Just two days before Egypt's most dissident newspaper editor was forced out of his job, he sat down to type a remarkably prescient editorial. "It's impossible for the Egyptian regime to give up election rigging," wrote Ibrahim Eissa. "So the solution it has devised is that instead of putting a stop to rigging, it will put a stop to the talk about rigging..." More
Asos Hardi is the editor-in-chief and founder of the Awene (Mirror) newspaper in Iraqi Kurdistan. He was invited to speak at the 4th Arab Free Press Forum held in Beirut on 6-7 June 2010, where he shared his knowledge and experience on the business of news publishing in the Arab world. WAN-IFRA caught up with him to get his thoughts on what had been a fascinating two days of discussion. More
In an exclusive editorial for WAN-IFRA's 3 May World Press Freedom Day campaign, Slim Bagga - former editor of Tunisia's opposition monthly, L'Audace - explores why the people of Tunisia should demand a free press.More
WAN-IFRA and the International Publishers Association have called on the French Foreign Affairs Minister, Bernard Kouchner, to monitor press freedom violations in Tunisia and urge authorities in the North African country to respect their international commitment to freedom of expression. More
"Egyptians tend to define themselves based on religion, gender, social class or status, and even by profession or education. But what about those who have a non-Egyptian parent, the so-called halfies?" writes Ethar El-Katatney in one of the winning entries in this year's Mediterranean Journalist Award, an initiative by the Anna Lindh Foundation.More
The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) today condemned the beating of a Tunisian journalist, allegedly by police, and the arrest of another, and called on the Tunisian authorities to abandon their campaign of intimidation against the independent press.More
Mohammed Omar and Mohammed Abou Arkoub, two journalists with the Jordanian-based website AmmanNet, recently participated in an intensive web TV workshop in Beirut, organised by The Arab Newspaper Development Programme (ANDP). Ammannet, which includes among other offerings a web-based radio station, is looking to move into the audiovisual sector. The two journalists returned home with many new ideas. More
Speculation that Egypt's ageing leader could be about to step down and pass power to his son are dominating the Arab press. But although the drama is providing new openings for Egyptian journalists, the underlying politics of presidential succession remain depressingly familiar. More
"One of the best things about my job is helping people make their voices heard", says Tinia Nassif, one of three video journalists at AnnaharTV in Lebanon. "I think it is very important to develop video journalism in the Arab world because the Arab countries need to improve; we need to broaden our horizons while still keeping the beautiful traditions that make this culture unique." More
Buy in is crucial, no project can work without a conviction from the top, says international media consultant David Brewer who collaborated with Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar to launch one of the first web TV channels in the Arab world. APN interviewed David Brewer to have more insight on this project. More
"Our pages were gray and unattractive", says Mourad Rouane, technical director for Algerian newspaper El Watan. "Today they are enjoyable and easier to read thanks to a visual facelift and overhaul of our editorial processes." APN interviewed Mourad Rouane to have more insight about the changes El Watan has been going through and it's new editorial and layout strategies. More
In an investigate report, journalists Rama Najmeh examines the state of kidney diseases in Syria and highlight the insufficiency of treatments. APN showcases journalism from the Arab world in the Arab Journalism Highlights category through republishing articles of excellence as well as interviews with the journalists behind those articles. This category is produced in cooperation with ARIJ, Arab Reporters for Investigative Reporters.
"We discuss similar subjects covered by traditional media, but we try to develop them differently", says AnnaharTV videojournalist Joanna Jarjoura. She joined the AnnaharTV team a few months ago, fresh off the school bench. She is an audiovisual arts graduate, and says she was immediately drawn to the idea of producing videos for AnnaharTV.
"If you post a video on Youtube, it matters if its source is a 70-year old newspaper or an amateur", says Wadih Tueni, IT manager at the Lebanese An-Nahar newspaper. Tueni is convinced that the future of journalism is on the web. In February 2009, he launched AnnanaharTV, the first web TV launched by a newspaper in the Arab region. More
Egyptian publisher Hisham Kassem ushered in an era of open political debate in Egypt when he launched the independent daily Al Masry Al Youm in 2004. With a new daily set to appear early next year, Kassem is hoping to change Egyptian journalism once again. More
In an investigate report, journalists Etaf Rawdan and Mohammad al-Arsan look into the state of the organ trade in Jordan and highlight the inefficiency of the current laws that regulates this trade. This report shows also that poverty is the main reason behind the growth of the black market of organ trade. APN showcases journalism from the Arab world in the Arab Journalism Highlights category through republishing articles of excellence as well as interviews with the journalists behind those articles. This category is produced in cooperation with ARIJ, Arab Reporters for Investigative Reporters.
