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Egypt bans media from 'positive' LGBTI reporting

The government said 'homosexuality is a sickness and disgrace that would be better hidden from view'

Egypt bans media from 'positive' LGBTI reporting
A previous protest where an activist flew a rainbow flag at the pyramids in Giza.

A media ban on reporting anything positive about LGBTI people the Egypt government’s latest move in a crackdown on the community.

Seven people were arrested for flying rainbow flags during a concert by Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila last month.

Then the government started pursuing more people it suspected of either being LGBTI or an ally. It has arrested 57 more people since the September 22 concert.

Media ban

The government’s latest move was to issue an order that prohibits the ‘promotion or dissemination of homosexual slogans’.

‘It is forbidden for homosexuals to appear in any media outlet whether written, audio or visual, except when they acknowledge their wrong conduct and repent for it.”

The order came from the newly formed Supreme Council for Media Regulation. It is a government body whose head is appointed by the president.

The council refers to homosexuality as ‘a pure, great and eternal evil that must be rooted out’.

It instructs media to ‘shed light on these dangers, and discuss them in an objective, scientific framework that aims to convey the danger of the problem, not celebrate it’.

‘Egypt should immediately halt this vicious crackdown on a vulnerable group simply for waving a flag,’ said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa Director at Human Rights Watch.

‘Repression will not turn gay people straight – it will only perpetuate fear and abuse.

‘There’s no possible objective or scientific reason to throw people in prison simply because of their sexuality.

‘Given the mass arrests and climate of fear, truly objective reporting on this issue and giving LGBT people a voice is more important than ever.’

Read the council’s full statement here.

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