Confrontation intensifies in Egypt
Cairo: Egyptian media Monday joined hands with the mostly secular Opposition against Islamist President Mohamed Mursi as several newspapers printed front-page headlines saying "No to Dictatorship", escalating the biggest political crisis not seen since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak.
As confrontation intensified between oppositon and Mursi after the latter assumed absolute power through decrees last month, three private channels today announced to leave their screens blank tomorrow.
Eleven independent newspapers protested against a disputed new constitution declaring they will not bring out editions tomorrow, denouncing the moves by Mursi to go ahead with the proclamation of the new constitution without the participation of the liberals and Christian members, local media reports said.
Three of them carried the same cartoon on their front pages today depicting a mock up of a man made up from newspapers imprisoned in a solitary cell with chains around his feet. The accompanying headline read "No to constitution that limits freedoms, no to dictatorship".
Protests by the media comes on the heels of judicial rebellion against Mursi, where the country's Supreme Constitutional Court has declared an open-ended strike on the day it is supposed to rule on the legitimacy of two key assemblies controlled by the Islamist leader.
The strike announced by the court yesterday coincides with Opposition plans to march to the Presidential palace to take the political crisis in the country to a new level.
The work strike by Egypt's highest court comes after the body in a statement yesterday condemned the protests that blocked judges from entering the building, describing the events as a "dark day" for the judiciary.
Judges from the country's appeals courts and its sister lower courts are already on an indefinite strike.
The media was the latest section to join the strike against Mursi who last week issued decree expanding his powers and rushed through the adoption of a draft constitution.
The president's decree also barred any judicial body from dissolving the Islamist-dominated panel that drafted the charter.
Last time, Egypt faced a judicial strike and a newspaper blackout was in 1919 when the country united in an uprising against the British colonial rule.
The current political crisis is the biggest since long-time ruler Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising in February last year.
The decision not to publish newspapers was taken at a meeting called by the National Committee for the Defense of freedom of opinion and expression.
A resolution, unanimously adopted, also called for keeping television screens blank, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported. Gamal Fahmy, Director of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate, and Karem Mahmoud, secretary of the union also attended the meeting.