"We needed more internal coordination", says Omar Belhouchet, managing editor of the Algerian daily El Watan. "Our editorial processes needed to be consolidated, but we also needed to make sure not to stifle our ambition and energy.Two years ago, the respected Algerian El Watan embarked on a challenging overhaul of its editorial and technical processes. As chief editor Fayçal Métaoui said at the time, the project was as comprehensive as it was ambitious. More
The radical overhaul of newspapers prompted by the digital revolution and reinforced by the recent economic crisis is now unavoidable. The sector must respond to the challenges posed by digital technology, but also to new market conditions and consumption habits. Trends in Newsrooms, an annual report by the World Editor's Forum (WEF), attempts to decipher these new industry trends and provide a deeper look into the sector. More
Tawasul is the first online network aimed at young Syrian journalists. Part of a series of initiatives by the Syrian branch of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Center For Journalists (ICFJ), the network was created to give a boost to local media outlets. In an interview with APN, Egyptian journalist Mariam Sami - one of the initiators of Tawasul - explains how the network came about and what it hopes to achieve. More
Press code reform in Morocco has been a painfully slow process. The government appears deaf to calls by both local journalists and international press freedom organisations to abolish laws that are harmful to press freedom. The last reform on record was in 2002, yet no tangible gains have been made since. Some journalists say that the situation for the country's newspapers has even deteriorated. More
Billed as Saudi Arabia's first design magazine, Jeddah-based Design Magazine has come to serve as a platform for young artists, photographers, and designers in Saudi Arabia in its first year of publication. APN had a chat with the magazine's 23-year old Editor in Chief, Kholoud Attar, who says her publication aims to bring to light social issues in her country and the region from an art perspective. More
In just a few years, the Emarat Al Youm daily has become the second largest daily in the UAE. This is the result of a long-term strategy to reach the right target group and interact with the readers on a daily basis. The paper has also invested in design and publishes in tabloid format, which is unusual in the Arab world. APN spoke to managing editor Basel Rafaye'h about the reasons for the paper's success, and upcoming plans. More
El-Shorouk, a daily newspaper launched two months ago in Egypt, has been making international headlines over the past days following what might be a major scoop about a possible US/Israeli air strike on Sudan in January. The newspaper is the latest addition to a newspaper market that has thrived over the past years, and where the independent press seems to have come to stay despite regular attacks from the government in the form of legal threats and security crackdowns. However, there are those who doubt whether El-Shorouk will make a difference to the Egyptian newspaper in terms of editorial quality and innovation. More
"In any other democracy, an article like mine that exposes corruption in the government would lead to immediate resignation of the official in question. But in Kurdistan, it unfortunately means immediate arrest of the journalist." In an interview with APN, Soran Omar, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Rega monthly, discusses the consequences he faces for reporting on corruption and abuse of power. A recent article in his paper has led to death threats from anonymous sources and a lawsuit. More
The number of Arab newspapers licensing their content is on the growth, allowing them to increase their visibility outside the region. While being a fairly new phenomenon in the Arab world, content licensing has already attracted some major titles, such as Gulf News and Khaleej Times. APN spoke to Mark Gatty Saunt, Head of Content Licensing and Sales at the Dubai-based Al Bawaba company, which licenses, aggregates and distributes content from Arab newspapers and other publications through its Syndigate service. More
In an investigate report, journalist Leila Nasr looks at the dire situation of Syrian inventors and the obstacles they face when trying to develop projects. Legal protection and the absence of funds are among the most common reasons for Syrian inventors not being able to invest in their projects. APN republishes Nasr's article, which showcases excellent journalism in the Arab region. More
In the Arab world, newspaper auditing is a burgeoning practice and increasingly seen as a key way for advertisers to know that their money is being appropriately spent and for media to know that their revenue matches their circulation. A few years ago, a small handful of newspapers were audited and circulation figures were rarely publicized, leaving room for arbitrary pricing of advertising space and non-transparent business practices. Now, there are more than 100 audited titles. APN spoke to Aspen Aman, Business Development Manager of BPA Worldwide, the global auditor of the media, about how auditing is quickly taking off across the Middle East and becoming more of a necessity for the most competitive newspapers. More
Media Helping Media (MHM) is a website that brings together a variety of training resources for journalists in a variety of fields, such as media management, investigative journalism and editorial ethics. The aim is to provide a platform for journalists in transition states, post-conflict countries and areas where freedom of expression and media is under threat. More
Next month, the Abu Dhabi-based English-language daily The National will celebrate its first anniversary. The newspaper claims to give Abu Dhabi its own clear voice in the UAE. "We have a large, busy newsroom and a bureau in Dubai gathering domestic news in a more challenging, analytical manner than the country has hitherto seen," said executive editor Colin Randall in an interview with APN. More
One of Lebanon's leading newspapers, the independent An-Nahar, has moved into video production in an effort to reach a new, online audience. The aim is to offer searching, interesting and informative behind-the-scenes journalism aimed at strengthening the brand's presence in the region. The news focus will be based on the same editorial values and thrust as the main print newsroom of An-Nahar, but with the aim to offer a new snap-shot on life in Lebanon, more fitting to those who consume their news through You Tube and social networking sites. More
"Rome was not built in a day," declares Abdul Hamid Ahmad, editor-in-chief of the Dubai-based Gulf News, when speaking of the major change that his newspaper has recently undergone. "We have been planning this for a while. It is a cultural shift and cannot be achieved overnight." Ahmad spoke with APN about Gulf News' recent newsroom integration and the value that he hopes the changes will provide for the daily's readers. More
