The “Pandemic” law to restrict freedom of opinion and expression and to prosecute activists – Freedom and Justice Gate

The New York Times published a report highlighting the coup authorities’ adoption of the Epidemiology Law, which allows the government of the coup gang leader Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to arrest citizens on the pretext of spreading false news and under the pretext of threatening national security.

The report, translated by Freedom and Justice, said, “The Sisi government is about to pass a law that would allow people to be prosecuted if they spread false news during the outbreak of the epidemic, in an alleged attempt to control misinformation in the era of the Corona virus.”

The report noted that critics fear the law will be used instead to crack down on those who challenge government policies during public health crises.

The report said, “The law is awaiting ratification by Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, which is a mere formality given its overwhelming support in el-Sisi’s parliament, which approved it on Tuesday. imposed by the government to manage such a crisis.”

The law also provides for a prison sentence of up to one year and a fine of 635 US dollars for anyone who intentionally publishes or disseminates false news or malicious rumors related to the state of the epidemic, with the aim of disturbing public safety or spreading panic among people, and is not exempt from prosecution under the draft law Only journalists.

violation of the constitution

That leaves everyone – including health care workers, researchers, and millions of social media users – vulnerable to imprisonment in what critics have called a violation of the constitution, which prohibits imprisonment for publication, the report added.

Supporters of the bill said the pandemic has demonstrated the need for a resolute response to the spread of disinformation at critical times.

“Some women refused the vaccination because of the warnings posted on Facebook about the danger of the matter to women who plan to become pregnant within a year. This is a direct threat to national security,” legislator Ayman Abul-Ela said in a television interview.

The nationalization of social media

But critics said prison sentences would be used primarily to control expressions of dissent on social media in a country where security services maintain a tight grip on traditional media and public spaces, and where the authorities see any dissent as a threat, and doctors, journalists and medical staff have been prosecuted. Social media is accused of spreading false news after criticizing the government’s handling of the epidemic or asking them about the announced number of injuries on social media.

“In fact, hundreds of people have been thrown behind bars for social media posts, and fake news hasn’t stopped. Rumors spread in an environment where the truth is withheld. Fake news and rumors are fought in support of freedom of information, not prison,” said columnist Khaled al-Bolshi.

The report indicated that moving this legislation comes weeks after the Public Prosecution launched a vague and prominent investigation in the Ministry of Health, and the Public Prosecution announced last month that some officials in the health sector were interrogated about allegations that have not yet been detailed. As for the Minister of Health, Hala Zayed, she took leave. Sick at around the time of the announcement after reports that she was hospitalized with a heart attack, and reports from local media that the investigation included corruption allegations were dropped.

emergency extension

Under the new legislation, the prime minister also has the power to implement lockdowns, impose vaccinations, ban demonstrations, suspend court sessions, close places of worship and place limits on prices for goods and private healthcare services.

The draft law also grants senior officials in the Sisi government many of the powers that were previously available to them only under the state of emergency. Egypt had lifted the state of emergency imposed on it four years ago last month, but it hastened to enact laws that transfer similar powers to the government and the army. This has raised doubts about the country’s seriousness about easing a brutal crackdown on dissent that has put its human rights record under international scrutiny.

Egypt is facing a fourth wave of the Corona virus, which is added to the 345,848 cases and 19,636 deaths reported by the government since the beginning of the epidemic, although the actual numbers are believed to be much higher.

Source: بوابة الحرية والعدالة by

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