The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) launched on 11 July the daily Al Watani Al Yom (The Patriot Today) “which seeks to affirm the values of liberty, justice and social equality,” as stated in the newspaper’s opening editorial.
As the partisan press has suffered a drop in readership in recent years, Al Watani Al Yom can be seen as an attempt to compete with the new independent publications for the minds and hearts of Egyptians. The 28-page daily’s layout is similar in format to the country’s most successful independent papers and its title rhymes with Egypt’s leading independent daily, Al Masry Al Youm (The Egyptian Today), a title that has seen remarkable growth since its launch in 2004.
The newspaper, which replaces the defunct NDP’s publication Mayo, describes itself as “a free daily in a free country,” and published in its first issue a letter from President Hosni Mubarak calling the paper to offer the citizen reliable news and facts.
The publication was launched the day after the parliament passed a controversial new press law that continues to allow for prison sentences for press crimes.