CAIRO: As Egypt’s national press is continuously focused on covering President Hosni Mubarak’s diplomatic visit to the Gulf, with updates of his tour dominating headlines, opposition and independent newspapers are offering more stories related to bird flu, as well as freedom of expression, on their front pages.
According to national newspapers, the talks being held between Mubarak and Gulf heads focus on regional developments in the Middle East and confirm working relations between Gulf countries on one hand and Egypt on the other.
The talks, according to state-owned daily Al-Ahram, touched upon the next Arab Summit taking place in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and the preparations leading up to it. According to the national papers, the president is due to visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during this week.
With national papers toning down reports of the repercussions due to the outbreak of bird flu, other newspapers reported on the continuous protests held by owners of poultry shops and farm houses. Across various governorates, protestors claim that the government’s closing down of stores and confiscating poultry has resulted in massive losses. The protestors also have little faith that they will be rewarded the compensation promised to them by the government.
One protestor held a white banner that read “Treat the government flu first.
Continuing their protests against a one-year prison sentence handed down to a fellow journalist, the independent Al-Masri Al-Youm is waging a fierce campaign, calling on the prosecution to remove the reporter’s sentence.
The reporter’s case was raised by a cabinet official and is not a first. According to the press syndicate, such harassment of journalists will continue “as long as the law allowing such harassment continues. Al-Masri Al-Youm has called upon human rights and press activists to unite in order to abolish a law that permits the prosecution of journalists.
Meanwhile, on an international level, news reports of the discovery of an ancient sun temple in the Ain Shams and Matariya Cairo districts are making headlines. The pharaonic temple, uncovered by Egyptian and German Archaeologists, is believed to be the largest ever discovered in these districts; which previously constituted the ancient city of Heliopolis, according to an Associated Press report.