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Egypt sets up hotline to combat 'fake news'

Media has come under increased scrutiny prior to Egypt's elections [AFP]

Date of publication: 13 March, 2018

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Egypt has set up a hotline to gather reports of "fake news" as journalists come under increased scrutiny before the country's elections.
Egypt's judiciary announced on Monday it has set up a hotline to gather complaints of "fake" news in the traditional or electronic media that could pose a threat to national security.

Two weeks ahead of elections in Egypt, the media have been under increased scrutiny, with an increase in cases of journalists being arrested and websites blocked.

"The Egyptian judiciary has set aside mobile telephone numbers to receive complaints on the instant messaging app WhatsApp and by SMS, so long as the name of the complainant and their personal details are given," it said in a statement.

It said the initiative was aimed against "premeditated fake information damaging to national security and the country's interests".

Sisi is virtually guaranteed to win a second term during Egypt's elections scheduled for 26-28 March, after sidelining or arresting at least five major candidates.

The most serious challengers to Sisi's rule were former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and former army chief of staff Sami Anan. Both were rumoured to command considerable support among Egypt's officer corps.

Cairo has sentenced hundreds to death, and tens of thousands remain behind bars. Most are members of outlawed Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, but journalists, secularists and other groups have also been targeted.

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