Politics

New Egypt CyberLaw Adds to the Growing List of Social Media Regulations this Summer

Various African governments have been adding cyberlaws this summer triggering discussions about the threat to free speech online.

Teju Cole once said that twitter is an African city, and various governments continue to take this to new levels from social media taxes to more surveillance.

On Sunday, a new law regulating social media use was passed by two-thirds of the MPs in Egypt's parliament and has now been sent to President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi for his approval. The law states that social media users with more than 5000 followers will be under the supervision of Egypt's Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media. Since the law applies to blogs and websites, social media users with thousands of followers will be regulated as media outlets.

The BBC reports that the council will have the power to block websites and file criminal charges against platforms and individuals accused of "inciting people to violate laws" and "defamation against individuals and religions".


Governments have been cracking down on social media use for years now, but in these last few months we have seen another surge of politicians shamelessly blaming social media for political conflicts as justification for more online surveillance. In Uganda, President Museveni claimed that a social media tax would help the country's debt and regulate gossip causing public backlash. In Cameroon, the prime minister Mr. Philemon blamed social media and the diaspora for "hate speech" and "ordering murders."

While humor has been a large response on twitter to these policies, it's worth tracking these regulations as more governments take stronger measures against social media "dissent."

In the case of Egypt, this new law is raising fear about what other regulations might be put in place against critiques of the president and the government.



Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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