Egypt has joined the list of African country regulating the use of Social media. Egyptian Parliament passed the bill to regulate and treat social media accounts with more than 5000 followers as media outlets, citing security and the rise of fake news as reasons for the new law.
Recall that we reported that the Ugandan government has started collecting tax on the use of social media in the country.
The law will be regulated by the Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media and will be subjected to media laws that criminalize the spread of fake news. Additionally, the regulatory body can now block websites and also, they can file criminal complaints against those that are “inciting people to violate laws” and those that are deemed to “cause defamation against individuals and religions.”
In 2015, the country passed legislation that made it a crime to publish or share news stories that went against the government’s official statements and these new laws, are vehemently opposed by those who see them as ways for the government to suppress criticism and control the media. “These proposed laws would increase the Egyptian government’s already broad powers to monitor, censor and block social media and blogs, as well as criminalize content that violates vaguely defined political, social or religious norms,” Amnesty International’s Najia Bounaim was quoted to have said.
Amnesty International says that Egyptian authorities have already blocked 500 websites over the past year and the Wall Street Journal reports that the government has arrested a number of journalists, researchers, and critics for charges that range from a disturbing public order to spreading false news.
Earlier this year, Malaysia passed a law that criminalized the spread of fake news. A legislation that, just weeks after it was implemented, resulted in a one-month prison sentence for a Danish citizen. Those found to be in violation of the law can face up to six years in prison and a fine of up to 500,000 ringgits (approximately $124,000).
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