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Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Monday, 8 October 2007 11:24 UK

Egypt press protests 'harassment'

Empty newsstand in Cairo
The trials of newspaper editors have been criticised internationally

More than 20 independent and opposition newspapers in Egypt did not publish on Sunday in protest at what they say is government harassment of the press.

Seven journalists have been sentenced to prison recently for defaming the president and misquoting a minister.

One editor is on trial for harming national security after his paper questioned President Mubarak's health.

Trials of newspaper editors have been strongly criticised by the US and international human rights groups.

The independent newspaper, al-Masry al-Youm, said it was also protesting against the journalists' association, which it said had failed to deal with the crisis facing its members.

Pro-government newspapers criticized the protest. One said the protest was a result of "pressures from an unknown power".

Another pro-government newspaper said that the protest was driven by "personal issues" .



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