RSF: Web Site Blocked in Egypt

Says it happened soon after it wrote about imprisoned photojournalist

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says Egyptian's access to the RSF web site has been blocked in that country since Aug. 14. Ironically, the web site is devoted to news about media freedom violations, with that news in a number of languages including Arabic.

The site is blocked from all ISPs there including Vodafone, Orange, Etisalat and state-owned Tedata, RSF said.

RSF said the officials it has talked to profess not to know why it is being blocked or who ordered it.

Egypt’s National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said it was not responsible for the blocking.

"This is the first time that the RSF site has been blocked in Egypt,” said Alexandra El Khazen, head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “This extensive digital blackout in Egypt is not just a grave attack on freedom of information. It [is] also indicative of a fear on the part of the regime that an informed public could pose a threat to its stability.”

RSF said Egypt's Supreme Council for Media has said it will investigate RSF's blocking if RSF requests it, but if past is prologue, it could have a long wait for an answer, it suggested.

The group noted that the site was blocked not long after it uploaded a story saying that photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid (also called Shawkan) had just marked four years of what RSF called "illegal and arbitrary" detention.

(Photo via Rock1997Image taken on Jan. 18, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 16x9 aspect ratio.)