Reporting from Egypt
Magdi Abdelhadi has a nice piece in Nieman Reports about the struggles of independent media in Egypt. Among other things it highlights the work of Mada Masr and its editor, Lina Attalah (American University in Cairo ’04):
In 2013, Lina Attallah and her colleagues lost their jobs at Egypt Independent, the English-language edition of the flagship daily, Al-Masry Al-Youm. After a dispiriting series of editorial and financial disputes with their bosses, Attallah and her colleagues decided to start Mada Masr (“Egypt’s Horizon”), an English-Arabic news and arts website that caters primarily to Egypt’s well-educated cultural elite, rather than look for jobs at other mainstream outlets. “There was nowhere else to work,” says Attallah. “It was a time when media freedom became more and more limited. No media outlet could afford to hire independent journalists who wouldn’t compromise the content. And that is why we had to build our own space.”
Amir-Hussein Radjy profiled Mada Masr in the Summer 2015 edition of the Cairo Review of Global Affairs. Leslie T. Chang wrote an in-depth report on the organization in The Long Read section of the Guardian last January.
There are brave journalists out there doing the best work that can be done in Egypt under present circumstances. In August, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi signed a new counterterrorism law that, according to Human Rights Watch, “makes it a crime to publish or promote news about terrorism if it contradicts the Defense Ministry’s official statements and would allow the courts to temporarily ban journalists from practicing their profession for doing so.”