Cop27 in Egypt: News and campaigning sites blocked on conference wifi

Attendees of the Cop27 climate conference in Egypt have found the wifi blocks access to a number of rights groups and news websites, particularly those critical of the Egyptian government.

According to a number of those attending the event at the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh in the Sinai Peninsula, blocked sites include news outlet Mada Masr, blogging site Medium and Qatari media network Al Jazeera.

Human Rights Watch has also reportedly had its website blocked, despite the fact it is hosting a panel discussion at the conference.

Though these sites have been blocked across Egypt for many years, some had assumed the restrictions would be loosened at the conference after Egyptian telecoms providers temporarily lifted a ban on voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) calls,  such as WhatsApp calling, for the event.

It appears, however, that restrictions on a wide range of websites remain in place.

“There are so many blocked websites in Egypt at #Cop27, that it is noticeable and hard for us to work. We can’t use our @Earth_Uprising Medium site, because Medium is blocked. News agencies we refer to are blocked,” tweeted Alexandria Villasenor, an attendee and leader of youth climate organisation Earth Uprising.

“There is no climate action without truth and information.”

Cop27, attended by more than 100 world leaders, is taking place amid tight restrictions on peaceful assembly and free speech across Egypt.

At least 60,000 political prisoners are estimated to have been jailed since Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi overthrew Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president, in 2013. 

It also takes place amid a backdrop of major natural disasters across the world, including devastating floods in Pakistan that affected more than 30 million people, and severe drought in the Horn of Africa.


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