Egyptian Laws Send Mixed Messages to Photographers

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Today, Egypt announced moves to “ban” photography it deems less than flattering while also making it so photographers don’t need a permit for regular tourist street photography.

five persons riding camels walking on sand beside Pyramid of Egypt
Five people riding camels walking on sand beside Pyramid of Egypt. Photo by Simon Berger

It seems to be somewhat mixed messaging.

What gives?

PetaPixel reports that there will be three regulated types of photography, personal, foreign media, and cinematography. While personal photography used to require permits, it will not do so any longer and Egypt’s culture minister stresses that no one should tell tourists otherwise. For cinematographic users, a ten-day permit will be issued.

Photography of children will not be permitted and adults need to give their consent to being photographed or filmed, the rules summarise.

So, why the sudden change? A couple of high-profile tourists to Egypt experienced less-than-ideal conditions during their stay and this prompted a reexamination on the part of the Egyptian government as to how it approaches its relationship with photographers. Being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world (and, easily, one of the most photographed), this kind of reform makes a lot of sense.

The YouTube show Best Ever Food Review Show, which travels the world sampling different local cuisines, posted a video in April that outlined the various problems the channel had filming on the streets of Egypt. In that case, the creator’s equipment was confiscated, making filming to the standard the show is accustomed to nearly impossible.

And there’s the further concern that the changes to the law are not that well defined. After all, being “offensive” can sometimes be up to personal taste or situational yet that is the descriptor used to delineate a photo or video that is “unacceptable.”

Of course, if you have any experience with photography in Egypt or an opinion on their laws governing street photography, let us know in the comments below.

Check out some other photography news on Light Stalking at this link right here.

[PetaPixel]

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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