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Egypt newspapers strike in protest of draft press bill

[JURIST] Twenty-five independent and opposition newspapers in Egypt [JURIST news archive] refrained from publishing on Sunday in a pre-planned strike [JURIST report] designed to protest the lack of legal protection afforded to journalists as reflected in a draft press law that permits judges to determine whether to imprison journalists for committing media offenses, including alleging that state officials are involved in financial impropriety. The bill, opposed by the Federation of Arab Journalists [JURIST report] and the opposition Muslim Brotherhood [party website], received preliminary approval in the Egyptian parliament Saturday.

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

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