Egypt Moves to Control Media Before Elections

14 October 2010

Egypt has imposed new media restrictions that will effectively put all live broadcasts, including television talk shows and news bulletins, under the control of state television.

Several Egyptian private broadcast service providers said Wednesday they had received letters from the country's telecommunications regulator - the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority - ending their permits to offer live broadcasts starting Friday. The companies said they are now required to get new licenses from state television.

On Tuesday, the regulator set new rules for companies that send out text message news alerts to mobile phones. Activists say the restrictions will stifle efforts to mobilize voters for November's parliamentary elections.

Last week, the Egyptian Journalists' Union accused the government of cracking down on media critical of the authorities, and the leading independent al-Dustour newspaper fired its chief editor, outspoken government critic Ibrahim Eissa.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.