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Middle East

Egypt's President al Sisi moves to ban foreign publications seen as offensive to religion

media Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi Reuters/Hassan Ammar/Pool

The decree grants the Prime Minister the power to ban the re-publication and distribution of material produced abroad. This broadening of powers around censorship comes as Egypt's Grand Mufti expressed his disapproval about Charlie Hebdo's latest front cover.

The decree outlining the ban was published in the official State Journal yesterday, according to Al-Ahram, Egypt's largest daily.

This transfers certain presidential powers governing the press to the Prime Minister, in this case from a law decreed in the 1930s.

The ruling in question says that foreign publications can be banned in Egypt in order to "maintain order in society".

As the original law is from 1936, this only applies to printed media.

Click for RFI reports of the Charlie Hebdo killings

Yesterday, Egypt's Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam also advised the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo against publishing their latest cartoon.

Allam previously described the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo as a "terrorist act".

However he said that the drawing of the Prophet Mohammed could spark "a new wave of hatred" in France and beyond.

The office of the Grand Mufti has called on the French government to reject the publication of the picture, which it has described as a racist act.

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