Applaud our gains in web site traffic? Develop closer partnerships with Google and their competitors? Launch our own search engines and collective news portals? The Great Debate at the 62nd World Newspaper Congress in Hyderabad, India this December will examine these and other such questions.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
"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
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
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
Saudi Arabia recently decided to remove a two-year ban on the London-based Elaph online daily. According to reports, this move is due to a reshuffle in the Saudi government which took place a few days before the decision was made. 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
The Hamas-run de facto government in Gaza released a new official newspaper called Al-Ra'i (The Opinion) on Thursday 5 March. The 12-page newspaper (four in colour, eight black and white) is now being produced once a week, but its publishers intend for it to be a daily. The first edition, distributed for free in Gaza, contains an exclusive interview with de facto Prime Minister Isma'il Haniyah and an article about Sa'id Siyam, the interior minister who was assassinated by Israel in January. The newspaper's administration says they have "several" correspondents gathering news and information in Gaza and the West Bank, in addition to editors and other employees. The director of the de facto government media office, Hasan Abu-Hashish, said that all government agencies and ministries will cooperate and support the new paper. 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
Online journalists in Morocco have decided to create a new union that is able to regulate their work and defend their rights and freedoms, Magharebia.com reports. According to the Moroccan Union of Online Press, a committee is planning a national conference for online journalists, bloggers and internet writers to launch a new entity for that purpose. 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
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
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
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
While US media are playing down the Israeli attacks on Gaza, media elsewhere report in a far more balanced way, including in Israel where the highly respected Haaretz newspaper questions the ongoing attacks. Greg Mitchell, editor of Editor & Publisher, looks at the reporting in an opinion piece for The Huffington Post. 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
A good journalist's job is not to make friends over a cup of tea and refreshments, Doha Debates Chairman Tim Sebastian told a gathering of Arab journalists in Amman recently. "It is not your job to make friends over a cup of tea and a slice of cake. The general public does not get the chance to hold politicians accountable and in many cases your questions are their only weapons". More
A citizen-journalism upload portal has been launched by Qatar-based Arabic satellite network Al Jazeera, "seeking eyewitness news reports from its vast international audience." According to an English translation of the project's website, posted by Yelvington's blog, Al Jazeera's aim is to "raise awareness" of issues of public interest and be a "bridge" between peoples and cultures by providing "unbiased coverage of events." 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
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
"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
The 2008 Newsroom Barometer, a global survey, reveals that many press executives around the world are optimistically grasping modern media trends while increasingly forgoing more traditional practices. At the same time there are important differences that stem from varying obstacles and advantages unique to the press in different regions of the world. Fifty-six representatives of the press from Africa and the Middle East responded to the survey, which was conducted by Zogby International and commissioned by the World Editors Forum and Reuters.
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.
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.
The World Association of Newspapers is asking newspapers world-wide to show their support for press freedom in China by publishing editorials, advertisements, political cartoons and other materials on 3 May, World Press Freedom Day.
Reader participation, user-generated content and social networks are having an impact on journalism, and that impact will grow in the future. But will Web 2.0 give birth to a new form of journalism? That question will be examined at the annual World Editors Forum, to be held in Sweden from 1 to 4 June next.
"The increasingly active role of the reader/user in the news process is an opportunity, not a threat, for professional journalists," says Abdul HamidAhmad, editor-in-chief of the Gulf News, in an interview about the future of newspapers. According to Ahmad, the Golden Age of investigative journalism is just beginning.
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
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.
A delegation of Mauritanian women journalists met with Ahmedou Tidjane Bal, president of Mauritania's High Authority of the Press and Audio-visuals (HAPA), on 2 March. The journalists called upon HAPA to support them in promoting women's role in society.
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.
Is newsroom integration really working? Editors at four of the world's most prestigious newspapers will examine this question at the 15th World Editors Forum, to be held in Sweden in June, the Forum announced on Tuesday.
Newspaper companies are optimistic about their ability to capture the time and interest of a new generation of readers, no matter what media channel the young prefer, according to a new report from the World Association of Newspapers. The report examines the media habits of young people and provides case studies of how newspaper companies are different strategies to attract and retain young readers.
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.
Editors of leading Arabic and English newspapers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed the Charter of Honour and Code of Ethics, which outlines a broad range of ethical requirements for journalism.
The Moroccan journalist Ahmed Reda Benchemsi has been awarded the Samir Kassir Prize 2007 for his article “The Personality Cult”. Click on "More" to read an extract from the award-winning article. 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
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.
the violence and call to boycotts, the cartoons depicting the Prophet
Mohammed, when Islam forbids any representation of the messenger of
God, have raised a question without a clear answer: should freedom of
expression be restricted when the material in question can offend
millions of people?
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.