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Cyberbullying in Egypt: Victim Impact and Legal Actions

In today’s interconnected world, the prevalence of digital communication has given rise to various forms of online abuses, among which cyberbullying remains a significant concern. This article delves into the nuances of “Cyberbullying in Egypt,” exploring its definition, manifestations, and the profound impact it has on individuals. We will examine the types of electronic harassment commonly observed, the psychological and social repercussions for victims, and the legal measures in place to combat such behaviors. By understanding the landscape of cyberbullying in Egypt, we aim to highlight the necessary steps for prevention and intervention in these digital times.

Definition of Electronic Harassment

Electronic harassment refers to any unwanted and abusive behavior that occurs through digital platforms such as social media, messaging apps, or email. It may include threats, insults, harassment, or dissemination of false information with the intent to harm or intimidate.

Definition of Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying encompasses any speech or demonstration of power or control by the perpetrator, exploiting the weakness of the victim or a condition that the perpetrator believes is derogatory to the victim, such as gender, race, religion, physical appearance, health status, mental state, or social status, with the intent to intimidate, ridicule, or exclude the victim from their social circle.

Types of Electronic Harassment

Electronic harassment can take many forms and behaviors directed by the harasser against the victim. Some of the prominent forms include:

  • Direct communication with the victim involving threats, intimidation, or harassment.
  • Sending inappropriate or unethical content to the victim, such as images, videos, written messages, or voice recordings.
  • Hacking into any of the victim’s online accounts.
  • Impersonating the victim by using their images or name.
  • Defaming the reputation of the victim in an unethical manner.
  • Violating the privacy of the victim by publishing or using their personal information without official permission.
  • Monitoring and stalking the victim on various online platforms.
  • Attempting to obtain private information about the victim from close acquaintances.

All these forms and behaviors are examples of electronic harassment, which necessitates a deterrent punishment.

Impact of Electronic Harassment on Victims

The impact of online targeting and cyberbullying on victims can be significant, both psychologically and socially. Electronic harassment and cyberbullying can cause various harmful effects, including:

  • Psychological impact: It can increase levels of stress and anxiety for victims and may lead to deteriorating mental health in general. This may include feelings of depression, low self-esteem, and social isolation.
  • Social impact: Electronic harassment and cyberbullying can affect the social relationships of victims, including friends, family, and the community. Exposure to cyberbullying can lead to a loss of trust in others and a reduction in social engagement.
  • Effects on employment and education opportunities: Electronic harassment and cyberbullying can affect the job and educational opportunities of victims. Exposure to cyberbullying can lead to a decline in academic performance, negative effects on work records, and rejection of job opportunities.

Legal Framework for Combating Harassment and Cyberbullying

The legal framework for combating online harassment and cyberbullying in Egypt consists of several laws and regulations governing cybercrime issues and individual rights. Here is an overview of the main laws related to this:

  • The Egyptian Constitution: Article 57 of the Egyptian Constitution: Guarantees the privacy of individuals, including postal, telegraphic, electronic, and telephone communications. The privacy and confidentiality of these communications are protected and cannot be infringed upon, accessed, or monitored except by a justified court order for a specified period and under the conditions specified by law.
  • Law on Combating Information Technology Crimes (Law No. 175 of 2018): This law is the main law in Egypt for combating various forms of cybercrime, including online harassment and cyberbullying. The law considers abusive behavior online as a punishable offense, and offenders may face fines and imprisonment, depending on the severity of the crime.
  • Penal Code (Law No. 58 of 1937) amended by Law No. 141 of 2021: Some provisions of the Egyptian Penal Code, especially those related to defamation, slander, and insult, have applications that may include harmful behavior online, including harassment and cyberbullying.

Proof of Electronic Harassment

Proving electronic harassment requires the presence of material evidence that demonstrates the occurrence of the incident, such as text messages, emails, images, videos, and screenshots. The evidence may also include call records, video or audio recordings, and other available documents.

Responsibilities of Social Media Platforms in Case of Electronic Harassment

Social media platforms play a crucial role in combating online harassment and cyberbullying due to their prominence as places where such behavior often occurs. While laws and regulations vary by jurisdiction, many countries expect social media platforms to take proactive measures to prevent and address these issues. Here are some key responsibilities of social media platforms in combating online harassment and cyberbullying:

  • Content moderation: Social media platforms are responsible for controlling the content posted on their platforms to ensure that it complies with community guidelines and behavioral standards. This includes removing or restricting access to content that violates policies against harassment, bullying, or hate speech promptly.
  • Reporting mechanisms: Platforms should provide user-friendly reporting mechanisms for users to report cases of harassment or violations. These tools should be readily available and clearly displayed, allowing users to flag abusive content or behavior for review by platform moderators.
  • Response and enforcement: Social media platforms are expected to review and respond quickly to reports submitted about cases of harassment or cyberbullying. This may involve investigating the reported content and taking appropriate actions against offenders (such as removing content or suspending accounts) and notifying affected users of the outcome.

How to File a Report on an Electronic Harassment Incident

Citizens can contact the Internet Investigations Unit by calling the “General Administration of Information Technology” at “0224065052 – 0224065051” or the hotline “108” with the Cybercrime Fighting Department.

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Written By

Munica Ashraf - Legal Compliance

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