CAIRO (AFP) – An Egyptian government-owned Internet service provider has blocked the website of a leading opposition movement, a rights group said Monday, in the latest crackdown on the country’s cyber dissidents.
“The website for the Egyptian Movement for Change – Kefaya has been blocked in Egypt (for) users who have access to the Internet through TE-Data … since May 4,” the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said in a statement.
TE-Data, a branch of Telecom Egypt and the largest Internet service provider (ISP) in Egypt, is controlled by the Egyptian government.
The censorship came as Egypt seeks to promote its information and communication technology industry by hosting the International Telecommunication Union conference, which President Hosni Mubarak opened on Monday.
“The website is performing normally with other ISPs, but the technical supervisor of the website informed us that the TE-Data Co. blocked Kefaya website through the IP address,” Kefaya website editor Samir Gad told ANHRI.
“Blocking the Kefaya website from the TE-Data ISP is a ridiculous decision, which is not practised by the most dictatorial governments in the world,” Mohammed Ragab, director of ANHRI’s technical unit said.
Egypt has recently arrested several bloggers and Facebook activists after calls for general strikes on April 6 and May 4.
In a country where there is little access to live, independent and Egyptian reporting, blogs and “real time” social networking sites like Twitter have provided regular but unverified updates of current events.