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Sissi's Egypt Blocks Access to 20 News Websites

  • VOA News

FILE - Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, speaks during a live broadcast, in Cairo, Egypt, April 13, 2016.

Egypt has blocked access to about 20 websites including Qatar's Al-Jazeera since Wednesday night, state media reported.

The sites, including Huffington Post's Arabic language site HuffPost Arabi and independent site Mada Masr, were blocked because they were allegedly "spreading lies" and "supporting terrorism", state-run news agency Mena announced.

The move comes a day after Khaled Ali, a prominent lawyer and former presidential candidate, was released on bail pending trial on Monday on charges of 'raising his middle figure' in public, which is considered obscene in some countries.

FILE - In this Wednesday, June 22, 2016 file photo, Egyptian lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali points to photos of jailed activists, who were arrested during protests over two disputed Red Sea islands, including Egyptian rights lawyer Malek Adly, top row third right, during a press conference, in Cairo, Egypt. An Egyptian court has ordered on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 the release of the prominent rights lawyer held in solitary confinement for the past three months after he challenged in court a decision by the country's president to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.
FILE - In this Wednesday, June 22, 2016 file photo, Egyptian lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali points to photos of jailed activists, who were arrested during protests over two disputed Red Sea islands, including Egyptian rights lawyer Malek Adly, top row third right, during a press conference, in Cairo, Egypt. An Egyptian court has ordered on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 the release of the prominent rights lawyer held in solitary confinement for the past three months after he challenged in court a decision by the country's president to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.


Mada Masr, known for taking a strong stance against corruption, tweeted a cartoon Thursday of a man in front of a closed wooden door in the desert with the caption "We have confirmed Mada Masr's website has been blocked. Stay tuned on how to find us again."

HuffPost Arabi also took to Twitter to direct readers to its social media accounts for continued news coverage.

The full list of disabled websites in general-turned-president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's latest crackdown on media access was not released.

This is not the first time Al-Jazeera has been at odds with Sissi's government. Egypt drew international condemnation when it arrested three Al-Jazeera journalists — a Canadian, an Australian and an Egyptian — in 2013 and sentenced them to jail time. The three were later released.

Al-Jazeera's news coverage in the years following Egypt's 2011 Arab Spring revolution and the 2013 Sissi-led overthrow of the country's first freely elected civilian President Mohamed Morsi was intensely criticized by the Egyptian government.

Egypt currently ranks umber 161 out of 180 on the World Press Freedom Index.

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