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Egypt's new media law 'extorts' independent journalists

Egypt has blocked hundreds of websites as part of a sweeping crackdown on dissent. [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 November, 2018

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Under the new law, online media outlets in Egypt will have to apply to register and pay fees of more than $30,000.

An international press freedom group says new regulations in Egypt amount to "extortion" and aim to silence the country's last remaining independent media.

Reporters Without Borders said on Monday that the new law, which went into effect last month, requires online newspapers to deposit large sums to secure permits.

It says websites would need more than $30,000 to register, and would pay up to five times that amount for non-compliance.

The group's Sophie Anmuth says the "law is tantamount to extortion because journalists now have to pay if they want to work".

"The implementation of this very coercive media law has a clear political objective - to silence the last independent voices. We are facing the probable extinction or exile of Egypt's last independent media."

The government has already blocked hundreds of websites, including those of several independent media outlets, as part of a sweeping crackdown on dissent.

All major media outlets in Egypt support the government.

Human rights groups regularly criticise moves by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government to curtail free speech.

Egypt is currently placed 161st out of 180 countries in the press freedom rankings of global media rights organisation RSF.

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