"My election as President of Distripress is probably a sign of recognition of the growing importance of the Middle East and some other regions of the world in an industry traditionally dominated by its players in Europe and North America. Many countries in these regions show a healthy development even in the field of the 'classical' printed press products but are at this moment less involved in international cooperation and distribution." APN spoke to Tony Jashanmal, Director of the Jashanmal Group in the United Arab Emirates and the first ever president from the Middle East of Distripress, the largest organisation of companies involved in distribution of print media internationally. More
The free monthly Palestinian Al-Hal newspaper has never shied away from covering controversial subjects such as honour killings, illegal marriages and polygamy. APN spoke to editor and founder Nibal Thawabteh about how this unique paper - in both a Palestinian and Arab context - offers readers a look behind normally shut doors. More
"Most Sudanese haven't even touched a computer in their lives. What blogs can do and already are doing, is that they're slowly enabling observers in places like Darfur to share their experiences with the world, just like how Sleepless In Sudan, used to. Such blogs end up receiving a good amount of attention from the mainstream media for research purposes, and become valuable sources of information," says Sudanese blogger Drima in an interview about the Sudanese blogosphere and the opportunities the Internet provides for people who want to make their voices heard in Sudan and beyond. More
Elaph.com, launched in May 2001 by Saudi journalist and businessman Osman el-Omeir, is the most widely read news website in the Arab world not associated with any established print or broadcast medium. In an interview with the APN, Elie Hajj, one of Elaph's senior Lebanon correspondents, noted, "Elaph is not afraid to take risks in putting out its news stories. Because it is based in London, it does not face the same censorship as other media in the Arab world, and is even banned in certain countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia and Syria." More
On the APN website, you find one of the most exhaustive lists of Arab newspapers on the web, with an introduction to the media landcape of each Arab country, a list of the most prominent newspapers in each country and a detailed description of those. The purpose of the list is to give an introduction to the many facets of the Arab press, and not the least, to its very rich history. You find the list in the upper right-hand corner of the APN homepage. More
During a five-day workshop, a group of Moroccan media professionals and journalism students were last week introduced to the concept of visual journalism by colleagues from the United Arab Emirates. The workshop, which dealt with issues such as the relationship between newspaper designers and the editorial team, the role of photography in the Arab press and how to create a style book for a newspaper, was organised by WAN in collaboration with UNESCO in Morocco and the country's only public university-level journalism school ISIC, and aimed at the Arabic-language press in Morocco. More
"altmuslim.com was created in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, when I felt that Muslims were a subject of daily discussion in the news but our voices were absent from that discussion," explains Shahed Amanullah, altmuslim.com founder and editor-in-chief. "I wanted to create a professional Muslim peer to the existing journalistic endeavours out there that could engage in critical exchange." Amanullah spoke with APN about the popular website and his hopes for it to become more involved in the Arab world in the future. More
Strong opinions were expressed in the Arab press as the war in Gaza escalated. In particular, the acts of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak were scrutinized by newspapers from London to Cairo. One of the major Arab-nationalist newspapers, the London-based daily Al-Qods Al-Arabi, ran a story entitled, "Why is the Egyptian government behaving like Israel's shield?", which immediately triggered a storm of comments in newspapers throughout the region. More
Since its launch in April 2007, au fait, Morocco's number one free daily newspaper, has seen its circulation jump from 10,000 to 100,000 copies a day. Managing editor Brahim Sedrati talks to APN about his paper's success and its future in an increasingly challenging environment for print media worldwide. More
Yemeni intelligence services dumped him in the desert. He has been imprisoned, harassed, threatened. His paper has been shut down by the authorities. But Yemeni editor Abdelkarim Al-Khaiwani refuses to give up, or to back down. "I am not going to ask for political asylum. I will not leave my country. That would be like admitting that the regime had won." In an exclusive interview with APN, the former editor of Al-Shoura talks about the difficulties he has faced for years, but also of his determination to fight for free expression in his country, against a government equally determined to muzzle independent journalists. More
Blogs cannot replace newspapers, but in the Arab world, where the state controls much of the press, their place as a forum for free debate is unequalled, according to Wadih Tueni, head of new technologies for the Lebanese daily An-Nahar. More
The Awan daily in Kuwait was the first Arab newspaper to employ a convergent newsroom back in November 2007. "We started by differentiating from other traditional Arabic newspapers where there are rankings: the editor-in-chief and sub-editors. What we have is three editors, one for the website and two for the printed paper," said Dr. Rumaihi, founder and editor of Awan, in an interview with APN. More
Breaking the taboo of rape in Egypt, foot fetishism, homosexuality in Lebanon, self-mutilation, cannibalism and the life of Syrian lingerie are among the subjects to be covered in the first issue of Jasad, a new quarterly magazine that wants to serve as a platform for bodily expressions, both erotic and non-erotic, for people throughout the Arab world. APN spoke to editor Joumana Haddad, who is also the editor of the culture section of the Lebanese An-Nahar daily and a poet. More
Why was the leading Moroccan Arabic-language daily Al Massae recently handed fines of almost 600 000 euros, jeopardizing its entire existence? Who was behind the attack on Rachid Nini, publisher of the newspaper, in the Rabat train station in February 2008? These are questions that Nini is trying to find answers to. In an interview with APN, he paints a bleak picture of the situation for Moroccan newspapers, caught between a vindictive justice system and threats by politicians. More
"There are some newspapers who try more or less to meet certain minimal professional standards. Though, four out of five of these new publications respect a few, or more frequently none of the journalistic rules. Depending on uncertain information, blackmail, corruption, defamation, and spreading rumours as sources of information, the press is very often written in a mediocre way," says Mauritanian journalist Lemine Ould M. Salem when commenting on the independent press and its challenges in an interview with the African Press Network. More
