The General Prosecution on Monday set hotline numbers on the Whatsapp mobile application where civilians can report alleged fake news or news that aims “to endanger the nation’s security or public interests,” according to a statement issued by the prosecution’s office.
“This comes to apply the orders of the Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek to monitor what is being published on different media outlets and social media websites,” the statement added.
Civilians throughout the country can report any violations by sending messages to the prosecution.
This is the second manoeuvre by the prosecution, which ordered authorities at the beginning of March to monitor websites and social media outlets, saying that there are attempts by what Sadek called “forces of evil” to distort the image of Egypt, via spreading fake news.
This comes after the controversial BBC report “The shadow over Egypt” which criticised the situation of human rights in Egypt, receiving negative reactions which accused the British outlet of fabricating cases. The report claimed that a girl name Zubaida Ibrahim disappeared in April after being arrested by security forces and that she was tortured in detention.
This led the State Information Service (SIS) to call on Egyptian officials to boycott the BBC for its failure to apologise. In a similar context, Egypt’s National Media Authority said that it will suspend cooperation with the BBC for publishing a report that included “lies and allegations” about the country’s human rights conditions. It also refuted the report, saying it reflects the correspondent’s “biased personal views and assertions, with no factual basis.”
This comes as the communications committee of the Egyptian Parliament has been discussing articles of a government draft law to counter IT-related crimes. According to local media, the committee has agreed to its article seven, which regulates the blocking of websites based inside and outside of the country.