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Egypt newspaper censored over insult to president

The paper has been fiercely critical of Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi
Image: AP Photo/Haggag Salama

AN EGYPTIAN COURT yesterday ordered the Saturday editions of an Egyptian newspaper confiscated over allegations it insulted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi and instigated sectarian discord.

Editions of Al-Dustour, a privately owned daily, were seized after several individuals filed lawsuits accusing it of “fueling sedition” and “harming the president through phrases and wording punishable by law”.

It was not clear whether the paper was barred from publishing completely. Newspaper al-Masry al-Youm said authorities have removed al-Dustour from newsstands.

The paper, a tabloid owned by a Christian businessman, has been fiercely critical of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood while showing strong support for the military council, which took power after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in last year’s uprising. Both Morsi and the military council are in midst of power struggle.

Saturday’s edition featured a lengthy front-page article warning of a Brotherhood “emirate” seizing Egypt and calling on Egyptians to join ranks with the military to confront Islamists. The lawsuits also accuse the paper of inflammatory coverage of recent sectarian violence.

Several days earlier, a TV network was ordered off the air over allegations it suggested the killing of Morsi. The network, el-Faraeen, broadcasts populist talk show host Tawfiq Okasha, a former Mubarak loyalist who regularly expresses enmity toward the revolution and the Muslim Brotherhood on his show.

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The Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s most influential Islamic political group, came under heavy criticism after its lawmakers, packed in the parliament’s upper house, moved to replace chief editors of Egypt’s state-run newspapers.

On Thursday, journalists staged small protests and columnists left their columns blank in protest of attempts by the Brotherhood to control the papers instead of reforming them.

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Associated Press

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