"In the past, Tunisia made huge efforts to invest in journalism education. Unfortunately, the people who benefited from those efforts have been gradually prevented from serving their country according to the basic rules of journalism and ethics. Scores of skilled and honest journalists have been silenced and forced to leave their job or the country," says Kamel Labidi, one of the many Tunisian journalist who chose exile to preserve his freedom and to be able to denounce the abuses of the Tunisian regime. In an interview with the Arab Press Network, Labidi talks about the pressure he faced in Tunisia as well as the situation of journalists in the country today. More
For more than three years now, female Saudi authors such as Raja Abdallah Alsanae and Zaynab Hifni who have taken on sexual taboos in their society, have found themselves at the center of intense debates in the Arab media, debates that extend to the larger issue of Saudi women's rights in general. More
Considered one of the few truly independent Tunisian journalists, Tahar Labidi, who currently lives exiled in France, says that President Ben Ali's regime has "militarised new technologies" in order to better control them. Labidi believes that the situation in his country is not very different from that of other Arab countries, and that independent media using new communications technologies do not pose a threat to the press in Tunisia. It's greatest threat, he says, is its own reactionary content, of scant interest to readers and out of touch with the needs and demands of Tunisian citizens. More
Egyptian blogger Mohammed Khaled was looking for music files on his friend's mobile phone last year when he stumbled upon the gruesome video clip depicting two Egyptian police men torturing and sodomizing microbus driver Emad Al-Kabir with an iron stick. The first blogger to upload the notorious footage that sparked an outcry from civil society and resulted in landmark jail sentences for the two officers, Mohammed Khaled continues to blog about the quest for change and a better human rights situation in his country under the pen name 'Demagh Mak' at: http://demaghmak.blogspot.com/. APN met with 'MAK' in downtown Cairo during his last days of vacation before going back to Dubai, where he works in real estate marketing. More
"I have no respect for bloggers who just use blogs to promote negativity, insult cultures, people and sensitivities," says Abdul Hamid Ahmad, editor-in-chief of Gulf News, the first independent English daily in the United Arab Emirates. "There is no true purpose served. Such bloggers should never be encouraged." Ahmad shares with APN his thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of blogging in the UAE and how bloggers and newspapers can work together to inform the public. More
The blogosphere has long played a key role in transforming Egypt's political landscape, with new media formats being exploited by those seeking to challenge the regime of President Hosni Mubarak. Now though, some of Mubarak's adversaries are discovering that internet activism can be a double-edged sword, as a new generation of bloggers have begun critiquing the opposition movements themselves. The leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood (or 'Ikhwan'), Egypt's largest opposition group, is currently facing a powerful internal challenge from a young cadre of dissenting members who are finding their voice on the web. More
"Blogs play a much more important role in the Arab world than in the West because of the absence of a free press in the Middle East and the Arab Maghreb," says Michel Touma, chief editor at L'Orient-Le Jour, explaining that in the Arab world, blogs enjoy a greater freedom than newspapers. More
Arab photojournalists should be recognized for much more than their contribution to war reporting, says Patrick Baz, Middle-East Photo Manager for Agence France-Presse (AFP) and one of the judges for the 2009 World Press Photo Contest. "That makes me think that either the Western world doesn't want to look at Arab photojournalists in a different way or that we do not have anything else to offer." More
Since its inception in 1955, World Press Photo has recognized the achievements of photojournalists the world over, showcasing their innovative vision and outstanding aptitude for their craft. "It is viewed by the majority of the photography industry as the benchmark for the profession," says Michiel Munneke, managing director of foundation. APN spoke with Munneke about the 2009 World Press Photo contest and the involvement of Arab photojournalists therein.
"Bloggers are inevitable," says Jamil Mroue, likening the popularity of bloggers in Lebanon to a sensible equation: "accessible technology meets individuals willing to invest time to project their opinions." Editor-in-chief of The Daily Star, Mroue speaks positively about Lebanon's growing community of bloggers and sees a future in which newspapers and blogs can find success working together. In a series of articles, APN speaks with newspaper editors from the Arab world about the growing popularity of blogging in their respective countries. More
The new multimedia tools (blogs, Facebook, Dailymotion...) don't seem to have posed much of a threat to traditional media in Algeria. At least not according to Fayçal Métaoui, former editor-in-chief of the El Watan daily and manager of the paper's website. The high cost of computers, electricity, and high speed connections are just some of the reasons for this, says Métaoui. More
"For a journalist who wants to remain free in Syria, the only real choice is to be prepared to be arrested at any time," says Faraj Bayrakdar, a Syrian journalist who lives in exile in Sweden since three years back. Before that, he spent altogether 14 years in prison in his home country. In an interview with APN, Bayrakdar speaks of his fight for freedom and of the working conditions of journalists in Syria. More
The Lebanese French-language daily L'Orient-Le Jour launched a new layout in mid-September. "A press that calls itself free and intelligent should be the first, in an environment as chaotic as Lebanon's, to adopt a certain discipline in its work habits, to bring a greater readability to its product. It's the best way to educate minds and future generations," says information designer Alexandre Médaouar, who conceived the new layout. More
Two years ago, Mohammad Al-Abdallah's brother Omar was sentenced to five years in prison by the Syrian authorities for criticizing the policies of his national government on an Internet forumblog. In December last year, Mohammad's father Ali Abdallah was arrested when he called for political reform in Syria as a member of the 'Damascus Declaration', a Syrian activist group urging 'democratic and radical change'. He is still in detainment in Syria's Adra prison and suffers from poor health. Now Mohammad speaks out about human rights abuses, censorship, and political corruption in his home country on his newly started blog "I'm leaving and I'm not coming back". APN met with Mohammed in Beirut. More
"Most of our media outlets, including the national TV, have become mere mouthpieces for propaganda and incitement or either Fatah or Hamas," says Palestinian territories-based journalist Khalid Amayreh, who denounces the way Fatah is trying to consolidate its domination by silencing adverse voices. More
