Egypt's State Commissioners oppose banning Rassd News Network

Ahram Online , Sunday 6 Sep 2015

The state commissioners have advised the administrative court to reject a lawsuit calling for the ban of Rassd News Network in Egypt

Egypt’s state commissioners on Sunday issued a report recommending the administrative court to reject a lawsuit by lawyer Samir Sabry that calls for the censoring of Rassd News Network (RNN) on social media.

The lawyer has accused RNN, which operates on social media networks from Turkey, of spreading false news in Egypt and supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

RNN was launched on 25 January 2011 as a Facebook-based news source to report the events of the Egyptian revolution as they happened.

The network has previously been accused of broadcasting false news and having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood after it leaked an interview with current Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who was the defense minister at the time of the interview.

The recordings allegedly included removed parts of an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper. 

The report issued by the state commissioners emphasized that the Egyptian constitution conforms to international human rights agreements to ensure freedom of expression in all its forms-- political, economic, and social.

According to the report, Egypt’s communication and information technology laws of 1999, 2003, and 2004 don’t allow government agencies to ban or block any website from appearing in Egypt. 

The report stated that only in instances where national security is directly threatened can the government contact the hosting server which then will ban or block a website affiliated with the threat.

The report also indicated that lawyer Samir Sabry did not provide sufficient evidence to prove that Rassd has been spreading false news about Egypt nor offered specific examples of news pieces fabricated by the now Turkish-based news network.

The administrative court is reported to be issuing a verdict concerning the case within the coming few weeks that will most likely abide by the report's recommendations.

This would not be the first social media censoring case rejected by Egypt’s administrative court. 

In August, the administrative court rejected a lawsuit proposed by an Egyptian lawyer to shutdown Facebook in Egypt.

The court said that self-censorship and objective media coverage are the best ways to handle any violations on Facebook.

It reasoned that freedom of expression allows self-censorship, and that objective media coverage can reduce the potential harm caused by false information on Facebook and other social media.

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