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8 August 2006

In a procedure violating press freedom and the right to exchange information, Al-Ahram newspaper, the largest press foundation in the Middle East and North Africa, installed a filter to block websites that the newspaper find unfit fro journalists to browse while on Al-Ahram internal network, which serves nearly 15 thousand staff members, including around 2 thousand journalists.

Several Al-Ahram journalists expressed their concert towards such a procedure that restricts their capability to browse several websites, in particular blogs affiliated to google ( Journalists also expressed their fear that blocking websites will expand to include all websites that the Al-Ahram administration might not see fit.

“This is a serious and erroneous procedure, especially when it is practiced by a press foundation such as Al-Ahram. Such an action is in contradiction with the supposed role of the foundation,” Gamal Eid, Executive Director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo), said. “We hope that the foundation will correct this procedure and uphold press freedom and the right of journalists to exchange information,” he added.

Attached is an image of the message that appears when journalists in Al-Ahram attempt to visit blocked websites: