Babylon & Beyond

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EGYPT: Court bans pornographic websites

May 13, 2009 |  7:30 am

The Egyptian administrative court has ordered the government to block obscene websites, calling them threats to national security.

“Public liberties and rights are not absolute [and] they must be restricted by the need to protect the family which constitutes the cornerstone of society and which is based on religion, morals and nationalism” read the verdict.

“On the Internet, there are websites that diffuse poison and foment vice among different segments of the Egyptian society, which poses a threat to all religious beliefs and public morals and values,” added the court which ordered both the Information and Communication ministries to take necessary measures to enforce the verdict.

While the government is chasing opposition bloggers and Facebook activists, most pornographic websites remain untouched. In April, a civil servant was sentenced to seven years in prison and his wife to three years for setting up a swingers' club on the Internet. The criminal case was reportedly the first of its kind in this Muslim nation of 83 million people. 

Earlier, Nizar Ghorab, a lawyer known for defending radical Islamists, filed a suit against the government accusing it of laxity in dealing with the threat posed by pornographic websites. Ghorab hailed the verdict “as a victory over vice and corruption”.

— Noha El-Hennawy in Cairo