Media globalization in Egypt

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Egypt has more than 500 papers. Egyptian print media is one of the oldest in Arab world. The first newspaper was founded in 1798 on French language during the military expedition of Napoleon Bonaparte.
In 1828. During the cabinet of Muhammad Ally appeared the first local newspaper on Arab language - "Al-Vakaja al-Misryja". It was published by the authorities of Egypt. In 1867 was founded first national newspaper "Vady an-Nile". Since that moment the process of edition of newspapers began to rise increasingly: by the beginning of the XXth century there were about 80 newspapers in Egypt.

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Saida Ibrahimava

«Media globalization in Egypt» 

Print media sources of Egypt 

     Egypt has more than 500 papers. Egyptian print media is one of the oldest in Arab world. The first newspaper was founded in 1798 on French language during the military expedition of Napoleon Bonaparte.

In 1828. During the cabinet of Muhammad Ally appeared the first local newspaper on Arab language - "Al-Vakaja al-Misryja". It was published by the authorities of Egypt. In 1867 was founded first national newspaper "Vady an-Nile". Since that moment the process of edition of newspapers began to rise increasingly: by the beginning of the XXth century there were about 80 newspapers in Egypt.

     Egypt has a population of nearly 75 million and likes to portray itself as the leader of the Arab world in all aspects of modern life, including the media. President Nasser oversaw the nationalization of the media in 1961. Strict government censorship and licensing laws meant the state controlled what people read and watched and private media investment was impossible.

      Now the number of newspapers in Egypt has soared to more than 500, most of which are independent. The state-owned press operates a system of self-censorship, but the sharp rise in the number of private and independent titles means the "red lines" observed by press sources have largely disappeared. In the run-up to polling day, opposition newspapers such as al-Ahali, al-Wafd and al-Ghad have been highlighting demonstrations against Mr. Mubarak and echoing condemnations of his 24-year hold on power. In contrast, state-linked papers such as al-Ahram, al-Akhbar and al-Jumhuriyah have largely ignored or trivialized the opposition.

      We can divide Egyptian newspapers and journals as national, parties, ministerial, local and foreign. The main source of information for them is Middle East News Agency (MENA) - state-run. It was founded in 1956. Now it has 39 departments all over the world. The second source of information is foreign News Agencies as "Reuter", "France-press" and "Associated pres"; they also used information from ITAR-TASS and RIA "News". "State information service» provide an analytic and statistic information. It also considers such fields as internal and external propaganda.

     It was founded in 1954г. and now it has representatives departments all over Egypt and 45 in foreign countries. MENA leaded by Mustapha Nahib, "State information service" by Nabil Osman. 

     The print media as radio and TV broadcast is the main instrument of "right" influence in the hand of politicians. There is a hard censorship but formally there is no censorship - only self-censorship of editions under responsibility of chef-editors. Plus, if there are any kinds of information that contain some military aspects of Egyptian policy, it must be adopted by the Ministry of Military affairs.

      Here are 30 titles that are not subject to censorship. However, they are owned either by the state or political parties and only under very rare circumstances does the Supreme Press Council allow independent publications to register inside Egypt. Most Egyptian publications are registered abroad, most commonly in Cyprus. The other 220 are subject to a censor, the Foreign Publications Censor, who answers directly to the Minister of Information. And if this system of control doesn't work, there are always the libel laws -- vaguely phrased, and they carry harsh sentences.

National newspapers and journals (about 80 % of circulation) owned by the Upper House of Egyptian Parliament. The other political parties and ministries owned the rest of editions.  Actually individual ownership of newspapers or journals is not restricted in Egypt but there is no such a practice.

      There is one more special control institution in Egypt - Supreme Press Council. It consists of the chairman of Council, chef-editors of all parties' newspapers, chairman of Syndicate of journalists and the chairman of MENA. This institution has a lot of power in a field of media.

I. National newspapers and journals are published by 8 corporations and edition houses. 

1) Corporation «Al-Ahram». The biggest and the influential corporation of the country. The chairman of "Al-Ahram" is Ibrahim Nafia. The main print products of corporation are: Newspaper «Al-Ahram» - the oldest and more influential newspaper of the country and all Arab worlds. It a daily newspaper and it has about 800 thousand copies of circulation. It was founded in 1875г. Mainly it provides the direction of policy of Egyptian authorities but sometimes provide critics about negative sides of social and economic life of country. There is a big part for international review in "Al-Ahram". Newspaper «Al-Afram ad-duvaliy» - 24-paged «digest» of main Cairo edition, at the same time it reedited in the USA and FRG. It's very popular among Arab Diaspora in the USA, Europe and Asia. The circulation is about 150 thousand of copies.

