Fake news is becoming more common worldwide - CC Geralt via Pixabay
Fake news is becoming more common worldwide - CC Geralt via Pixabay

Fabrication of news to be punished by a fine of LE 250,000

Tue, Dec. 11, 2018
CAIRO – 11 December 2018: The Supreme Council for Media Regulation will impose a LE 250,000 fine on those who spread fake news or publish news without sources, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation Ahmed Salim announced on Monday.

During a meeting with the Parliament’s African Affairs Committee, Salim referred that those who spread fabricated news in Germany are fined up to €50 million according to the law adopted by the Parliament in 2017.

Egypt has proposed various practical measures and anti-cybercrime laws aiming to curb premeditated fake information and face the wide spread fake news that threatens national security and the interests of the state.

A new hotline was launched for citizens to gather complaints about “fake” news published in traditional media outlets or digital media platforms, which aims to impose a threat to national security, Egypt’s Public prosecution announced in March.

“A set of mobile telephone numbers are assigned to receive complaints on the instant messaging on WhatsApp application and by SMS; the sent messages should contain all information available on the reported fake news,” according to a statement released by the office of the public prosecutor.

Furthermore, Egyptian Parliament’s Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee came out on March 14 with new amendments to the government’s anti-cybercrime law.

The amendments include setting a six-month imprisonment and a fine not less than LE 100,000 ($5,670) and not more than LE 500,000 for anyone found to be deliberately tinkering with an internet connection.

In mid-February, the Cabinet referred a draft anti-cybercrime law to Parliament for discussion, which included posing surveillance on social media and limiting the spread of fake news, particularly news inciting violence.

The long-awaited draft law was sent to Parliament to be discussed, as the law has an indispensable role in dealing with the rumors that are not easily monitored on social media.

First introduced before Parliament in May 2016, the 33-article draft law was proposed to criminalize illegal electronic practices, such as electronic fraud and encouraging terrorist practices; however, activists and rights defenders perceive the penalties stipulated by the law as very harsh and as a restriction of the freedom of expression, according to various news outlets.

The punishments in the draft law range from a month in prison to death penalty should, in the latter case, the cybercrime result in the death of someone or be considered a threat to national security. The law also stipulates other penalties, such as blocking sites and canceling their licenses according to court judgments.

Additionally, the Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media will be regulating social media accounts and blogs, which have been officially categorized as “media outlets” in Egypt; it will have the authority to block websites and file criminal complaints against any account that is "inciting people to violate laws" and spreading "defamation against individuals and religions."
 
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