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Egypt dailies plan strike to protest draft publications bill

[JURIST] The editors of seven independent newspapers in Egypt [JURIST news archive] plan to go on strike Sunday to protest the lack of legal protection afforded to journalists, the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm [media website, in Arabic] reported Tuesday. The strike is scheduled for the same day the Egyptian parliament is expected to discuss a draft publications law touted by the government as affording journalists greater protection from jail time. The Federation of Arab Journalists, however, has announced its opposition to the bill [JURIST report], which allows judges to determine whether imprisonment is appropriate rather than abolishing jail sentences completely. The newspaper editors say a provision of the draft law that authorizes jail time for journalists who discuss the private property or financial information of public figures is particularly egregious.

Human rights groups have condemned [JURIST report] last week's court decision to sentence a controversial newspaper editor to a year in prison for criticizing Mubarak. Three journalists are now on trial [JURIST report] for publishing the names of two judges accused of rigging results in a runoff poll [JURIST report] in last year's parliamentary elections. AFP has more.

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