The Egyptian Prime Minister Issues New Decree on Personal Photography in Public Places

Egyptian Prime Minster Mostafa Madbouly issued Decree No. 2720 of 2022 on Rules for Personal Photography in Public Places. The decree applies to Egyptian citizens, foreigners, and foreign residents.

Content of the Decree

Decree No. 2720 of 2022, which applies throughout all of the Egyptian territories, allows  a person to take personal photos in most public places using all kinds of cameras, including personal video cameras, without prior permission from Egyptian authorities. (Decree No. 2720 of 2022, arts. 1, 2 & 3.)

The decree bars taking personal photos in what the government considers sensitive locations. These include places affiliated with the Ministry of Defense and Military Production, security institutions, and judicial and legislative institutions. It also bans individuals from taking photos of any government building. (Art. 4.)

In addition to bans on taking personal photographs near sensitive locations and taking photos of government buildings, the decree prohibits the use of equipment that blocks public roads, professional photography equipment, and outdoor artificial lighting gear. (Art. 3, para. 2.)

The decree prohibits individuals from taking personal photos that might be “offensive” (musee’a) to the country or Egyptian citizens, or violate public morals. (Art. 5(1).) However, it does not provide a definition of what amounts to an offensive photo. Taking photos of minors is also forbidden. (Art. 5(2).)

Finally, the decree requires individuals who are interested in taking personal photos of Egyptian citizens in public places to obtain their written consent beforehand. (Art. 5(3).)

Promoting the New Decree Among Foreigners

On August 10, 2022, during a Cabinet meeting, the prime minister stressed that it is vital to promote Decree No. 2720 in different languages for the sake of foreigners visiting Egypt. Additionally, he declared that the new rules regulating personal photography must be placed at all entrances to government buildings and be made available at foreign embassies in Egypt, Egyptian airports, and other points of entry.

Permits for Foreign Journalists

In contrast to private persons, foreign journalists and TV channels are required to obtain permits from the State Information Service before filming and taking photos in public places, according to Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Enany.

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