A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, April 23, 2012

RIP Daily News Egypt, a Loss for Independent Journalism

Egypt's independent English-language print daily, the Daily News Egypt, has closed for financial reasons after seven years. The editors were apparently told only on Thursday that the weekend edition would be the last.  And, though the editors offered to fund keeping the website online themselves, the website was offline by Sunday evening. Eulogies are pouring in for an investigative voice that was widely heard because it was in English.

This leaves only the state-owned Egyptian Gazette as a print daily in English, though the Egypt Independent, the English product associated with Al-Masry al-Youm, is an online daily that briefly tried a print version and hopes to do so again at some point. (State-run Al-Ahram also has a weekly English edition in print and a daily online site.) English dailies in Egypt often have an influence outside their actual circulation due to being read by businessmen, tourists and others who do not know Arabic. This blog often cites English media in preference to Arabic ones except when a story is available only in Arabic.

The editors bade farewell to readers this weekend in a post called final words. That link , though I left it in, no longer works; it stopped working sometime late Sunday. The editors had expressed concern about the future of the online archive and had indicated a willingness to finance it themselves. The fact that the site seems to be offline is not encouraging. The Deputy Editor confirms it's now offline, and reproduces the farewell post. There's clearly seems to be an implication that there's more to the story, perhaps more than just finances. Why take the site down so quickly? Surely the fact that Friday's paper had an editorial that blasted SCAF has nothing to do with it, right? A copy of that editorial survives here, for now, since of course the DNE site has vanished. (Though to be fair, since the editors say they were told of the closure on Thursday, the editorial may simply have been a parting shot, not a provocation.)

Here's  The Arabist's tribute, and  another blogger on the subject.

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