Social media censorship in Egypt targets women on TikTok
Has its sights on tick talk. It's cracking down on users arresting and charging a group of women with a range of tic tac enabled crimes from harming family values to inciting prostitution. Reporter Jod reporter Dad, Kaleel has our story. At least nine women have been arrested for their tic tac videos. But if you look through their accounts, it's hard to see why. And focus most ofit here. There's Henning has, um, talking about the story of Venus and Adonis and Adela doing what social Media influencers do Giveaway iPhones life living room doing, But mostly the accounts of the Egyptian women who's been arrested and jailed are full of dancing to Arabic pop songs in that tic tac style feet, planted emoting with your eyebrows and gesticulating. What they're doing is basically what everyone as 1000 social media, just singing and dancing and Andi thing and nothing as if you would dance. In Egyptian wedding. For example, some of Husaini is with the International Service for Human Rights based in Geneva, Switzerland. She says. What distinguishes this group of Egyptians is that they're from working class or middle class backgrounds and that their women or girls, you have social media influencers who come for a teeth, backgrounds or upper middle class or rich classes and injured who would post the same type of content. But would not be targeted because that is sort of permitted within their social class. But why these women are working class women they and they have stepped out of what is permitted for them because they were dancing and singing on tech talk. They were charged under a cyber crime law passed in 2018 Yes, Mean Omar, A researcher at the top here Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington, says that the law is vague when it comes to defining what's legal. And what isn't. It was written using very broad terms that could be very widely interpreted and criminalizing a lot of acts that are Originally considered as personal freedom. Looking at it. You would see that anything you might post on social media. Anything that you may use, the Internet could be criminalized under this very wide umbrella. Egypt cybercrime laws, part of a larger effort by the government to increase surveillance of online activities as Tic TAC became more popular during the pandemic. Prosecutors started looking there too, says Omar. The state is simply arresting whoever says anything that criticizes its policy its laws. It's practices, even if it's just joking. It's not even allowed. But this isn't just about political dissent. Yes, mean Omar points. In the case of mental Abdel Aziz, a 17 year old. One day men made a live video on Facebook. She had her face awfully bruised, and she was stating that she was raped. And she was asking for help. The police asked me to come in. When she did, Omar says they looked at her tech talk account and decided she was inciting debauchery and harming family values in Egypt. Over the summer, There was a series of rape and sexual assault accusations by Egyptian women. They got a lot of attention. One case was against a group of well connected men. Women in Egypt were shocked but not surprised by what they were seeing online, says someone who's Amy in Egypt. Sexual violence on violence in this woman is systematic is part ofthe daily life off of women and to be sexually harass women are often discouraged from reporting sexual harassment in Egypt. So when prosecutors started investigating the accused in that high profile case, it looked like a real progress. The state run National Council for Women even encourage victims and witnesses to come forward. Oh, yes mean, Omar says it did not go well. Somehow, the prosecution decided to a charge the witnesses once again. Egyptian authorities looked at women's social media accounts and then investigated the women for promoting homosexuality, drug use, inciting debauchery and publishing false news. Omar says one of the witnesses who was arrested is an American citizen. All these information were used against them and then pro state media how let's wait in. Husseini says that when they profile the women in the TIC tac case, the message was clear. You have the Egyptian me they're basically, you know, really sensational headlines, Putting the photos off the women Not not not blurred using, you know, focus that have sex it Ian, for example, while using their names, publishing the investigations that are supposed to be confidential. Social media has played an important role in Egyptian politics. In 2011 crowds toppled the regime of military dictator Hosni Mubarak. That uprising was in part organized online with Twitter and Facebook. In 2018, the former Army general and current President, Abdel Fattah el Sisi swore he would maintain stability in Egypt must You said whatever happened in 2011 is never going to happen again. Samir Shehadeh of the University of Oklahoma, says Egypt's military backed regime is wary of the implications of anything posted online, even if its just dancing I think there has been heightened paranoia as a result of hysteria, in fact, by subsequent regimes, particularly the current regime, the Sisi regime About the possible political consequences of social media. And there's a tremendous amount of policing a Facebook and other types of social media and now tic tac. Although this is not apparently an overtly political, I think that they certainly have those kinds of concerns in the back of their mind as well. Of the nine women, Four have been convicted and three have appeals in October. Menon Abdelaziz, the 17 year old, who called for help online was just released from detainment Wednesday and is being dismissed with no charges. For the world. I'm Jagga Khalil.