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Friday, June 10, 2005

Egypt: national state-owned press in need of reform

The Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram Weekly reports that its national press is in dire need of reform.  The press’ current confused state (see former posting) comes as no surprise.  Previously, legal conflicts within the national press have always been hidden and later forgotten.  Recently mismanagement and poor leadership have brought upon financial problems, making the media even more dependent on the state for cash.  Consequently, papers have forgotten how to keep a safe distance from the authorities. 

But a new generation has started to emerge within the National Democratic Party, and with it the realization for the need to start reforming the media. Many view the national press simply as an extended arm of the state.  In light of the other reforms going on in the country, with upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, many think this is an opportune time to encourage changes in the media.  Specifically, the relatively free satellite media and the emergence of dozens of independent papers have put pressure on the industry for reform.  The only factor inhibiting the desperately needed changes is of course the regime, which would still like to keep guard over the media for self interests.  Yet even reform calls for strategic changes.  While the finance departments and administration certainly need to be reformed, the industry must also reflect on the questions of modernization and ownership.   The consequence of imprisonment for publishing offences needs to be abolished and the Journalists’ Syndicate must be allowed to do its job.  Without such changes in the near future, the national press will have no chance of competing with the already strong regional satellite stations and emerging press in the area. 

Source: Al Ahram Weekly

Posted by Andrea Steinberg on June 10, 2005 at 06:42 AM in o. Ethics and Press Freedom, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink


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