A new draft law for the regulation of social media has been submitted to Egypt's parliament for review. As is mostly the case when policy makers call for regulation of social media in Afrika, the draft law cites "state security" as the main reason for a law to be adopted to govern the use of social media in Egypt.
Among the 6 articles that make up the new draft social media regulation law, Article 1 proposes that Egypt's ISPs committ to setting up social networks in Egypt in coordination with the countries National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA). This is similar to an announcement by authorities in Uganda who proposed the East Afrikan country's government create its own versions of popular social media platforms.
“A committee shall be formed at the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) to supervise, review and monitor internet service providers in Egypt,” according to Article 2 of the proposed social media regulation law.
The proposed law continues Egypt's hard handedness towards free speech on the Internet as it continues to uphold bans on numerous news and other websites for spreading "fake news."
Other highlights from the new draft law include:
Egyptians will not be allowed to have social media account except through the national identity of the user provided that he/she is not under the age of 18.
Creators of fake and anonymous social media accounts will be punished with minimum sentence of 1 year in prison and a fine not less than LE 50,000 and not more than LE 100,000.
The draft law on social media regulation comes at a time when Egypt's parliament has just passed the Anti-Cyber and Information Technology Crimes law on 5 June 2018. Similar to Kenya's Computer and Cyber Crime Act, the anti-cybercrime law aims to, according to Egypt's policy makers, combat the illegal use of computers and information networks.
Although it also cites mainly state security, many critics feel it is yet another attempt to suppress freedom of speech and those who speak out against the government.