As elections draw near, Egypt’s media faces further restrictions

Egypt’s top prosecutor has called on his staff to monitor for "fake news," warning against "forces of evil" as this month’s presidential elections approach.

People walk by a poster of Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for the upcoming presidential election, in Cairo, Egypt, March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egypt’s Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek has instructed his staff to monitor news and social media outlets and take legal action against those deemed to be "undermining the country's security."

Branding them "forces of evil," Sadek accused media outlets of spreading false news “to disturb the public order and terrorize society.” The term "evil forces" was used by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in January to refer to political opponents who had called for a boycott of the March 26-28 presidential election. Sadek 's comments, meanwhile, appeared directed at foreign media, which unlike most Egyptian mainstream outlets have not been toeing the official government line.

The call on prosecutors to punish government critics came against the backdrop of a with the BBC over a damning" and broadcast Feb. 23, has been slammed by the government as "." This came after a mother told the BBC that her daughter Zuebeida had been "forcibly disappeared"; however, the young woman then appeared on a talk show on the privately owned Egyptian ONTV to .

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Al-Monitor

Al-Monitor3 min readPolitics
EU Says Iran Deal Parties Trying To Salvage Deal, Not Ready To Trigger Dispute Mechanism
The remaining parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are not yet prepared to trigger the accord’s dispute-resolution mechanism over Iran’s decision to reduce its compliance to protest crippling US economic sanctions.
Al-Monitor4 min readPolitics
Trump Blames Obama For Turkey’s Purchase Of Russian Weapons
The US president said his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been treated unfairly over his decision to buy Russian-made missiles that may jeopardize NATO security. But he stopped short of saying they have a deal to spare Turkey economic sa
Al-Monitor4 min read
Qatar, Jordan To Appoint New Ambassadors Following Diplomatic Row
Jordan and Qatar are set to appoint their respective ambassadors to Amman and Doha after more than two years of diplomatic row.