Back in August, opposition newspapers in Egypt reported that president Hosni Mubarak's health has deteriorated, as well as speculation about the succession.
It seems that this is a sensitive topic among the ruling elite,
because in a rare reaction, Mubarak was interviewed in Al Ahram, the
semi official newspaper and the headline read : "I know who is
spreading these rumors and their objectives".
Editorials in that
newspaper, and other media outlets poured out in support of Mubarak.
Even the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar was enlisted, giving a Friday sermon on rumor mongering.
One severe critic of Mubrark, journalist Ibrahim Issa, was brought to trial for the charge of spreading false rumors.
Four journalists were quickly convicted
for "libel and slander against president Hosni Mubarak" as well as
"spreading false rumors that insult the ruling National Party"!