Rights group condemns Egypt’s media law as ‘extortion’
An international press freedom group says new regulations in Egypt amount to “extortion” and aim to silence the country’s last remaining independent media.
Reporters Without Borders said Monday that the new law, which went into effect last month, requires online newspapers to deposit large sums to secure permits.
It says websites would need more than $30,000 to register, and would pay up to five times that amount for non-compliance.
The group’s Sophie Anmuth says the “law is tantamount to extortion because journalists now have to pay if they want to work.”
The government has already blocked hundreds of websites, including those of several independent media outlets, as part of a sweeping crackdown on dissent.
All major media outlets in Egypt support the government. – AP CHINA and India are closely watching the constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka, which has been a battleground in their struggle for geopolitical supremacy in South Asia.
Chinese and Indian diplomats have been careful not to overtly take sides in the political turmoil, which has seen President Maithripala Sirisena oust Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, replace him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, and suspend Parliament.
Wickremesinghe, meanwhile, has holed up at the prime minister’s residence and insisted he is Sri Lanka’s rightful leader.
The caution exercised by the Asian giants stands in contrast to calls from Western diplomats for Parliament to immediately be summoned for a floor vote on Rajapaksa’s appointment and underscores the economic and military importance the countries place on the Indian Ocean island nation.
“They’re hedging their bets,” said Bharath Gopalaswamy, director of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center. India and China “both have stakes in the global system and want to play a bigger role, so they have to signal they’ll work with whomever.”
For China, Sri Lanka is a critical link in its massive Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to use infrastructure projects to expand trade across a vast arc of 65 countries from the South Pacific through Asia to Africa and Europe. It has handed out billions of dollars in loans for Sri Lankan projects over the past decade.
Located just 23 kilometers (14 miles) off its southeast coast, India sees Sri Lanka as a bulwark in its military defenses to ward off potential Chinese incursions and also sees the island as a key partner for regional trade. – AP
In this Saturday photo, a Chinese man walks along a street while speaking on his mobile phone in Colombo, Sri Lanka.