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Egypt freezes new satellite channel permits

Thursday 08 Sep 2011
Egypt’s interim government froze all new satellite television permits yesterday in an effort to address “media unruliness”, the state-run MENA news agency reported.

The decision came after government officials met with generals from the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

“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 report said the meeting was called to discuss “media unruliness and its effects on citizens… and upcoming elections” this autumn.

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 legislature are due later this fall.