Digital space in MENA region is stifled, reports Amnesty International

Amnesty International published a Human rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Review of 2019 which covers the offline and online violations of human rights in the region. According to the report, during 2019, the MENA region witnessed a crackdown of online dissent voices where 136 individuals were arrested for peacefully expressing their opinions online and 12 countries were reported to be prisoners of conscience. Online censorship and surveillance techniques have also been deployed by some governments. ‘The fact that governments across MENA have a zero-tolerance approach to peaceful online expression shows how they fear the power of ideas that challenge official narratives. Authorities must release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally and stop harassing peaceful critics and human rights defenders,’ said Amnesty International Director for the Middle East and North Africa Philip Luther.