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Producing News in Mubarak’s Egypt: An analysis of Egyptian newspaper production during the late Hosni Mubarak era

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This research explores news production in Egypt during the last half of 2008, relatively late in Hosni Mubarak’s presidency. The study focuses on Al-Ahram, Al-Masry Al-Yom, and Al-Wafd, three major Egyptian dailies representing the range of Egyptian media ownership categories: government-owned, independent (or non-affiliated) and opposition party-owned. The research included extended ethnography-inspired field observation and interviewing. Against the conceptual backdrops of the sociology of news and press systems scholarship, the project presents a model of the Egyptian newspaper system during one important period in the Mubarak era. Results suggest that Egyptian journalists at all three newspapers faced numerous obstacles to information gathering and were forbidden from crossing certain legal and cultural lines in their reporting. The president, security apparatuses and dominant Egyptian cultural beliefs were generally off limits to news organizations, and news content was filtered through mechanisms of control ensuring that content conformed to standards of political, legal and cultural acceptability.
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Keywords: Egypt; Mubarak; media; news; press systems; sociology of news

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The American University in Cairo, Egypt

Publication date: March 20, 2012

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  • The emergence of satellite TV, the internet and digital technology have dramatically changed the way audiences receive information and interact with the media. The sudden success of Al-Jazeera and other Arab broadcasters have altered the way the Arab world narrates itself and reports news from the region to the rest of the world. The journal aims to lead the debate about these emerging rapid changes in media and society in Arab and Muslim parts of the world.
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