Egypt press refuses to print to protest 'tyranny'

Egyptian independent and opposition newspapers refused to publish their Tuesday editions in protest against lack of press freedom in the country's draft constitution, set for a popular referendum on December 15.

The move was in order to "stand up to tyranny," independent daily Al-Tahrir said on its website.

"The Egyptian Independent objects to continued restrictions on media liberties, especially after hundreds of Egyptians gave their lives for freedom," read a message on that newspaper's website, its only viewable content on Tuesday morning.

Daily Al-Masry Al-Youm said the papers were "protesting against the articles on the press in the draft constitution... and reject (President Mohamed Morsi's) November 22 decree."

The decree gave Morsi new sweeping powers, placing his decisions and the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly, which drafted the charter, beyond judicial oversight.

The charter has raised human rights concerns, including over freedom of expression and freedom of worship for religions other than Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Activists say it opens the door to implementing a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Government newspapers, including Al-Ahram, went to print as usual on Tuesday.

Private television channels are to join the protest on Wednesday, refusing to broadcast, some newspapers said.

The constitution has become the focal point of Egypt's biggest political crisis since Islamist Morsi's election June, polarising opinion and causing mass civil unrest.

Opposition will rally at the presidential palace on Tuesday to protest against the charter, the vote and Morsi's decree.

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