A federal judge's ruling that delays a joint operating agreement for Michigan's two largest daily newspapers created new uncertainty for readers and employees of the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News.

In Washington, D.C., U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green Wednesday delayed until Sept. 17 the implementation of the business merger of the two papers that had been approved by Attorney General Edwin Meese."The people of the Free Press have gone through 28 months of uncertainty and now they still don't know what will happen to them and this newspaper. All this comes as hundreds of people at this newspaper and at the News have just found out whether they would have jobs . . . and whether they would not," said David Lawrence, the Free Press publisher.

Implementation of the Joint Operating Agreement was to have begun Thursday.