Egypt media regulator says BBC site 'likely blocked' due to 'inaccurate coverage' of limited protests

Ahram Online , Monday 23 Sep 2019

File photo: A BBC sign is displayed outside Broadcasting House in London, Britain July 19, 2017 (Photo: Reuters)

The state-owned Egyptian media regulator said that it was "likely" that the BBC and other news websites have been blocked in Egypt over "inaccurate" coverage of limited protests on Friday.

Head of the Supreme Council for Media Regulations (SCMR) Makram Mohamed Ahmed told the BBC that the SCMR was not notified officially about the blocked websites, though he confirmed that the websites were blocked due to inaccurate coverage of the demonstrations on Friday and Saturday. 

The block comes a few days after police disbursed small protests in central Cairo and other cities following calls for demonstrations over corruption in rare opposition to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s leadership.

Netblocks, an internet monitoring group, says it has monitored server restrictions on BBC News, US-based Alhurra News, and Facebook messenger by leading Egyptian internet service providers.

The statements by the SCMR chief comes nearly a day after the country's State Information Service (SIS), which operates the foreign press centre, called on international media outlets and their accredited correspondents in Cairo to abide by internationally recognised professional standards in their coverage of Egyptian affairs and news.

It stressed that "social media outlets should not be considered as sources of news or reporting."

The call for protests came after a local contractor posted a series of videos online accusing the Armed Forces and the government of squandering millions of pounds in public funds.

Mohamed Ali, 45, a little-known actor and contractor who has fled to Spain, has accused the authorities of mismanaging state funds and building a number of lavish palaces for El-Sisi, though he did not provide evidence for his claims.

El-Sisi has described the videos as lies and fabrications, saying the allegations aim to shake the trust of the people in their army.

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