Tuesday, April 19, 2016

It is Egypt's House of Representatives against the social media

In early April, we found the MPs of the Egyptian House of Representatives adopting a draft law to regulate Social media networks in Egypt.
Yes, the Egyptian parliament is discussing a draft law to regulate as well to monitor social media in Egypt.
It started with the request of so-called liberal Wafd Party MP Gamal Abdel Nasser who presented an urgent statement in the House of Parliament against what he called "Facebook chaos that crossed all lines".
La Vache Qui rit
Nassbook "People's book" From Tahrir square
On February 1, 2011  
He also called the ministers of interior and telecommunication to work on regulating the social media networks so "they can arrest anyone writes something against the National security"
Is not it ironic that Wafd MP shares the same name of the late Egyptian president who nationalized Egyptian press in 1960 !!!??
Amazingly, the Parliament's speaker after few hours of that statement declared that a new draft law to regulate the social media networks was going to be drafted soon!!!!!!!!
It was just astonishing to see how Speaker Ali Abd Aal did not have a second thought or even discuss the matter.
Most Pro-Sisi MPs "The majority" welcomed such law.
Of course, nobody paid attention to what was happening in the House of Representatives as the sessions are not broadcasted live as before.
Also, nobody paid attention to what was happening as all people paying attentions to Giulio Regeni's investigation , Tiran and Sanafir and Hollande's visit.
But we have to pay attention because President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi spoke twice about the social media in his last two speech.
Sisi blamed the social media for the Giulio Regeni investigation fiasco as the Italian investigators take their information from Egyptian FB pages !!
In the same speech, the Egyptian President said that he could control it online using "two battalions".
Yes, he used the "battalions" as a true military man.
He seemed to me that he did not know that there are "e-battalions" supporting him online whether on Twitter and Facebook in the same way Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood had their "e-Committees". I just wish to have the time to do an investigative post about Sisi's e-battalions which continue the legacy of the NDP and the MB.
A quick hint : They also spam the social media networks whether Twitter or Facebook with copy/paste comments and they still use photos of cute girls , mostly Turkish models and actresses.
Sisi online Battalions
An example for those battalions in action
If you do not understand Arabic,
you will notice that they are all
copy/paste comments 
It is not a big secret that Sisi's administration and before that SCAF had an eye on social media. After all, the "Fourth Generation warfare" became common thanks to SCAF and Egyptian Spox Ahmed Ali , who is currently in Presidency.
It became a synonym to the social media from SCAF's point of view.
BY the way, the Egyptian regime is already monitoring the social media for years now.
Refresh your memory and read those reports from BuzzFeed and MadaMisr 
I think the Egyptian regime wants to legalize it.

I know that the Egyptian social media universe has been a pain in the regime's ass technically since 2005.
The Egyptian regime knew how it could really play a dangerous role in delivering the message that mobilized millions into a revolution in January 2011. After all , the 25 January revolution started with a Facebook event.
It is not a Facebook revolution but let's say that the social media was like the flyers of 1919 revolution.
For five years now , the Egyptian authorities are trying to control the social media following the advice that "If you can not conquer them then join them".
Using the same techniques of  Pro-25 January revolution , we find Fake Facebook groups and pages as well Twitter accounts spreading lies effectively as well hate and fascism.
Yes, the last 5 years we saw how the social media can turn into a double-edged weapon and the same weapon used by the Revolutionaries has been used against them but it was not enough.
For some time, I believed that we are losing the social media battle but lately I was wrong because in the end truth finds its way through the social media and there are many examples we have in front of us now.
Just earlier Tuesday, social media managed to share all the photos and videos of that police shooting in New Cairo before the mainstream media would start moving.
On Friday , when no mainstream media transferred on air the ongoing protests against the Tiran and Sanafir government's decision , social media users stepped in and showed the world that there was happening in Egypt.
Yes, I know that there are many battles Egyptians especially political activists are facing whether Tiran and Sanafir or NGOs trial or media freedom but this is also part of our struggle for Freedom of expression.

A Side Note :

As I speak about the regime's attempt to control the social media in Egypt , I encourage you if you do not mind to go and vote for Renowned Egyptian cyber activist Ramy Raoof in DW's The Best of Blogs "BOBS". He is running in the online activism category and needs your support.
Raoof really deserves it. It is enough how he fights for online freedom and privacy in Egypt.

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