After being sentenced to a year in prison last December for "insulting a civil servant in the performance of his duties," "indecent behaviour," and "refusal to present identification" following a police request, Tunisian journalist Slim Boukhdir reclaimed his freedom on 21 July. Just weeks after his release from Sfax prison, the free-expression activist spoke exclusively with APN, reaffirming his commitment to uncovering the truth, whatever it may be. More
Kizzie Shawkat is the pen name of the author responsible for the I Have No Tribe, I'm Sudanese blog. She is a Sudanese woman and student of communications and sociology in Cairo. Born in Sudan, Kizzie grew up in Libya, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates and defines herself as an "African pro-choice creative muslim pro-female-education poetic developing tri-linguist anti-racism mad-about-books theatre-lover female." In an interview with APN, Kizzie explains why she blogs and how she hopes it will make the world a better place. More
After months of planning, Kuwait's Public Prosecutors Office (PPO) is set to finalize a bill that will punish 'Internet offenders' in the country. APN spoke with two Kuwaiti bloggers about the proposed Internet Crime and Data Information law, why it is being implemented and how to get around it. More
In an important step for Saudi newspapers, the Al-Jazirah daily has committed itself to auditing by BPA Worldwide, the global industry resource for verified audience data and media knowledge. Established in 1960 and with a current circulation of more than 130,000, Al-Jazirah is the first publication in Saudi Arabia to hold BPA membership, thereby dedicating itself to complete business transparency. Abdulatif Al-Ateeq, General Manager of Al-Jazirah Corporation for Press, Printing and Publishing, spoke with APN about why Al-Jazirah has committed itself to auditing and what this could mean for the future of media in the country. More
"Citizen journalists report on how the world really is," says Sashi Kumar, Chairman of the Media Development Foundation at the Asian College of Journalism in India. Kumar, along with Nahla Al Shahhal, a freelance journalist contributing to the Al Hayat daily in Lebanon; Ayman Al-Sayyad, editor-in-chief of Egypt's Weghat Nazar magazine; and Jihad Al Khazen, a columnist for the Al Hayat daily in London, spoke with APN about the swell of citizen journalism in the Arab world. More
"Arab consumers want a free media, not just a free net," Nahla Al Shahhal exclaimed. "The aspiration to a free media is huge." APN spoke with Al Shahhal, a freelance journalist contributing to the Al Hayat daily in Lebanon; Ayman Al-Sayyad, editor-in-chief of Egypt's Weghat Nazar magazine; Jihad Al Khazen, a columnist for the Al Hayat daily in London; and Sashi Kumar, Chairman of the Media Development Foundation at the Asian College of Journalism in India, about the role technology is playing in Arab media today. More
Hezbollah has insisted he stop portraying their leader. The Lebanese intelligence services have interrogated and arrested him. He has been pressured and harassed. Despite this, he has always maintained his independence. Pierre Sadek’s cartoons have been part of the Lebanese media scene for the past forty years. APN met this rebellious and talented spirit, with an unquenchable thirst for freedom. More
"In the end, I was simply banned without anyone telling me." In an exclusive interview, Mona Eltahawy, an award winning Egyptian columnist and international lecturer on Arab and Muslim issues, explains why she decided to become an opinion writer. She also shares her enthusiam for the Arab blogosphere and her suspicion of state-controlled media. Eltahawy was a news reporter in the Middle East for many years, as a correspondent for Reuters. More
"What is very upsetting is that the media here doesn't use its power to help Iraqis develop a more positive mindset about the future. Only the very small media outlets are covering the positive side of what's happening in Iraq." In the third and final article of a series profiling Arab teen's thoughts about the media in their countries, APN spoke to 16-year old Zuhal Sultan, a high school student and concert pianists for the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra. "Many people don't know that Iraq has a national symphony orchestra and that music is still an important part of our culture. We do have hopes of a better tomorrow; we just need the world to recognize that." More
My favourite articles are those about local citizens that achieve or do extraordinary things for their country. I also like stories about Kuwait's accomplishments, whether it's in sports, music or theatre. I would like to see the Kuwaiti media cater more to teenagers. My friends, however, do not care much about the news. They feel that they do not need them unless the events or stories relate to them in some way." In the second of three articles profiling Arab teens' thoughts about their country's media, APN spoke to 19 year-old Al-Motaz Bouraki, a computer science student at the American University of Kuwait. More
"There are a lot of media that only send the wrong messages to the Egyptian people. I am not talking about all of the media, only the state-owned. I believe that most of them are paid by the government to hide the truth and spread lies all over the country." This statement comes from Mariam Omran, a twenty-two year old Egyptian who recently received her diploma in the accounting field. In a series of articles, APN talks to young adults in the Arab world to find out what they think about the media in their country. More
"It is disgusting that I was released because my embassy was able to negotiate my release, while Mohammed continues to be held in detention." American documentary photographer James Buck was arrested together with his translator Mohammed Maree in Egypt in early April. Buck was released within 24 hours while Maree is still being detained. APN spoke to Buck about his experiences in Egypt and the situation of his colleague and friend Maree. More
As the 2005 Danish caricatures of Prophet Mohammed continue to ricochet from newsrooms to religious communities to government offices and court rooms around the world, the right to offend, disturb and shock has led many to question how far freedom of expression can extend. During the press freedom roundtable at the 61st World Newspaper Congress in Göteborg, Sweden, publishers, journalists, a cartoonist and human rights experts defended the right to offend audiences. The debate was moderated by MiklosHaraszti, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. More
A focus on local news, including coverage of even the smallest sports teams in Algeria, might be the secret behind the success of El-Khabar, which claims a circulation of 550,000 copies daily. At the same time, this independent Arabic-language newspaper does not shy away from reporting abuse of power by the government or corruption scandals linked to the ruling elite.
Haitham Sabbah runs an acclaimed blog on Palestinian issues. Launched as a counterweight to what Sabbah found to be biased and limited reporting on the Middle East in Western media, his blog today gets quoted by the BBC, Agence France-Presse and Slate Magazine on a regular basis. In an interview with APN, Sabbah speaks about the role of blogs in the Middle East, and his own blogging.
