Egypt YouTube block to be decided in September

A Cairo court will give a ruling on blocking YouTube in September. (File/AFP)
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Updated 27 July 2020

Egypt YouTube block to be decided in September

  • YouTube is the second-most used social media platform in Egypt
  • In June 2018 Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court ruled to block the platform temporarily for 30 days

DUBAI: A Cairo court will give a ruling on blocking YouTube in September.

In June 2018 Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court ruled to block the platform temporarily for 30 days. The decision was in response to a lawsuit filed by lawyer Mohamed Hamid Salem in 2013 against a video called “Innocence of Muslims,” which was originally published in 2012 on YouTube and denigrated Prophet Muhammad.

In 2013, a lower administrative court had ordered that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology block YouTube, but the case was appealed and its ruling stayed during the appeal process. 

The ministry at the time said it would be impossible to enforce the ruling without also disrupting Google’s search engine, incurring potentially huge costs and job losses in the Arab world’s most populous country, Reuters news agency reported.

YouTube is the second-most used social media platform in Egypt.


Hong Kong journalists protest new accreditation rules

Updated 24 September 2020

Hong Kong journalists protest new accreditation rules

  • The rules outlined in a Tuesday letter from police have been criticized as a further erosion of the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s once robust press freedoms
  • Only journalists registered with the Government News and Media Information Service or members of ‘internationally recognized and reputable’ foreign media will be recognized

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s professional journalism association on Thursday protested new rules restricting who can provide press coverage during demonstrations, saying the government has no right to determine who is or isn’t a reporter.
The rules outlined in a Tuesday letter from police have been criticized as a further erosion of the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s once robust press freedoms since Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law in June that has had a chilling effect on political speech.
Only journalists registered with the Government News and Media Information Service or members of “internationally recognized and reputable” foreign media outlets will be recognized as journalists during protests, according to the police letter.
That appears to undercut the authority of the Hong Kong Journalists Association and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association to vet candidates for membership and issue press cards, placing that right solely in the hands of government officials, as is the case in mainland China.
“Police cannot be permitted to use administrative means to screen only officially recognized media, thus undermining the fundamental rights of the people of Hong Kong,” the Hong Kong Journalists Association said in a statement.
In their letter, the police said their goal is to weed out troublemakers posing as journalists who they say disrupted police action against protesters over several months of sometimes violent anti-government demonstrations.
“Following the amendment, the definition of ‘media representatives’ will become clearer and unequivocal, allowing front-line officers to efficiently and swiftly verify the identity of media representatives so that facilitation can be provided without compromising police operational efficiency,” the police letter said.
The regulations leave it to the police to determine what media outlets are “internationally recognized and reputable” and could discriminate against freelancers and independent and student journalists, who often work alone with minimal equipment and infrastructure.
Hong Kong has dropped steadily in Reporters Without Borders annual World Press Freedom Index, falling seven places this year to 80.
Hong Kong’s press freedom “is already in retreat as a result of pressure from Beijing,” the group said, citing among cases the expulsion of Financial Times Asia editor Victor Mallet in October 2018 after he chaired an even at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong that was condemned by Beijing.