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Egyptian channel suspended by authorities

Sept. 12, 2011 at 9:12 AM

CAIRO, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Al-Jazeera's live news channel in Egypt was raided by Egyptian authorities, who confiscated equipment and arrested a broadcast engineer, officials say.

The Information Ministry launched an operation Sunday with the Interior Ministry's censorship department to check permits for 16 television channels broadcasting from Egypt, al-Masry al-Youm reported.

Al-Jazeera's Mubasher Misr office head Ahmed Zein said the station submitted a request to renew its broadcasting permit four months ago, but was told to just continue broadcasting as normal.

Egyptian authorities told Zein they would renew the channel's permits as soon as possible, but instead raided the channel's office on Sunday.

Information Minister Osama Heikal said Wednesday the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the cabinet decided to temporarily suspend giving out new permits to satellite channels and to prosecute any channel deemed threatening to the stability of the country.

Egyptian activist groups say the decision is a regression to the oppressive Mubarak regime.

Mubasher Misr lawyer Islam Lotfy said suspending the channel was a "foolish political decision".

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