Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a new anti-terrorism law on Sunday aimed at boosting police and judicial powers (AFP Photo/Attila Kisbenedek)
Cairo (AFP) – Under pressure from a jihadist insurgency, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has boosted police and judicial powers with a new anti-terrorism law that also imposes hefty fines for “false” media reports.
Rights groups, which have accused Sisi of imposing a repressive regime since the army ousted president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, fear the new law could be used to further muzzle dissent and target critics.
The new law sets fines from 200,000 to 500,000 Egyptian pounds ($25,500 to $64,000/23,000 to 57,000 euros) for journalists who stray from government statements in publishing or spreading “false” reports on attacks or security operations against militants.
Critics say the steep fines may shut down smaller newspapers, and deter larger publications from independently reporting on attacks and operations against militants.
The government had initially proposed a jail sentence for offenders, but backed down after a backlash from Egyptian media.
The ratified law added another clause, however, allowing courts to “prevent the convicted from practising the profession for a period of no more than one year, if the crime violates the principles of the profession”.
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Government officials say the law requires proof of intent to publish false reports to secure a conviction.
But it is raising fears of further media prosecutions after three journalists with Al-Jazeera English were convicted last year of “defaming” Egypt and supporting Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
A verdict in their retrial is due by the end of the month.
Sisi however has since ratified the law on Sunday, as the country faces a growing wave of deadly attacks on security forces and civilians, led by the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State group.
The government sped up the passage of the …Read More
Source:: PM Newspaper