Egypt In Move Towards Internet Censorship, Likely To Ban Porn Sites

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from www.itweb.co.za – Censoring pornographic Web sites could become part of another crackdown on Internet freedoms in Egypt.

Initial steps to completely block adult online content in the North African country are being undertaken by its military government, the Egypt Independent has reported.

Mohamed Salem [pictured], minister of telecommunications and information technology, said a committee to discuss methods of Internet porn censorship is to be set up by the country’s telecommunications and regulatory authority.

In January last year, Egyptian protesters used social media Web sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to help mobilise uprisings that led to the ousting of then president Hosni Mubarak. However, the revolution did not stop Egypt’s military courts throughout 2011 from trying approximately 12 000 civilians, including bloggers and social media activists, according to a report by the Electronic Frontier Organisation.

And the country’s government is now shifting the focus of its Web content clampdown to porn.

“Parliament will be represented in the committee,” Salem reportedly said on the sidelines of a conference. “The issue is becoming persistent and worrying to families.”
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Calls to block pornography Web sites have also come from conservative sectors of Egyptian society.

Member of Parliament Dr Younis Makhioun last month said in a television interview that access to pornography leads to divorce and rape.

Egypt would be the latest country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to block online pornography, as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have similar bans.

Meanwhile, moves to control the Internet in Egypt also come amid ongoing political tension. The Muslim Brotherhood’s efforts to shape Egypt’s political future resulted in a confrontation yesterday with both the ruling military and liberals who are angry at what they say are Islamist attempts to dominate the country, Reuters reported.

Liberals are said to have quit the 100-person body tasked with writing the country’s new constitution in protest at what they said were Islamist attempts to control the process.

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