Egypt: Opposition TV adverts blocked

By Nangayi Guyson – Egyptian opposition Wafd party on Monday reported that state TV has refused to air advertisements from the opposition and the print shops working for the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) had been asked not to print Wafd campaign literature, signaling a squeeze on opposition campaigning before a November election.

“We were informed the day before yesterday that Egyptian television has refused to air our advertising although it is paid for,” said Wafd spokesperson Mohamed Sherdy in a Reuters report.

“Print shops are scared now to print anything for us,” he said. “Why should I go to a print shop and he says ‘I’ll print for you but please come at three in the morning like a thief’? What’s this? What type of life are we living here?”

Sherdy said privately-owned television channel Mehwar had at first refused to air Wafd’s advertising campaign but broadcast it on Sunday.

Government critics say electoral rules and restrictions on opposition groups make it easier for the ruling NDP to dominate Egyptian politics.

The NDP swept most seats in a June election to the upper house of parliament. Rights groups complained of abuses, but the government said the vote was free and fair.

President Hosni Mubarak, in power since 1981, has not said if he will run for a sixth term in office. If he does not, many believe his former investment banker son Gamal, 46, will stand.