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Egyptian media blackout ordered on referendum weekend

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces orders media blackout on constitutional issues starting Friday, saying it will help citizens form independent views

Ahram Online, Thursday 17 Mar 2011
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Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has issued a media gag order from Friday morning to Saturday night, barring local and foreign newspapers, websites, and radio as well as TV channels, from publishing or broadcasting any material that might urge citizens to vote 'Yes' or 'No' to constitutional amendments planned for Saturday.

The Council stated that a media blackout over the referendum is necessary for creating a truely democratic environment, giving citizens enough time to form their own opinion and express it with independence, says state-run news agency MENA citing a press release by the Supreme Council.

Egyptians will take Saturday 19 March off in order to cast their votes in the anticipated constitutional referendum, a spokesman of the Supreme Council announced Sunday.

Citizens will vote whether to approve the constitutional amendments, which are designed to pave the way for free presidential elections, by a simple “Yes” or “No”.

The proposed constitutional amendments, proposed by a council of legal experts and set to go to a referendum, are stirring much discussion in Egypt. As campaigning heads into its last few days, opposition groups and figures from the ranks of the revolution have come out against the amendments while some established political actors are with the “Yes” campaign.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is running Egypt on a temporary basis along with a newly formed transitional government following the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak on 11 February.

   

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