Egypt: Judge’s request to block websites rejected

22 Jun, '07

Some good news for a change!

The State Commissioner Committee in Egypt has rejected the request made by the judge Abdel Fattah Mourad to block 51 websites and blogs deemed insulting the state’s dignity and threatening Egypt’s interests. In the meantime, the investigation on blogger Amr Gharbia, who was charged for defaming Judge Mourad, has been suspended: “PC Police declared that Gharbia’s blog had merely hosted comments insulting the judge; as the comments did not come from him, he was absolved of the charge,” said IFEX in its statement issued yesterday.

I am glad that this case is being resolved to the benefit of freedom of expression and hope that HRInfo will continue to sue the plagiarist judge and call from his removal from office.

As importantly, a precedent has also been set in that the investigative committee ascertained that a blogger is not responsible for comments entered on his or her site as we have no reasonable control on those comments or commentors.

Congratulations to Amr and the blogging  community on this good news. May we get more of its like.

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Comments (10)

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  1. I was really surprised to read these news. I didn’t think the case would end like this, it’s a great success for the blogging community. I hope, there’ll be more – much more – like this.

    Interestingly, in Germany I could become sentenced for comments on my blog – if I don’t delete them after the first view. I’m fully responsible for them.

  2. mahmood says:

    Interesting. So how are you meant to evaluate what they would allow and what they would find offensive? Are there any published guidelines which you are meant to follow?

  3. There are, as if know, no guidelines. But usually, sexist, racist, violent and heavily offensive comments are illegal. And it’s a difference, if one writes “I think he is an ass” or “he is an ass”. The first one is legal, the second isn’t. But mostly, the courts have to interpret the situation – so there can be different sentences. But there aren’t many cases – what’s good.

    The Swedish foreign minister and former prime minister Carl Bildt is currently accused in a case for incitement to ethnic or racial hatred (or something like this, I don’t know the original Swedish charge), because he tolerated racist comments on his blog. That’s interesting! A minister…

    Here‘s an English news about it, some may try it with the better German version.

  4. Yvonne Dettwyler says:

    The English version more explicit, whereas the German one could pass as a master stroke of political correctness; ONE well hidden sentence says it all.

  5. Yvonne Dettwyler says:

    A tiny step forward? Judge Murat showed his allegiance, he won’t resign, and stay put. Hopefully the young blogger will be free of further harassements, Alfa m abrouks for the blogger and hopefully same applies to the 5o other bloggers Judge Murad accused.

  6. Mahmoud,

    I believe there has been a misunderstanding concerning the details of IFEX’s statement regarding Amr:

    The statement on IFEX’s website has it:
    Meanwhile, police have suspended the investigation on blogger “Amr Gharbia”, charged with defaming Judge Murad.

    The Internet [police’s] investigations bureau in their report did indeed vaguely say what can be interpreted to mean that it was not Amr who published the offending comments (while at the same time making some other technically-unfounded assumptions and statements)

    However, until this moment, Amr has not been acquitted of the charges by the attorney, who is the real authority of accusation (and ultimately of investigation)

  7. mahmood says:

    Thank you Ahmed, we are all keeping an eye on this and hope for a favourable resolution to this ridiculous situation. At the very least, that so called judge should be removed from position.

  8. Yvonne Dettwyler says:

    Amr Gharbia out on bail, ergo not off the hook.

    FYI words like Volksverhetzung (incite the plebs) Rassismus (racisism) used by Dr. Goebbels and Hitler. Schools taught Rassenkunde (ethnology). Arians purest, best, blond, blue eyed, tall, parents loo% good German stock., from l933-l945.

    Nowadays punishable by law? a sick joke..

  9. Esra'a says:

    While this is great news, the worse news is that Kareem Amer is still suffering in prison simply because of his blog posts. We would appreciate any help in trying to free him from such a grave injustice at FreeKareem.org

  10. Sorry to be a party-spoiler. The IFEX statement had a number of factual mistakes. The last time I was in interrogation was on Monday 25 June. The charges are still not dropped, nor am I referred to court yet. We await to see.

    IFEX issued a correction found at http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/84449/

    Regarding the censorship lawsuit, the judges will consider the Commissions report in their ruling, which they have not made yet. Next hearing is on 7 July.

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