Egyptian ministry tells imams to obtain ‘written consent’ before TV appearances, social media debates

Al-Azhar Mosque in the old city of Cairo, Egypt. (Reuters)
Updated 18 February 2018
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Egyptian ministry tells imams to obtain ‘written consent’ before TV appearances, social media debates

CAIRO: The Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) has ordered imams to avoid appearing on broadcasters without “a written permission” from the ministry, a newspaper report said Sunday.
The decision also prevents imams from engaging in religious-related debates on social media platforms without the ministry’s consent, according to El-Wattan newspaper.
“All Awqaf employees should not take part in any [Islamic] jurisprudence or preaching debates on any program, nor address controversial religious topics or issues of public interest through media or social networking channels, without obtaining written consent from the ministry,” the statement said.
“Those who violate this will expose themselves to legal accountability and the ministry’s ethics committee will take the necessary measures,” it added.
Earlier in November, a media regulatory body agreed with Egypt’s Al-Azhar Islamic Institution to create a list of 50 scholars who will solely be ones allowed to issue fatwas on broadcasting outlets.
The media regulator said the step was aimed at curbing “massive chaos” caused by “unusual religious edicts” issued by imams on satellite channels.


Vietnam jails activist for anti-government posts on Facebook

Updated 25 September 2018
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Vietnam jails activist for anti-government posts on Facebook

  • The conviction comes as communist authorities step up a crackdown on dissent
  • Some 97 activists were in jail as of April this year, according to Amnesty International

HANOI, Vietnam: A court in southern Vietnam has sentenced an activist to 27 months in prison for Facebook posts that judges say insulted the ruling Communist Party and government and called for anti-government protests.
Doan Khanh Vinh Quang, 42, was convicted “abuse of democratic freedom to infringe on the legitimate interests of the state” by the People’s Court in Ninh Kieu District in Can Tho province after a one-day trial Monday, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
The agency quoted judges as saying Quang’s actions “actively abetted hostile and reactionary forces from inside and outside the country” who want to overthrow the party and government.
Court officials were not available for comment Tuesday.
The conviction comes as communist authorities step up a crackdown on dissent. Quang was third activist to be jailed in a week on similar charges.
On Saturday, Nguyen Hong Nguyen and Truong Dinh Khang, were convicted of insulting the Communist Party and its leaders, including late founding President Ho Chi Minh, and sentenced to two years and one year respectively in separate cases in Can Tho province.
Despite sweeping economic reforms over the past 30 years that opened Vietnam to foreign investment and trade that made it one of fastest growing economies in the region, the Communist Party tolerates no challenge to its one-party rule.
Some Western governments and international human rights groups criticize Vietnam for jailing people for peacefully expressing their views. Hanoi says only lawbreakers are put behind bars.
Some 97 activists were in jail as of April this year, according to Amnesty International.