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Egypt: Court rejects request for blocking websites

BBC Monitoring

Text of Paris-based media freedom organization Reporters Sans Frontieres press release on 3 January

Reporters Without Borders hails the decision taken by the administrative court of Egypt's state council on 29 December not to block access to 51 websites which judge Abdel Fattah Murad, the head of the Alexandria court, had accused of defaming and attacking the president. A total of 21 sites, including Baheyya and Gharbeia, two popular blogs, and the site of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, were initially accused of attacking the president by Judge Murad on 11 March, after allegations circulated on the blogosphere that a book by the judge on the Internet's legal challenges had been plagiarised. The judge subsequently added another 30 websites to his complaint. The administrative court ruled that the sites were just content hosts and, as such, not responsible for the comments that might be posted on them. Judge Ahmed Hassaan, the head of the administrative court, refused to block the sites and denied that they had violated the constitution, as Murad had cla! imed.

Source: Reporters Sans Frontieres press release, Paris, in English 1000 gmt 3 Jan 08

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