Instagram launches anti-cyberbullying campaign in Egypt
Lamis ElSharqawy, Tuesday 17 Nov 2020

Instagram launched on Tuesday a campaign to address cyberbullying in Egypt, combining efforts with the National Council for Women (NCW), the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM), and UNICEF Egypt to provide local resources and support lines to help bullying victims.

According to an official statement on Tuesday, Instagram said it named the campaign #ChooseWordsWisely with the aim of fostering a positive environment for posting content on the popular photo sharing platform. The campaign aims to renounce online bullying and shed light on the damage it can cause, especially in communities of young people.

The campaign aims to increase understanding of Instagram's rules regarding bullying and how to master anti-bullying tools, which can be used to help protect user accounts from bullies and unwanted contact, encourage positive interactions, and empower people to stand up for themselves, the statement said.

Over the next few weeks, the popular platform will also showcase some of the voices that are most vocal against bullying in the country in order to promote their experiences with bullying and how to overcome it.

The NCW, which provides legal and psychological counselling to victims of all forms of violence, including cyberbullying, will work with Instagram to boost their work in support of women.

"We're determined to spread awareness about combating all forms of violence against women, including cyberbullying," said Dr Maya Morsi, President of the NCW.

She said the campaign also aims to increase the awareness of the Egyptian public about the negative impact of bullying, adding that it will support tracking bullying and addressing it in a constructive manner.

Other partners joining efforts in the campaign are the NCCM, which tackles bullying in all its forms, including verbal, psychological, physical and online, as well as violence and abuse against children, along with UNICEF Egypt, which aims to protect children from all forms of violence.

In 2018, the NCCM launched an anti-bullying campaign dubbed ‘I Am Against Bullying,’ which contributed to the issuance of a law that criminalises bullying.

"Bullying is a form of violence and abuse, especially with the increase in the use of social networking, which has exacerbated cyberbullying," said Dr Sahar Al-Sunbati, Secretary-General of the NCCM.

Cyberbullying is emerging globally as a major concern among social media users.

In Egypt, cyberbullying has been criminalised through a recent law, but the phenomenon is still widespread.

Earlier this year, Egypt toughened penalties against bullying, setting a minimum prison term of one year and a fine of up to EGP 100,000.

Per the Egyptian penal code, bullying is defined as a “show of force or control by the offender, or the abuse of a vulnerable victim,” or as an offence committed on the basis of gender, race, religion, physical attributes, health or mental status, or social class.