Local reactions vary to Egypt's online pornography ban

Zeinab El Gundy , Wednesday 7 Nov 2012

Islamist forces welcome, civil forces condemn prosecutor-general's decision to implement court ruling banning pornographic websites in Egypt

Porn Ban

Reactions varied among Egypt's independent and partisan politicians to Prosecutor-General Abdel Maguid Mahmoud's Wednesday decision to implement an earlier administrative court ruling banning pornographic websites in Egypt.

Islamist politicians praised the move.

In statements to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan described the decision as "a first step towards establishing a society based on ethics."

"The prosecutor-general's decision will serve to preserve Egypt's social norms and values," Ghozlan added, stressing that the ban would not apply to news websites critical of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mohamed Nour, spokesperson for the Salafist Nour Party, voiced similar sentiments.

"The administrative court ruling to ban pornographic websites represents a step towards preserving traditional Egyptian values and ethics," he told Al-Ahram, going on to express hope that the ruling would be applied by the relevant government ministries.

Nour believes there is no need to fear the decision's potential impact on personal and public freedoms. "Egyptian society is conservative by nature and rejects these websites," he asserted.

Former Nour Party member and Islamist MP Ali Wanis (who was expelled from the party this summer following allegations of sexual misconduct), for his part, described the decision as "a first step towards applying Islamic Law in Egypt."

More secular-minded politicians and activists, meanwhile, slammed the decision.

"Those who are preoccupied with banning websites (which they will not be able to block for technical reasons) should be more concerned about the drafting of Egypt's new constitution," Ayman El-Sayad, a liberal journalist and advisor to President Mohamed Morsi, stated on Twitter.

Islam Lotfy, a former Muslim Brotherhood member and founder of the moderate-Islamist Egyptian Current Party, likewise criticised the move.

"Instead of focussing on pornographic websites, the prosecutor-general should focus his efforts on combating corruption," Lotfy stated on Twitter, in a reference to the many unresolved corruption cases lodged with the office of the public-prosecutor, who himself has been accused of corruption by several prominent political figures. 

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