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Coronavirus: Egypt escalates press crackdown over pandemic, says Amnesty

ournalism has effectively become a crime in Egypt with the authorities using the coronavirus outbreak to ramp up its crackdown against the media, a human rights group has warned.

As the number of COVID-19 cases in Egypt continues to rise, the government is tightening its control over information, according to Amnesty International.

Journalists questioning the official state line have been thrown into jail accused of terrorism, it said.

Jail
Image: Journalists questioning the state line have been thrown into jail, says the human rights group

Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director, said: “The Egyptian authorities have made it very clear that anyone who challenges the official narrative will be severely punished.”

The bleak assessment on World Press Freedom Day came as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged governments to protect media freedom and support journalists during the pandemic and into the future.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “Journalists & media workers help us make informed decisions that could make the difference between life & death.”

Amnesty has recorded 37 cases of journalists detained in the government’s escalating crackdown on press freedoms.

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