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Vodafone: Egypt Forced Us To Send Pro-Government Messages

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(AP/Huffington Post) LONDON -- Vodafone says Egyptian authorities forced it to broadcast pro-government messages during the protests that have rocked the North African nation.

Micro-blogging site Twitter has been buzzing with screen grabs from Vodafone's Egyptian customers showing pro-government text messages sent to them in the run-up to the violent clashes in central Cairo which broke out on Wednesday.

Vodafone Group PLC said in a statement Thursday that Egyptian authorities have been using the country's emergency laws to script text messages to its customers.

The U.K.-based company said it had no ability to change the content of the messages. It called the practice "unacceptable" and said it has protested to Egypt's authorities.

Read the full statement from Vodafone Egypt below:

Statement - Vodafone Egypt
Thursday 3 February 2011

Under the emergency powers provisions of the Telecoms Act, the Egyptian authorities can instruct the mobile networks of Mobinil, Etisalat and Vodafone to send messages to the people of Egypt. They have used this since the start of the protests. These messages are not scripted by any of the mobile network operators and we do not have the ability to respond to the authorities on their content.

Vodafone Group has protested to the authorities that the current situation regarding these messages is unacceptable. We have made clear that all messages should be transparent and clearly attributable to the originator.

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