On Sunday, Egypt's parliament passed a controversial law that gives the state the right to regulate social media "influencers."
Under the controversial law, the state can regulate the accounts - private or public - of users with more than 5,000 followers. The state considers these pages as "media outlets," and are therefore subject to the country's media laws, according to BBC.
A number of "popular accounts" on various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, are now under the direct supervision of the Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media.
"Since this new legislation goes hand in hand with a wave of arrests of journalists that openly target media workers who collaborate with opposition media, it is a clear attempt at ensuring only the official version of current affairs appear in the media," Sophie Anmuth, who works with Reporters Without Borders, told a media outlet.
The law also gives the country's media regulator the legal right to block websites and file complaints against those who "incite people to violate laws." People who defame religion or other individuals are also subject to risk.
Prior to the passing of the controversial law, rights groups warned that this would increase censorship in the country.
"These proposed laws would increase the Egyptian government's already broad powers to monitor, censor and block social media and blogs, as well as criminalize content that violates vaguely defined political, social or religious norms," said Najia Bounaim, Director of Campaigns in North Africa at Amnesty International.
One provision, which would've "allowed pre-trial detentions of journalists was amended after pressure from the journalists' syndicate," according to BBC.
Crackdown on journalists, bloggers, and activists is already at an all-time high
Earlier this year, Egyptian authorities arrested a number of journalists, bloggers, and activists in a continued crackdown on the independent press within the country.
Among those detained was Wael Abbas, a high-profile Egyptian journalist, campaigner, and blogger-in-chief for the website Misr [email protected] He was allegedly blindfolded and arrested by security forces who raided his home.
In 2016, Abbas' Twitter account was suspended - and still is - for reasons that were not made clear at the time.
According to The Guardian, the suspension involved the deletion of "over 250,000 tweets, dozens of thousands of pictures, videos and live streams from the middle of every crisis in Egypt with a date stamp on them, reporting on people who got tortured, were killed or went missing."
Writers, especially journalists, have been at the forefront of the crackdown.
In 2016, 40 armed members of the National Security Agency attacked journalists at the Press Syndicate, the first time since it was established in 1941. Amnesty International called it "the most brazen attack on the media" in Egypt in decades.
In 2015, a CPJ-conducted census found that Egyptian authorities were holding at least 19 journalists behind bars for their work.
This is the highest number in the country since the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) began recording data on imprisoned journalists in 1990, and the third highest of any country in the world.
In May, Egyptian authorities arrested three bloggers, including Shadi Abu Zeid, whose satirical videos have gained wide popularity in the country.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called on Egyptian authorities and demanded it reevaluates its definition of terrorism.
"Not to confuse disrespect with terrorism," RSF wrote.
According to BBC Arabic, Abu Zeid was arrested on charges of "spreading false news" and "joining a banned group."
Soon after Abu Zeid's arrest, the CPJ expressed concern over the vlogger's detention.
The 2014 Egyptian Constitution protects "freedom of expression"
Egypt's constitution, drafted in 2014, explicitly guarantees freedom of artistic and literary creation, freedom of thought and opinion, and freedom of the press.
Article 67 forbids the jailing of artists and writers for publishing their work.
"Every person shall have the right to express his/her opinion verbally, in writing, through imagery, or by any other means of expression and publication," the constitution clearly states.
However, many have gone against the constitution with the enforcement of other laws, including Article 178 of the penal code, which criminalizes content that violates public morals.