Egypt court cancels restrictions imposed on SMS news alerts
Nov 27, 2010, 12:28 GMT
Cairo - An Egyptian court overruled on Saturday a decision by the telecommunications authority to impose restrictions on media companies that send out news alerts to cell phones.
The Administrative Court said the government's action were a restriction on freedom of expression and an unjustified intrusion on the SMS alert services. It is not yet clear if the government will try to appeal the verdict.
Last month, the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) said that some 30 media companies operating in Egypt needed to obtain a permit to continue sending out news alerts to clients.
Media companies targeted included independent newspapers and channels considered to be critical of the government.
The daily al-Masry al-Youm said that to keep SMS rights they 'were expected to pay' 500,000 Egyptian pounds (87,700 dollars) for the permit and an additional 500,000 Egyptian pounds for insurance in case they were found violating the new regulations.
Rights groups described the restrictions as another way to crack down on opposition ahead of this Sunday's parliamentary elections and next year's scheduled presidential vote.
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