Defamation Laws In Egypt

Egypt defamation laws
Slander and libel laws in Egypt.

Egypt Defamation Laws Allow For Higher Penalties If You Insult A Government Official

According to a report by the BBC, Egypt’s Press Law was amended to allow for increased fines in cases where an official is accused of corruption. Prison sentences for serious media crimes, like libeling the president and foreign heads of state, remain. In addition, imprisonment for libel is left to the judges’ discretion rather than being banned altogether.

Blasphemy Is Serious Slander In Egypt

There is a version of an anti-blasphemy law in Egypt which may be relevant to defamation legislation.  Violation of Article 98(f) of the nation’s penal code can bring five years of prison for “defaming a heavenly religion” or “insulting Islam.”  A report states that the provisions of Article 98 (f) in Egypt, which in theory is meant to discourage people from offending others’ religious sensitivities, is instead used to stifle free speech and intimidate those who do not subscribe to the standard Orthodox version of Sunni Islam practiced by most in Egypt.

International Reaction To Egypt’s Defamation Laws

By way of conclusion, Article 19 (the International Centre against Censorship) has released its opinion that Articles 303 (a), 306 and 307 of the Egyptian Penal Code (Re: legitimacy of custodial sanctions for defamation)  is contrary to Egypt’s obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  As of the publication date of September 2, 2009 by Article 19 and the Justice Initiative Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review, defamation remains a criminal offense in Egypt and has been frequently and widely used to limit freedom of expression.

May 2013 Update: U.S. Officials are calling for Egyptian officials to review the country’s defamation laws. According to reports, American representatives sent a public message expressing “deep concern” over free speech rights in Egypt.