‘Indecent and immoral’ – Egypt jails five female TikTok influencers

Ama Nunoo July 29, 2020
Photo: The African Mirror

Many social media users found a haven on their smart devices when the world was on lockdown due to the novel coronavirus. Health experts, government officials and celebrities preached staying at home as a better option than moving around.

At a point there were curfews issued by some governments to inhibit movement by its people all in the name of preventing the spread of the virus.

Users for certain apps skyrocketed instantly as many lived vicariously through their phone because after all humans still need to be connected someway, that is how we were created.

For influencers, this was their ripe season as many craved good contents always. Nonetheless, some Egyptian influencers are facing jail time because they posted “indecent videos” on TikTok.

TikTok’s popularity in Egypt has increased rapidly in recent months, especially following the restrictions on movement imposed by the government to reduce the spread of COVID-19, reports say.

The five women of which only two have been named have been sentenced two years in jail and were fined almost $19,000.

The three unnamed women were accused of participating in inappropriate video calls with men. Egypt is a very conservative country and Islam is the dominant religion practiced by about 90% of the population.

According to BBC, there have been a series of arrests in recent times targeting popular women with large following on TikTok but this is the first time a court has sentenced female social media influencers in Egypt.

Activists vehemently disagree with the actions of the authorities and have launched an online campaign against the authorities who are using these women as scapegoats to spearhead their own campaign against social media influencers.

“The Economic Court in Cairo sentenced Mawada al-Adham and Haneen Hossam and three others to two years in prison and fined them 300,000 Egyptian pounds each,” the state-owned website al-Ahram reported.

“They are accused of violating the values and principles of Egyptian society and posting indecent photos and videos disturbing to public morals,” al-Ahram added.

Hossam who has 1.3 million followers and one of the two women who was named in court was arrested in April after advertising in a three-minute clip that girls could make money by working with her, the AFP news agency reports.

The other, Adhan who has about two million followers was arrested in May after posting satirical videos on TikTok and Instagram.

Although it is not apparent the kind of videos the authorities would take an interest in, the women have been charged with instigating “debauchery” and “immorality” with the content they share on the video-sharing platform, correspondents revealed.

“Inciting of debauchery” under Egyptian law usually classifies a range of offences. However, the public prosecutor’s office often defines the charge as something that is “against Egyptian society’s traditions and morals”.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: July 29, 2020


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