Newspaper «Al-Ahram al-masaji» - 16-paged evening edition of the main newspaper. The chef-editor is Mysri Atalla. The circulation is about 70-80 thousand of copies.  Newspaper «Al-Ahram weekly». Its English language edition seems to be a mixture of digest articles of Arab «Al-Ahram» and its own articles.  The circulation is about 30 thousand of copies and it's popular among foreign inhabitants of Egypt and people out of borders of Egypt.

Newspaper «Al-Ahram abdo» - daily newspaper on French language. The circulation is about 20 thousand of copies. It's similar to «Al-Ahram weekly».

Journal «Al-Ahram al-ektisadiy» - economic daily journal. The circulation- 30 thousand of copies.

Journal «Al-Ahram al-araby» - new social-political overview journal founded in 1997. The main topic is Arab political and social problems. The circulation - 30 thousand of copies. Since 2002 it published in Kuwait.

Journal «Al -Ahram al-ryjady» - sport oriented daily edition, circulation is about 45 thousand of copies.

Journal «As-Synaa va al-iktisad» - daily edition. The main topic is a question of internal, Arab and international politic. The circulation is about 18 thousand of copies. Journal «Nysf ad-Dunja» - special edition for women. It was founded in 1989, the circulation - 25 thousand of copies.

Journal «Ash-Shabab va ulum al-mystakbal» - daily edition specialized on the problems of youth; the circulation is about 15 thousand of copies.

Journal «As-Syjasa ad-dyvalija» - specialized science edition, founded in 1991 by Bytros Gali. The circulation - 15 thousand of copies.

Journal «Cyrrosat al-Ahram al-istratidgyja» - scientific edition. The main topic: Middle East peace process, international terrorism, economic problem of the region and policy of G8.  The circulation is about 15 thousand of copies.

2) Corporation «Al-Ahbar». The second biggest edition house in Egypt. The chairman - Ibrahim Saada. The main print products are:

Newspaper «Al-Ahbar» - the biggest edition because of circulation (about 1 million of copies). It was founded in 1952. The chairman - Galjal Dyveidar. It has a lot of topics such as international and regional. Plus there is a big bloc of entertaining information. Journal «Ahar Saa» - social-political oriented edition, founded in 1934. The circulation is about 50 thousand of copies it also widespread out of borders of Egypt.

Journal «Al-Havadis» - daily edition with entertaining information, the circulation - 30 thousand of copies.

Journal of movie stars world «An-Nugum», of literature «Ahbar al-adab», of motor news «Ahbar as-sajarat», of sport news «Ahbar ar-Riada» are weekly.

3) Edition house «Dar at-Tahrir vaan-Nashr». The chairman - Samir Ragab. The main print products are: newspaper «Al-Gymhyrija»(500 thousand of copies), newspaper «Al-Masa» - biggest evening newspaper of Egypt(100 thousand of copies), newspaper «Egyptian gazette» - biggest on English language( 60 thousand of copies), Newspaper «Le Progress egipsen» - daily edition on French language(13 thousand of copies), newspaper «Akydati»(10 thousand of copies), newspaper «Al-Kyra vа al-malaib» - weekly overview of football matches.

4) Edition corporation «Ros al-Usef». One of the oldest in this sphere. The chairman - - Mahmud at-Tyhamy. The main products are: journal «Ros al-Usef» - weekly journal (80 thousand of copies), journal «Sahab al-Heir» - weekly overview of social and politic life (30 thousand of copies).

5) Edition house «Al-Hilal». One of the popular in Egypt. The chairman - Makram Muhammad Ahmed. The main journals: journal «Al-Mysavaar» - the most popular journal in Egypt (100 thousand of copies). Journal «Al-Hiva» - weekly women overview (25 thousand of copies), journal «Al-Kavakib» - art overview edition (20 thousand of copies), journal «Tabibak al-hass» - medicine edition (25 thousand of copies).

6) Corporation «Dar al- Maarif». Journal «October» - social and political weekly edition (40 thousand of copies) was founded in 1976 in honor of victory of October war in 1973.

7) Corporation «At-Taaun». Newspaper «As-Sijasiy al-masriy» - weekly edition on social and political topics (12 thousand of copies), newspaper "At-Taaun" and special agricultural newspaper.

8) Corporation «Dar ash-Shaab». Weekly edition «Ray ash-shaab» (5 thousand of copies).

