Top Prosecutor in Egypt Orders Ban on Online Pornography
Egypt’s top prosecutor ordered government ministries on Wednesday to enforce a ban on pornographic websites, three years after a court denounced the sites as “venomous and vile.”
An official in the prosecutor’s office said the order followed a protest Wednesday by ultraconservative Muslims known as Salafis, who have launched a campaign called “Pure Net” to prohibit the pornographic websites. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
In the past, though, similar orders were not enforced because of high costs associated with technical applications in blocking the thousands of websites and their various pages.
The prosecutor’s order came under pressure from hard-line Muslims, highlighting Egypt’s grappling with issues related to freedom of speech. It also fuels a fear among liberals that the rise of Islamists to power will usher in repressive tactics used by the ousted regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
Digital rights researcher Ramy Raoof said that under the previous regime, there were attempts by Islamist lawyers to block pornographic websites.
“The government is not supposed to monitor or be watchdogs over people. It should provide services, regardless of how citizens use that service,” he said.