Egypt should stop blocking access to rights organizations' websites

August 18, 2017 12:52 PM ET

A computer in an internet cafe in Cairo displays an error message in this December 2, 2008, file photo. (Reuters/Amr Dalsh)

Washington, D.C., August 18, 2017 - Egyptian authorities should immediately stop blocking access to the website of the international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF, for its French acronym) and the Egyptian group the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Internet users in Egypt have been unable to access RSF's website since August 14, RSF reported yesterday. ANHRI on August 16 reported that its site and that of RSF were among 127 websites blocked in the country.

"Egypt's government has moved from trying to censor any criticism to trying to censor any criticism of that censorship," CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said. "Blocking access to the websites of RSF and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information is an outrage and should be immediately reversed."

In yesterday's statement, Alexandra El Khazen, the head of RSF's Middle East desk, said it was the first time that access to RSF's site had been blocked. "The broad digital blackout imposed in Egypt is not only a grave attack on freedom of information, it also reveals a regime's fear of seeing an informed population," El Khazen said.

Egyptian authorities began blocking access to news websites in May, according to news reports and human rights groups.

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