in the country, but so far the government has not contacted management Mada Masr before or after it is inaccessible.
For Mahmoud Kamel who is on the board of the union official Egyptian newspaper said, the government has banned 21 websites was clearly an attack on freedom of speech.
“It is unacceptable and we are opposed to any restrictions on news websites. This action is part of the climate of fear experiencing in Egypt, “he said.

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