Egypt: Great Firewall of China Coming Soon

Egyptian bloggers have one hand on their keyboard and another on their hearts. Following a recent crackdown on bloggers and online activists following the April 6 unrest, some are now predicting the worse is yet to come.

Tarek, at Not Gr33n Data, writes:

It's getting more and more fishy everyday, the Newspapers are attacking what they call “The Dark World of the Internet”, you may read Al-Ahram Newspaper's article here [Ar]. They are blaming the Egyptian people because they use the internet to … ehm … spread rumours, call for strikes, and post videos that may harm the Egyptian National Security!

You know what, I am getting more and more confident now, that the Government's next move will be filtering the Internet. I already had similar suspicions a long while ago, but now I am really afraid that they may start filtering the Internet here in Egypt very soon, they may block sites such as Facebook, because what's said that the April 6th General Strike was organized there. They may also block YouTube, and who knows what will they block next.

Seems that the Great Firewall of China is on its way to Egypt.

Mostafa Hussein [Ar], also from Egypt, is equally infuriated with the attack on online activists. He uses the same style the article was written in to discredit the credibility of newspapers and writes:

أكاذيب مفضوحة‏,‏ وألفاظ مطاطة‏,‏ وسب وقذف بلا حسيب ولا رقيب‏,‏ وأخبار كاذبة‏,‏ ودعوات للتشهير‏,‏ ومحاولات للوقيعة بين أبناء الشعب الواحد‏.‏ هذه هي الصورة السوداء للصحافة الرسمية في مصر حاليا للأسف الشديد‏,‏ والتي رسم سوادها قلة من السياسيين‏,‏ وإن كان هذا السواد يغطي حاليا علي أغلبية استخدامات هذه الوسيلة الإعلامية التي يفترض أنها أكثر عراقه ونظافة من هذا المستوي إلي الدرجة التي بات الأمر معها يستدعي وقفة من القراء ضد هذه الإساءات والانتهاكات الصارخة قبل المطالبة بتدخل الجهات الشعبية لإعادة التوازن إلي هذه المنطقة الخطرة علي المجتمع وعقلة واستقراره وحريته‏!‏
وعلي الرغم من أن مصر تفخر بأنها تملك أكبر عدد من قراء الصحف في المنطقة العربية‏,‏ فإنها عانت في الفترة الأخيرة إساءة استخدام السلطة لهذه الوسيلة‏,‏ حيث باتت جرائد الحكومية الشهيرة مثل الأهرام و الأخبار ساحة مناسبة يستغلها ضعاف النفوس للتضليل والكذب‏,‏ ولتبادل عبارات السب والقذف والتعليقات المبتذلة التي تسيء إلي مصر بالدرجة الأولي‏,‏ بل وتسيء إلي هذه الوسيلة المطبوعة الراقية التي يجيد الغرب المتحضر استخدامها بما ينفع مجتمعه‏,‏ وانتشرت حملات وهمية تكالب علي إطلاقها علي الصحف بعض السياسين المصريين المندفعين بحثا عن المال والكرسي‏,‏ وربما من المستترين خلف أسماء مستعارة أو وهمية‏,‏ بعضها يتضمن دعاوي تحريضية علي التخلف أو علي نشر الأكاذيب‏.‏

Easily exposed lies, flowery language, insults and slander, unfounded news, libel and attempts to create a rift between the citizens of one nation. This is the black picture of our Egyptian official Press unfortunately. Its blackness was painted by a few politicians, even though this darkness now covers most of the uses of this mass media which is supposed to be clean and rich. It has now become imperative for readers to take a stance to redress the imbalance in this dangerous medium on society, its stability and freedom!

Although Egypt prides itself with having the largest number of newspaper readers in the Arab world, it has recently suffered from abuse at the hands of the authorities of this medium. Famous government-run papers like Al Ahram and Al Akhbar have now become the suitable forum for those who mislead and lie, as well as for the exchange of slander and insults which harm Egypt particularly and this publication in general, while the civilised West continues to utilise this medium in a manner which benefits their society. Imaginary campaigns against newspapers have also been launched by some Egyptian politicians in search of money and power. They may perhaps be those hiding behind fake names – and who rally for spreading messages which encourage backwardness and spreading lies.


  • Forgot to mention – there an article on CircleID on the issue of online censorship and where (if at all) the policy issue should be discussed.

  • […] The Egyptian government, which has governed for 25 years under emergency law and doesn’t allow more than five people to gather unregistered, hit back hard, jailing young dissidents and torturing Ahmad Maher, a young activist who tried, unsuccessfully, to organise a second demonstration in early May. Despite these setbacks, the “Facebook movement” in Egypt is significant for several reasons. First, it challenges the perception that there is no prospect for independent, secular opposition in the country. The majority of Egyptians are under 30 and have known no ruler other than Mubarak. They have not seen real political parties because the government has long restricted opposition parties and free media. The Facebook movement engaged large numbers of youth for the first time. See also here. […]

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