Almost two years after it hit Lebanese newsstands, the Arab language Al-Akhbar daily, a newspaper so closely aligned to Hezbollah that some consider it the party's mouthpiece, has achieved a success beyond all expectation, today boasting a circulation of 10,000. The paper targets mainly women and young people, reporting on issues that strike a chord in their daily lives. Ibrahim El-Amine, Al-Akhbar's chief executive officer, spoke to APN about the big goals he has for his paper.
Following the lead of France 24, the BBC and Deutsche Welle, the EuroNews television network will soon begin broadcasting in Arabic. From 12 July, Arab audiences will be able to access the network's programming already broadcast in seven languages 24 hours a day. APN spoke to Luis Rivas, director of news programming for the France-based international TV network, just weeks before the launch of the Arabic language channel.
The photos by Louiza Ammi have travelled the world through the pages of the prestigious magazines she regularly collaborates with. At the age of 36, she is already a role model for the next generation of women photojournalists in Algeria. Fadéla Ouamrane,25, is one of them. APN spoke with the two photographers about their vision, their various journeys and the pitfalls they have encountered along the way.
The only people in the street at this point were the rioters, the Lebanese army, and me with my notebook. I advanced a little further. When they saw me they started running towards me shouting "Journalist! Journalist!" Most of them had their faces hidden by balaclavas and kaffyat. I made a vain attempt to flee as two men on motorbike, also opposition supporters, tried to reason with my attackers. Their efforts too were in vain.
After a period of relative freedom following a military coup in 2005, the independent press in Mauritania has again become the target of pressure from the authorities. APN spoke to publisher Moulay Najim Ould Moulay Zeïne, who also criticises the Mauritanian media for failing to create a common strategy to defend their liberties.
Saudi Jeans is one of the most influential blogs in the Gulf region. It is run by pharmacy student Ahmad Al Omran, who through his blog hopes to "be a part of the change that is taking place in Saudi Arabia". Saudi Jeans focuses on topics such as freedom of expression, human and women's rights, as well as democracy and justice. Meet one of the most prominent Arab bloggers.
News photographers in the Arab world are having a hard time making their living. Vague copyright laws and disrespect for the profession are major obstacles, with their work rarely being considered a fundamental element of journalistic work.
Tunisian blogger Sami Ben Gharbia is a fierce defender of free expression. So much so, in fact, that he has chosen exile over silence. After an epic journey that has taken him from Chad to Iran, with a stretch in Saudi Arabia in between, the Bizerte native now lives in the Netherlands, where he has been granted political asylum. His "Fikra" blog ("Idea" in Arabic) has been censored in Tunisia since 2003, with the help of software produced by Cisco Systems and Nice Systems, which he is quick to point out.
In February of this year, Khalil Hachimi Idrissi, editor-in-chief of the daily Aujourd'hui Le Maroc, was elected president of the Moroccan Federation of Newspaper Publishers (Fédération marocaine des éditeurs de journaux - FMEJ). The APN took the opportunity to ask the new FMEJ head about his priorities for the organisation, which represents about 50 publications, over the course of his two-year mandate.
He is by far the most famous cartoonist in North Africa, and has a solid international reputation. His cartoons appear daily in the Algerian Liberté newspaper and on the Kiosque programme of the Francophone TV5. He took the grand prize in the "Caustic Humour" category at Saint-Just-le-Martel's 26th International Cartooning Exposition in 2007. But success has changed Ali Dilem little since his early days at the Le Jeune Independent newspaper back in 1990. An interview with a cartoonist who continues to sharpen his pencil - and wit - against the Algerian authorities, despite threats and lawsuits.
It was only eight years ago that Iraqi Kurdistan saw the birth of its first independent newspaper, Hawlati. Despite numerous obstacles, the paper has managed to survive and thrive. Asos Hardi, who was part of the team that launched Hawlati, looks back at how the independent press in Iraqi Kurdistan came about.
Unlike many of her fellow journalists who fled Algeria in the violent 1990's, Ghania Khelifi, former editor- in-chief of Liberté and Le Matin, did not leave her home country until 2006. In an exclusive interview with APN, Khelifi explains her late departure, retraces her path as a woman in a male-dominated profession and reveals the tensions that still exist in Algeria. More
In a three-part series, APN looks at Internet censorship in the Gulf countries, the tools used by the authorities and which areas of the Web they target. The third part looks at the heavy Internet censorship reportedly taking place in Bahrain and Yemen.
How exactly does sectarianism affect the media in Lebanon? Will media outlets manage to overcome these tendencies to adopt a more modern stance? Could the Internet or pan-Arab media companies contribute to relieve Lebanon of its outdated confessional system? In an interview with APN, Jamil Abou Assi, a Lebanese blogger and research assistant for the Middle Eastern desk at Reporters Without Borders (RSF) discusses these questions.
The Dubai-based Gulf News and Emirates Business 24/7 newspapers were recently granted prizes in an international contest for newspaper design. A close collaboration between the editorial and the design team is fundamental for the high visual standard designers from both papers said in an interview with APN.
There is growing government pressure on bloggers throughout the Arab world. However, the unison reply from these members of the online community is that they will not accept to be silenced. Meet some of the most prominent and outspoken bloggers in Egypt, Tunisia, Saudia Arabia and Syria.
In a three-part series, APN looks at Internet censorship in the Gulf countries, the tools used by the authorities and which areas of the Web they target. The second part assesses the situation in Saudi Arabia where over 400,000 websites are reportedly blocked from access.
