Al-Masry Al-Youm celebrated its 5,000th issue, with several writers taking the opportunity to comment on the situation of the press in Egypt.
Politician Amr Al-Shobaky, who writes regularly for the private newspaper, said Al-Masry Al-Youm succeeded in positioning itself among the three leading local newspapers, alongside the state-owned dailies Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar. According to him, journalists at the paper have become more than just agents receiving and publishing official statements from ministries and government entities, thus doing journalism as it should be, independent and objective, as opposed to “much of newspapers’ content based on fabrication, hate and incitement, and non-scientific theories.” However, Al-Shobaky believes the newspaper is yet to find a solution to the dying printing press and called on it to address more social and gender-related issues.
On print and electronic journalism, Sami Morkos opined that the West used research and economic approaches to address the developments of journalism and the increasing use of the web. These challenges could be overcome by redefining print content, specialised journalism, and the combination of visuals to present content that would fill in important gaps in electronic news stories.
Osama Gharib made a different point on the future of journalism whether in print or digital, writing against state-controlled media which has become obvious to the reader when sometimes all headlines are the same across different outlets, sometimes even containing the same grammatical mistakes. Gharib wrote that such an approach will damage an ambitious generation of journalists, writers, and caricaturists by raising them to become liars and hypocrites.
“Long live independent, free journalism,” was the headline of Mostafa Moharram’s piece, where he blamed the absence of independent journalism on previous regimes, especially on former president Gamal Abdel Nasser, whom he presented as an oppressor of freedom of speech and wrote that he mobilised the media to serve his purposes. The writer also expressed his support for current President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s regime.
In state-owned paper Al-Ahram, Farouk Gouida noted the situation of the media in Egypt, in light of continuous violations by television presenters. “It’s all over the news, whether verbal violations or insults” they commit, he wrote. Gouida pushed for more control through state institutions and more accountability of private channel owners who “cover up such media crimes,” in his opinion.
Meanwhile, privately-owned Al-Shorouk newspaper focused on regional affairs. Editor-in-chief Emad El-Din Hussein’s op-ed was about a conversation he had earlier this month with the French ambassador to Egypt, in which he asserted Egypt’s legitimate right to protect its water share of the Nile, with regards to the Ethiopian dam crisis, and said France’s views on Libya were similar to Egypt’s.
Khaled Abou Bakr wrote in criticism of Turkish policy, citing the “irritated response” of the Turkish foreign minister when responding to Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit during the Munich Security Conference when the latter mentioned the military operation in Afrin, Syria. The writer recounted what each party said, concluding that Aboul Gheit was pushing for an Arab agenda while Turkey and others seek to pursue their agendas, but know they cannot do so unless there is dissociation among Arabs.
Sayed Abou Zeid Omar highlighted the Omani foreign affairs minister’s visit to Jerusalem on Thursday and meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying it is a needed response to US President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration.