A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked the scheduled merger of the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, pending further action on a citizens group's appeal.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued the stay late Thursday, putting at least a temporary halt to plans for the newspapers to combine their commercial operations early next week.It will remain in effect until the full court reviews a three-judge panel's ruling last week upholding a joint operating agreement between the two newspapers.