Egypt Is Imprisoning Female Social Media Influencers For Posting “Indecent” Videos On Tiktok
It appears Egypt is arresting and jailing female TikTok and Instagram influencers over what the government terms “indecent” posts.
An Egyptian judge recently sentenced five social media influencers to 2 years imprisonment on charges of violating public morals and decency.
According to The Guardian, the verdict against Haneen Hossam, Mowada al-Adham, and three others came after they posted on the video-sharing app, TikTok.
Haneen Hossam, 20, a Cairo University student, was arrested in April charged for sharing a 2-minute clip to her TikTok account of over 1.2 million followers telling women how to make money from online videos. The video was termed provocative and encouraging women to sell their bodies.
Mowada al-Adham was arrested in May for posting what was deemed a satirical video to her over 2million followers TikTok account. Both women also face different count charges as regards their sources of their income.
According to the public persecution, the other three women (names undisclosed) were sentenced to prison for helping al-Adham and Hossam manage their social media accounts.
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Egypt has for some years now been cracking down on female social media influencers and dancers. Only last month, another Egyptian court sentenced a belly dancer, Sama al-Masry to three years imprisonment for inciting “debauchery” on social media with a viral video of her dancing.
Also in 2018, a female singer was detained for “incitement to debauchery” for posting a video on social media. In the same vein, another female pop singer was sentenced to two years in prison also for breaking the moral rules on social media. Not only that, the Egyptian government obtained rights through laws to monitor social media accounts of over 5,000 following.
This new verdict once again highlights the social divide in Egypt’s highly conservative Muslim society.
Women’s right lawyer Intissar al-Saeed while speaking to AFP on the sentencing said it was setting a dangerous precedence.“The verdict is shocking, though it was expected. We will see what happens on appeal,” she said “It is still a dangerous indicator … Regardless of the divergent views on the content presented by the girls on TikTok, it still is not a reason for imprisonment.”
Meanwhile, several Egyptians have taken to Twitter to call for the release of the influencers.
Two women today in Egypt got sentenced Two years and 300,000 EGP fine for just dancing and singing on #TikTok @ncwegypt is a complicit in this injustice by their silence. This is injustice , misogyny and a serious violation of digital freedom.#بعد_اذن_الاسرة_المصرية
— يسقط العالم (@Saldroite) July 27, 2020
(1) Today, you’ll find many tweeting #بعد_اذن_الاسرة_المصرية. They started at 1 pm (Cairo time) & will continue through the day to raise attention ahead of 2 expected verdicts this week for 3 Egyptian female TikTok users: Haneen Hosam & Mawada El-Adham (7/27) & Manar Samy (7/29). pic.twitter.com/fxoTvRewmN
— Mai El-Sadany (@maitelsadany) July 26, 2020
Did you know Egypt still runs virginity tests? And that it’s chasing down women influencers on #TikTok instead of handling a pandemic? because chastity y’all!#بعد_اذن_الاسرة_المصرية https://t.co/49dqS9XoOn
— Nana (@Nabuels) July 27, 2020
Also, an online petition on change.org has kicked off to demand the release of the ladies from prison.
The petition reads in part:
“We are a group of women calling on state authorities to stop targeting women on TikTok. We call on the National Council for Women to provide legal support for Haneen Hossam, Mawada El-Adham, Menna AbdelAziz, Sherry Hanem, Nora Hesham, Manar Samy, Reenad Emad, Hadeer Hady, and Bassant Mohamed.”
Over 1,500 persons have signed the petition so far.
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