Since April 2007, the American University of Beirut offers professional training programmes to journalists from the Arab world. The courses cover a large variety of topics, from online journalism to war reporting. APN spoke to Magda Abu-Fadil who is in charge of the programme.
In a three-part series, APN looks at Internet censorship in the Gulf countries, the tools used by the authorities and which areas of the Web they target. The first part gives a general introduction to the situation in the region and explores where things stand in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
For the first time in Iraqi Kurdistan, a criminal defamation lawsuit has been filed against a newspaper. Abid Aref, editor-in-chief of the independent weekly Hawlati, was sued by the President of Iraq Jalal Talabani on 29 January for the publication of a report by U.S. scholar Michael Rubin. The report was critical of the Talibans. APN spoke to Aref about the press freedom situation in this part or Iraq.
Atef al-Saadawy, managing editor of the Egyptian Al Ahram Democracy Review, discusses the role of the Egyptian press in the past and the present, as well as where it is heading after 27 years of publishing under emergency laws.
In Morocco, articles published by the Arabic-language Al Massae dailyhave led to a strong division of the press. According to Said Essoulami, director of the Casablanca-based Centre for Media Freedom in the Middle East and North Africa, this controversy shows the difficulties of Moroccan media to cover sexual, cultural, political and ideological diversities.
In a country like Tunisia where the government hands out publication permits extremely sparingly, with almost 200 requests being turned down in recent years, the launch of a new paper is, in itself, an event. On the stands since October, the French-language weekly L'Expression allows for hope that someday a more diversified Tunisian newsstand will emerge.
"While we are fighting for other people's rights through our reporting, our own rights have been violated for years," writes Saudi journalist Suzan Zawawi in an article which explores the plight of her fellow journalists in the country. Their working conditions may, however, change thanks to various initiatives taken by Princess Hussa, daughter of Riyadh Emir Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, states the article, originally published by the Saudi Gazette.
Tunisian journalistTaoufik Ben Brik was recently prevented from travelling to Algeria to present his new book Je ne partirai pas (I Will Not Leave). The literary encounter Ben Brik was supposed to participate in was cancelled, and in an interview with APN, he accuses the Algerian government for not being any more open-minded than its Tunisian counterpart. This controversial journalist, who would like to be the "Maradona of Tunisian journalism", is also highly critical of the whole notion of freedom in the Arab world.
In a special report, the English-language Gulf News of the United Arab Emirates looks at the state of press freedom in the country. APN spoke to editor-in-chief Abdul Hamid Ahmad about why and how the daily chose to tackle the subject, and how readers reacted.
In recent months, at least eight news websites in Yemen have been blocked within the country by the public internet service provider, operated by the Ministry of Telecommunications. The authorities have not offered any explanation to why the websites have been blocked, but in an interview with APN, Walid Al-Saqaf, founder of Yemen Portal, the country's first news crawler and one of three websites blocked on 19 January, claims it is an act of censorship.
It is only recently that media professionals in the Arab world have shown interest in journalists' union activity. While it is true that countries like Egypt and Morocco have been in the vanguard of the journalists' union struggle since the 1960s, the situation is quite different in Syria or Libya, where journalists are not permitted to organize to defend their rights and interests. APN spoke about these issues with Sarah Bouchetob, Head of Projects for the Middle East and North Africa Region at the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
Eight journalists were murdered in Somalia in the past year. Authorities raided and closed down media outlets. Journalists were arrested, threatened and attacked. Omar Faruk Osman, Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), speaks about the sharp deterioration of press freedom in 2007 and the prospects for 2008 in this war-wrecked East African nation.
Mustapha Hamoui, the author of beirutspring, one of the highest-profile blogs in the Lebanese blogosphere, never wanted to be a journalist. Still, his ambition is to change things through writing. Less than three years after its creation his blog registers as many as 1000 hits a day.
Despite the freedom of expression boundaries being pushed by the independent press and the blogging community, 2007 witnessed an upsurge in clampdowns on the press and free speech in Egypt. A retrospect of the year shows that the media climate in this North African country took a serious blow in more than one sense in the past twelve months.
Michel Hajji Georgiou, a political analyst at the Lebanese French-language daily L'Orient-Le Jour, was awarded the 2007 Gebran Tueni Award, given annually by the World Association of Newspapers and the Lebanese An-Nahar daily to a young newspaper editor or publisher from the Arab world in memory of Gebran Tueni, the Lebanese editor who was assassinated in December 2005. In an interview with APN, he spoke about his view of the role of the press in Lebanon and the Arab world.
Since October 2007, Moroccan children have their own free magazine. The French-language Tikchbila targets children between the age of 6 and 12. With a circulation of 5000, this bimonthly is distributed exclusively in Casablanca, the economic capital of the kingdom. Tikchbila is paid for entirely by advertising revenue.
Internet has become a place where young people in the Arab world can discuss and obtain information about a number of taboo subjects such as sexuality, poverty and human rights issues. Bahraini blogger Esra'a Al Shafei gives her perspective on this new trend.
Three years ago Mohammed Alayyan launched Al Ghad, the first independent newspaper in Jordan. With a circulation of 48 000, it is today the country's second daily. 34-year-old Alayyan was not a novice in the media industry when he launchedhis newspaper. In 1998, he established Al Wasset, a free classified weekly which became a financial success and also spurred Alayyan to launch Al Ghad. This media entrepreneur spoke to APN about the way he does business.
Even before celebrating its first birthday, the Moroccan daily Al Massae has received an unexpected gift. Only a few months after its launch, it has become the kingdom's leading newspaper. In an interview with APN, Zineb Hmouna, Head of Communication and Marketing at the Massae Media group, explains the reasons for this success.
