Egypt’s Online Repression Thwarts Both Growth and Democracy

Source: The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy

Author(s): Joey Shea

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After outlawing protests and slowly dominating traditional media, the Egyptian state has embarked upon a multipronged strategy aimed at completely controlling and curtailing digital spaces, including censorship through website blocking, arrests based on social media posts, hacking attempts against activists, and the legalization of these practices through a myriad of new draconian laws. The constitutional referendum in April provided further evidence of this trend and offers a warning for what may be to come. While Egypt’s government has boasted about plans to turn the country into a digital hub for Africa and the Middle East, the state’s proclivity for digital censorship belies such initiatives—to say nothing of the underlying freedoms denied by the state. The relentless censorship of opposition websites shows how even a small campaign is considered a significant threat, suggesting the current regime is both deeply insecure and internally conflicted.

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