Egyptian MP calls for web porn ban

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Egyptian politicians are set to ban online pornography.

Salafist MP Younis Makhioun, of Egypt's religious and conservative al-Nour party, yesterday requested a debate on banning pornographic websites.

In 2009, a court ordered such material banned, but the Ministry of Communications declined, citing individual responsibility. If a majority of the Islamist-dominated parliament supported a ban the ministry would then be able to enforce one. Around a quarter of seats belong to al-Nour.

Although some sections of the public complained about limitations upon free expression and feared new powers could creep to include other forms of censorship, Makhioun said he did not feel porn counted as free speech. "These sites spread evil among different sects of the Egyptian society, [their] content is criminalised by Egyptian law as well as being a breach of religious beliefs and social values and morals," he said in calling for debate.

The 2009 court ruling followed legal action describing porn sites as harmful to society, and the court noted "the harm that this material [can] cause to the fabric of the family." Despite this, figures from Google show Egypt in the top five nations searching the Internet for 'sex'.