Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Article on Egyptian State Newspapers in Sada

I have a new piece up on Sada, formerly the Arab Reform Bulletin, published by the Carnegie Endowment for Peace. It's the first time I've been translated into Arabic professionally, so that's pretty cool. There was an extensive and intense editing process, from which I learned a lot, and though it dips into the annoyingly authoritative tone of think tanks, I tried hard to make it read easily for a non-specialist. I discuss changes in the Journalists' Syndicate and small clues that suggest that state-owned newspapers in Cairo are increasingly willing to challenge the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Force. Here it is: 

On February 3, 2011, senior news anchor and former deputy head of Nile TV Shahira Amin resigned. Citing the channel’s refusal to cover the protests at Tahrir, she accused her station of siding with the Mubarak government. Since Amin’s public condemnation of her employer, other journalists working for state television have followed suit. Television host Hala Helmy has not appeared on air since January 25th, 2011, and went on to co-found the Media Revolutionaries Front, one of several emerging groups that protest journalistic complicity with the state’s media policies. This past February, these groups helped organize dozens of state journalists and producers to protest outside of the office of the Minister of Information, General Ahmed Anis, chanting slogans like, “Minister of Information, stop lying and tell people the truth!” and “Minister of military media, go join them back at the base!” 
Critics have focused more on the overhaul of state television than on its print counterparts. But even without the bombast of Helmy and Amin’s statements, print media is also changing; the Journalists’ Syndicate (composed of print-media journalists) is becoming increasingly critical of the regime since its last election, and state newspaper coverage of the SCAF has become more cautiously critical. While it is still too soon to assume direct connections between the syndicate’s statements and the changes in coverage by state papers, it is valuable, however, to look at the two as part of a broader process of reforming the state media apparatus.

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