Chérif Choubachy, ex-director of the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram’s Paris office and a former news anchor in Egypt, recently published the book A bas Sibawayh, (Down with Sibawayh), which sparked an outcry in the Arab world. More
«Who killed the newspaper?» was the title in September of the British weekly, The Economist. This “obituary” did not leave the World Editors Forum (WEF) impassive, the organization for Editors within the World Association of Newspapers, which wasted no time in polling editors-in-chief, deputy editors and other senior news executives.
Shortly after the attacks of September 11, Khadija Darid, a Canadian of Moroccan origin who has lived in Quebec for the past 18 years, decided to start a magazine for the Arab community in Canada, whose image had been quite tarnished.
David in 1937 in Bernay, France, in the heart of Normandy, she would
later become Zakia Daoud in 1963, and one of the most emblematic
characters of Moroccan journalism. The reputation of that self-taught
woman who left school when she was 16 is mostly due to Lamalif, an
audacious French speaking publication that she founded in 1966 with her
husband, Mohamed Loghlam.
debate at this year's World Editor Forum was about the lessons learned
from the Danish cartoon crisis. Overall the discussion, and the
audience fray afterward, descended into the same kind of cross
accusations and pandering to populism that the cartoon incident itself
According to Mohammed Jasem Al Saqr , an acclaimed Arab journalist and editor of the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas,
very few newspapers in the Arab world are perceived as credible
sources. Because most media establishments are owned directly or
indirectly by the government, there is little breathing room.
Are Arab media
getting more freedom? How do editors choose front-page headlines? What
are the reasons for the advertising underinvestment in the Middle East?
More than 1000 participants from 56 countries gathered in Dubai to
discuss these questions at the “Arab and World Media” conference
organized by the Arab Thought Foundation on 5-6 December.
Arab newspapers do not have a strong culture of photojournalism.
However, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), competition with new media
and the increasing number of English-language newspapers have led
editors to change their view on the use of photos.
What is the
place of the newspaper in society? What sets it apart from, and above,
its rivals? Are newspapers succumbing too easily to the temptation to
become more populist? How do they increase readership and broaden their
Newspapers have grown into just one of many media that make up our
information society. The newspaper is not the most powerful of them.
Radio, TV and the Internet are faster, more diverse, and often more
appealing. Moreover, and more importantly, it no longer controls how
news is circulated, nor does it set the tone for our collective
In April 2003 a story appeared in the Cairo Times that highlighted the need for frank discussion about HIV/AIDS in Egypt. The article, entitled "Running a Silent Risk", uncovered troubling misconceptions about the disease and exposed the stigma attached to those infected with HIV in Egypt.
private TV channel Al-Safwa's daily discussion programme "On the Air"
recently discussed on the current state of the Egyptian press and ways
to improve it. The guests were Lamis al-Hadidi, editor-in-chief of
Egyptian daily Al-Alam al-Yawm, Abd-al-Halim Qandil, editor of Egyptian opposition daily Al-Arabi al-Nasiri and Khayri Ramadan, editor of Al-Ahram al-Arabi.
According to Al
Jazeera, "Egypt's government-appointed newspaper editors, some of whom
have been in their posts for more than a quarter of a century, are
replaced by a younger generation of journalists... Among those to be
replaced are Ibrahim Nafie, 74, editor of Al-Ahram and Ibrahim Saada, 68, of Akhbar al-Youm."
Arab street" is a major study that cannot be ignored by media from
around the world: it gives a totally new vision of what is the Arab
public opinion today. Especially I recommend the section called
"rethinking terrorism" (see below the synthesis of the study).
It happens in a
lot of African countries where buying a newspaper is relatively
expensive compared to the average standard of life. Here,
Publishing-Industry.Net reports about the Moroccon sitiuation:
"Morocco's publishing industry has decided to take a stand to confront
the economic crisis that the industry faces in the name of "renting"
newspapers instead of buying them.
An article in the French weekly, Courrier International
summarizes how national dailies in Egypt are biased in regards to the
government. The survey shows how important papers can be in influencing
The Jerusalem Post
reports that an Israeli think tank, Keshev Centre for Protection of
Democracy and its Palestinian colleagues at the Ramallah-based Miftah
are undergoing a joint project to survey the media covering the
Although the Iraqi elections may have been a success, The New York Times
feels that the Bush administration still has to get through to the
average Arab. The best way to do that; through the Arab media.
the BBC, three daily newspapers and a number of weeklies serve the
400,000 Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. While
many of the weeklies are affiliated to specific political
organizations, two of the dailies are independent and the third daily
is owned largely by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
In three separate surveys of national Middle Eastern newspapers in Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Iraq
the BBC reports that the impact of the internet is being felt. The
articles mainly focus on competition between papers, press freedom, and
circulation difficulties caused by war.
It was a
fascinating moment when several editors and publishers of the Gulf
region agreed to create a common Newspapers Association (through a
promising 12 people steering committee). Just because it was impossible
to imagine that two or three years ago.
plenty of media conferences in the Gulf area: last week in Abu Dhabi
and next week in Dubai. What was said in Abu Dhabi is very important.
According to AFP, "A conference on Arab media which opened here Sunday
heard calls by two Emirati officials for the Arab world to embrace
reform and not allow extremists to hinder change in the name of Islam."
Find here the presentation the World Editors Forum Director made at the first Middle East Publishing Conference held in Dubai on 17 and 18 January 2005. Bertrand Pecquerie speaks about what he considers the main obstacles in the development of Arab newspapers.
Originally written in English, the Sudanese newspaper Sudan Mirror
celebrated its first anniversary in October 2004 by adding an Arabic
edition - a small but significant step toward reconciliation in a land
marked by acrimony between the Christian south, where English is
generally spoken, and the Arab-speaking Muslim north.
Editor & Publisher remarked the lack of coverage of Iraqi papers in US media. The Week Magazine, according to Editor & Publisher, "is one of the few places to publish occasional excerpts from Iraqi editorials." Other US newspapers with bureaus in Baghdad justify their imbalanced coverage with a lack of truthfulness in Iraqi news.