The speaker of the Shura Council, Egypt's upper house of parliament, said the new appointments would be announced later on Monday, reported the government-owned press.

Among those to be replaced are Ibrahim Nafie, 74, editor of Al-Ahram and Ibrahim Saada, 68, of Akhbar al-Youm. Both men were appointed by late president Anwar Sadat, in 1979 and 1978 respectively.

The two men along with other editors face lawsuits for remaining in their positions long after official retirement age. Retirement age for government employees is 60 years old.

Entrenched 

Saada, who also serves as chairman of the board of directors for semi-official Akhbar al-Yom newspaper, complained in a column last month of an "unethical" media campaign against leaders of the state-guided media.

The change in management is not expected to lead to a change in the tone of the newspapers and magazines that make up the government-owned press. The likely candidates to replace the old editors are also known for their loyalty to the state.

Critics say that by its nature, state-owned media contradicts reforms that some Middle Eastern governments like Egypt's say they are committed to making.

Media stirrings

Opposition and independent dailies and weeklies have embarrassed the conservative government press and media by covering the political changes occurring in Egypt.

Most news featuring opposition groups and their leaders are largely ignored or trivialised by the official press.

With presidential and parliament elections due later this year, there has been an unprecedented spate of protests in Egypt calling for an end to the rule of 77-year-old President Hosni Mubarak, who is widely expected to run again.