Despite the arrival of nearly 150 private titles on the newspaper market in recent years, the Syrian press still faces many challenges including a self-censorship which often can be more severe than state censorship.
"After twenty-odd years of existence, the Comorian press is still in its infancy." This remark by Ahmed Ali Amir, journalist with the state-owned weekly Al Watwan, neatly sums up the newspaper situation in the Comoros Archipelago which has approximately 700 000 inhabitants. There are never more than four titles available from Comoran newsstands and the independent publications are not published regularly due to financial constraints.
"The aim of the ongoing clampdown on the independent press in Egypt is to silence critical newspapers so that the power can be transferred from President Hosni Mubarak to his son without any protests," editor Ibrahim Eissa told APN in an interview four days before a trial that can send him to prison for seven years, with no possibility for appeal.
The Arab world has recently seen the emergence of outspoken bloggers whose critical postings often anger the authorities. In several countries these freedom of expression advocates have been charged with defamation and put behind bars. How do Arab newspapers cope with these new competitors who scorn the market constraints and are able to bypass the governmental anti-free speech arsenals thanks to their anonymity?
After 17 years in the public press, Hadda Hazzam decided to branch out on her own and launch a daily in Algeria. Today, she is the only woman to head a private newspaper in the country. Al Fadjr employs around 50 journalists and has a circulation of 50 000.
The independent bi-weekly Yemen Times gets 85 percent of its revenue from advertising. Deputy director Khairaldin Mohammad Ainsour tells APN about how the advertising department works and the paper's future plans to attract more advertisers - and readers.
Gulfnews.com, the electronic version of the Emirati English-language daily, is one of the most successful newspaper websites in the Arab region with an average of 1.1 million unique users per month. Online manager Sean Burns spoke to APN about the key ingredients that contribute to this achievement and the future plans for the website.
With 230 employees, Eco-Medias is one of Morocco's most dynamic press groups. L'Economiste, its flagship publication, is the country's leading business daily. Assabah, an Arabic-language paper created in 2000, has spiraled to the top of Moroccan publications. The group's latest initiative? The launch of Radio Atlantique in December 2006. Nadia Salah, Eco-Medias' editorial director, gave an interview to APN.
With a circulation of 193 000, Le Quotidien d'Oran is the most read French-language newspaper in Algeria. Originally a regional newspaper, launched in 1994, it extended its distribution to the whole country five years later. The recipe for its success? Being open to diverse opinions, focusing on local news and limiting advertising space.
Shams Ahsan, national editor of The Saudi Gazette, an English-language newspaper mostly read by expatriates, gave APN his appreciation of the press freedom situation in Saudi Arabia. Established in 1976 by the largest domestic media group, Okaz, The Saudi Gazette claims a daily circulation of 50,000.
While Africa possesses an immense economic potential, over the years the availability of financial information relevant to the continent has remained scarce. Against this background, a group of investors have launched Les Afriques, a new journal that aims to fill the gap in financial news on Africa.
Nibal Thawabteh, editor-in-chief of the monthly Al-Hal paper, discusses the current and future working conditions of the Palestinian media, which suffer on many levels from the absence of an existing societal and legal structure.
The bill for a new Moroccan press code, which is presented by the government as a “historic step forward," has proved controversial. It is supposed to be passed before the legislative elections in September 2007, but this seems unlikely. More
Interview with Omar Belhouchet
the editor-in-chief of El Watan, one of Algeria’s leading
French-language dailies, which continues to thrive despite a climate that
does not always foster freedom of speech. More
of the press in Mauritania has improved significantly in the past
years. Yet despite the progress made, the sector still faces a number
of challenges including the training of journalists. More
In tough competition with almost 14,000 other newspapers, the Gulf News of the United Arab Emirates recently became the most awarded paper from the Arab region in the international Best of Newspaper Design competition.
In the beginning of May, a workshop brought together Lebanese teachers and journalists on the use of newspapers as a learning tool in classrooms. The workshop took place within the WAN Newspapers in Education programme.
In an effort to offer an alternative voice to the Egyptian newspaper readers, the independent weekly Al Dustur got a daily sister newspaper with the same name at the end of March 2007. APN interviewed Ehab Elzelaky, the newspaper’s editor, about the challenges and opportunities of producing a daily newspaper, in a politically challenging context, where diverging voices are not welcome. More
Journalist, novelist, and blogger, Sanaa Elaji, 30, has an incisive style. One of her recent articles, Jokes: How Moroccans laugh about religion, sex and politics, published in Nichane resulted in criminal charges being pressed against her, as well as her editor-in-chief, Driss Ksikes, last January. More
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
Hana Hajjar, 26, is one of the very rare women cartoonists in the Arab world. Born in Saudi Arabia where she studied fine arts, she has been working mainly with the English-speaking Saudi daily Arab News for almost two years now. Each month, between 10 and 15 of her drawings are published in this newspaper.
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.
English-language weekly TheWeek in Oman has become the first paper in
the country to provide audited circulation data to its advertisers. The
aim of the audit is to create more transparency in a market which
traditionally does not reveal information about circulation figures.
BPA Worldwide, a non-profit organization based in the United States
carried out the audit for the newspaper. According to BPA, their audits
provide advertisers with assurance that the newspaper they choose to
invest in, does in fact reach target audiences for specific ads.
APN spoke to
Saleh Zakwani, publisher and CEO of Apex Press and Publishing, which
publishes TheWeek, about why the paper decided to carry out an audit
and its overall aims.