The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project has been blocked in Egypt banning access from phone to international media outlets such as New York Times, CNN and The Guardian.
AMP is “an open source initiative that makes it easy for publishers to create mobile-friendly content and have it load instantly everywhere,” according to AMP website.
With the ongoing blockade on websites, news websites resort to alternative ways to proceed with content publishing. MadaMasr reported that it uses AMP as an alternative platform to proceed with publishing since the blockade on May 24, 2017.
The total number of blocked websites has risen to 496 including VPN sites according to a report by Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).
On 24 May 2017, Egyptian authorities started blocking news websites, VPN sites, websites of non-profit organizations and personal blogs of journalists on alleged claims of “supporting terrorism”.
Blocked media includes independent news website Mada Masr, the privately-owned Daily News Egypt, Qatar-owned news agencies Al-Jazeera among many others.
Some of the most prominent NGOs are the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) and Human Rights Watch website. Among the blocked VPN websites are Tunnelbear, Cyberghost, Hotspot Shield Elite VPN (Hsselite), Tigervpn and Zenvpn.
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, according to a previous report by Egyptian Streets.
There has been no official announcement or clarification from any telecommunications entities regarding the blockade.
The blockade measure is considered unconstitutional as it violates Article 57 stipulating the freedom of media and public’s right to know and to access information.