Blocking of websites in Egypt has continued with the ban of the revolutionary socialists’ website on Tuesday, along with five VPN websites on Monday and the online publishing platform “Medium” on Saturday.
The blocked VPN websites are Tunnelbear, Cyberghost, Hotspot Shield Elite VPN (Hsselite), Tigervpn and Zenvpn.
Yanair Gate, Al Bedaiah and El Badil news sites have been blocked raising the number of blocked websites to 65, according to the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).
In a span of 3 weeks, an unknown body gradually blocked news websites including independent news website “Mada Masr” and the privately-owned Daily News Egypt.
“Sasa Post” was also blocked on Saturday, with the authority that is responsible for the blocking measure remains unknown.
Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns director Najia Bounaim said that the recent clampdown on Egypt’s digital media is a further evidence of Egypt’s age-old police state tactics in motion. She added that even in the darkest days of Mubarak, which she described as repressive, the authorities didn’t cut off access to all independent news websites.
During the period from 24 May to 11 June, several websites that are licensed to work in Egypt have been blocked.
The blockade measure is considered by rights groups unconstitutional, as it violates Article 57 stipulating the freedom of media and public’s right to know and to access information.
The websites were banned on claims of “supporting terrorism”.
A few days following the ban, access to several websites was enabled through multiple Internet Service Providers. However, they were banned again shortly after.
During blocking tests, it was indicated that there might be Internet monitoring through Vodafone network, according to AFTEs report.
Several members of the press syndicate, including Amr Badr, voiced their opposition to the ban decision, stressing that it is an attack on media and its freedom.