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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2005, 21:16 GMT 22:16 UK
Egypt campaign coverage 'biased'
By Magdi Abdelhadi
BBC News, Cairo

Egyptian on his mobile passes giant billboard of Hosni Mubarak
Mubarak is widely expected to win the election
A group monitoring Egypt's first ever presidential election has strongly criticised the way the state-owned press is covering the campaign.

The Cairo Centre for the Study of Human Rights said coverage was grossly unbalanced and biased in favour of the incumbent, Hosni Mubarak.

It accused state-run national papers of giving far more space to Mr Mubarak's campaign than to any of his opponents.

Mr Mubarak is seeking another six-year term after being in power for 24 years.

Little-known competitors

The centre's report said some of the state-run national press was even altogether critical of Mr Mubarak's rivals, but failed to publish any criticism of the president himself.

It said state television had so far performed much better than the press, but it still falls far short of standards of impartiality.

Some independent newspapers were also criticised for failing the test of balance and objectivity.

The centre says it will continue to monitor the coverage of the campaign in the hope that the press and the media can improve.

No-one here is doubting that Mr Mubarak will win, because none of his opponents has any broad-based support and most of them are virtually unknown to the public.

That is why attention is focused on the electoral process itself and whether Egypt can leave behind the reputation of rigged elections and embrace the politics of a free and fair vote.

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