Egypt’s Crackdown on NGO Funding: How Uncommon?

Global Integrity
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Photo credit: US Mission Geneva (pictured: US nominees for Internet Freedom Fellows (2011), including our friend Andreas Harsono from Indonesia and now-world famous Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas.)

Egypt's military government continues to find novel ways of damaging its international image, this week raiding the offices of 17 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and questioning whether foreign-funded NGOs were responsible for recent unrest in the country.

Foreign funding of civil society organizations has long caught the attention of more authoritarian governments, with the Russian government being among the most notable in constraining foreign funding of NGOs.

Global Integrity has gathered data for several years on whether or not, in law, it is legal for domestic NGOs to accept foreign funding. The chart below, drawn from the Global Integrity Report: 2010, can be sorted and expanded to understand whether NGOs in each of these countries (covered by our Report in 2010) can legally accept foreign funding:

The short version: most countries allow for foreign funding of NGOs. What's also interesting: our data contradicts the New York Times' assertion that Egypt's Law on Associations prohibits foreign funding by suggesting that Egyptian NGOs could in fact accept foreign funding provided that they obtained government approval. Our data could be wrong, and we would welcome clarity from readers on how these laws are interpreted in practice in Egypt (we're looking at you, International Center for Non-Profit Law).

Here's another fun chart from our 2010 Report: whether civil society organizations in these countries are legally required to disclose their sources of funding:

— Nathaniel Heller

Global Integrity
Global Integrity

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