CAIRO: Mohamed Khalil Kwaitah, member of the People s Assembly (PA) and deputy manager of its foreign affairs committee filed a request to the PA demanding stricter punishment for those who spread false information that may threaten public security or cause public panic.
Kwaitah, who is affiliated with the National Democratic Party (NDP), called for longer jail sentences – a minimum of two years – as well as higher fines ranging from LE 1,000 to LE 10,000.
The current penal code stipulates that those charged with rumor-mongering are subject to a 24-hour jail sentence or a LE 50-100 fine.
Kwaitah explained to Daily News Egypt that spreading rumors and false information is very dangerous because it jeopardizes public safety, the country s national security and the economy.
Gamal Eid, chairman of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRInfo), was not surprised that such a request was filed by an NDP MP.
“This is a party that has dominated [political life] through forgery and against the public s will, he told Daily News Egypt. If implemented, this law will increase the punishment on both the public and the press who are defending the public.however this modification will not stand against the brave journalists who will let nothing stand in their way to expose the corruption of both the government and its party, Eid said.
Kwaitah’s request is arguably associated with the controversy surrounding Ibrahim Eissa, editor-in-chief of Al-Dostour daily newspaper, who was accused of publishing false information about President Hosni Mubarak’s health and spreading rumors that threatened foreign investments in Egypt and caused public panic.