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Difficulty accessing Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper online raises questions

As readers experienced difficulty accessing the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper’s website on Wednesday, reporters and editors Mada Masr contacted said they are also facing obstacles to accessing the portal.

Sources who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity on Wednesday night said they are still running tests in an attempt to understand the reasons behind the inaccessibility of the website, described by some as “throttling.”

Independent testing conducted by Mada Masr has not so far indicated traditional censorship methods, as the website loads normally on proxies and VPNs.

Egypt’s Supreme Media Regulatory Council ordered on Sunday that the chief editor and one of Al-Masry Al-Youm’s reporters be summoned for questioning, and fined the newspaper LE150,000 for a story on the 2018 presidential elections, in which it described efforts by Egyptian authorities to mobilize voters to raise turnout figures. The newspaper altered its headline in a subsequent edition and issued an apology, explaining that it meant to assert that the state had “positively mobilized” voters.

Unnamed Egyptian authorities have blocked over 500 websites since May 2017, including Mada Masr.

On Tuesday, security forces raided one of the blocked websites’ headquarters, Masr Al-Arabia, and arrested its chief editor, who is currently facing charges of illegally running a website that is acting as a regularly publishing newspaper.

AD