Egypt orders crackdown on ‘unruly’ broadcast media

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CAIRO: The Egyptian government ordered a freeze on new satellite television permits on Wednesday after a meeting with top generals to address "media unruliness," the state MENA news agency reported.

"It was decided in the meeting to stop issuing licenses for satellite channels temporarily," the news agency quoted Information Minister Osama Haikal as saying.

He said the cabinet had also tasked "the investments authority with taking legal measures against (existing) satellite channels that shake stability and security in this period."

The meeting was called to discuss "media unruliness and its effects on citizens… and upcoming elections" this autumn.

Human rights lawyer Gamal Eid told AP that the decision is vague and has an open-ended timeframe, giving the transitional leadership illegal powers to rein in potential media criticism in the run-up to November’s parliamentary election.

The ministers and generals also resolved to "use all means against thuggery," after clashes between police and football fans injured nearly 80 people at a Cairo stadium late on Tuesday, MENA said.

The disturbances erupted when fans started chanting slogans against ousted president Hosni Mubarak and torched dozens of cars.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces headed by Mubarak’s longtime defense minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi has ruled Egypt since a popular uprising forced the veteran strongman from power in February.

Parliamentary elections to replace the dissolved Mubarak-era legislature are due this autumn.


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