II. Press of political parties. The main editions of political parties are:

Newspaper «Al-Vafd» - daily edition of the same name opposition party of the country. The circulation is about 60 thousand of copies.

Newspaper «Al-Ahrar» - daily edition of the liberal opposition party (30 thousand of copies).

Newspaper «Al-Ahaly» - weekly edition of National-progressive (left) party (50 thousand of copies). Maily it has a propahandistic goal.

Newspaper «Ash-Shaab» - newspaper of «Labor party» (40 thousand of copies) Newspaper «May» - weekly edition of ruling national-democratic party (65 thousand of copies). It was founded in 1981in honor of May revolution in 1971. It always involved in conflict with opposition parties. 

Newspaper «Al-Arabiy» - weekly edition of opposition Nasser Arab democratic party. The circulation is about 30 thousand of copies.

III. Social (national) editions. Almost all not so big and different of formats editions we can add to this group. The most famous are: monthly journal "Al-Fynyn", "Al-Myhandisin", "Red Egyptian half-moon", weekly edition "Al-Hajat", monthly journals "Al-Umma al-Islamija", "AlHirafijum", "As-Sakafa al-Gedina".

We can also mentioned monthly journal "Ad-Diplomasij" published by Egyptian diplomatic club, newspaper "An-Nabaa al-Vataniy"(12 thousand of copies) that express interests of youth part of National-democratic party. The most influential among social edition is business daily newspaper "Aljam al-Youm"(20 thousand of copies).

IV. Ministerial Editions. There are about 50 ministerial editions in Egypt. The most popular is journal "Minbar al-Islam", weekly journal "Al-Isaava at-television", monthly journal "Ad-Difaa" of Ministry of military affairs, journal "Ad-Difaa al-gayi", monthly journal "An Tanmija va al-Bija", official weekly newspaper "Al-Garida ar-Rasmija" that contain laws of president.

V. Local editions. There are about 54 newspapers and journals on local level in Egypt. In Alexandria for example there are such journals as “New Alexandria”, “Saut al-Iskandarija” etc. All of them are governmental. 

VI. Foreign editions. We can mention the biggest Saudi weekly editions as "Ash-Shark al-Ausat" and "Al-Hajat", monthly journal "Egypt today" and weekly "Middle East times-Egypt"(10 thousand of copies). Amaunt of foreign embassies in Cairo published their own editions on Arab or English languages, such embassies as Indian, Indonesian, American, British, etc. 

     The most expressive Egyptian project in media sphere is "Free zone of media". Many foreign information companies took part in this project. Nevertheless a lot of analytics called Egypt as "non free" from the point of view of democratic media. Because there is still strike control from the side of government and there is still censorship.  

     Radio broadcast in Egypt 

     The ERTU still controls the majority of Egypt's radio stations, but listening figures have dropped dramatically owing to the spread of television in general and the wide availability of satellite television in particular. Egyptians rely on state radio for recitations from the Koran. State radio is also the main provider of news programmers, presenting the government's position on local and world affairs. The main entertainment and news stations include Arab Republic of Egypt General Service, Voice of the Arabs, Holy Koran Service and Greater Cairo Radio. The government has recently allowed two private stations to broadcast on FM, Nijoom FM, which broadcasts Arabic songs, and Nile FM, which airs songs in English. Both appeal strongly to younger age groups, offering up-to-date music and discussions on topics of interest, but no news.

     External radio service of Cairo broadcast on 33 languages on short waves. Arab language service and radio station» Voice of Arabs" broadcast on Europe and Middle East.  
 From the foreign radio stations available are Radio Monte Carlo and "France International".  

Satellite Television of Egypt 

     Television remains the most popular medium in Egypt and audience numbers are increasing rapidly. Nearly two-thirds of Egyptians also listen to the radio on a daily basis, with news and religious programming particularly popular. The domestic state broadcaster ERTU offers two national terrestrial channels, ERTU 1 and ERTU 2. It also provides news and current affairs output for the Egyptian Satellite Channel, ESC 1, and Nile TV International. Nile Thematic TV was established in 1998 in an attempt to modernize the image of state television and win back audiences lost to the pan-Arab channels. The company has its own management, independent of Channel 1 and 2, but remains under the control of ERTU. Its 12 channels focus on arts and culture, news and current affairs, music, sports and children's programming. The most popular private TV channels are Dream 1 and Dream 2, 90% of which are owned by an Egyptian businessman and 10% by ERTU.  Entertainment programmers form much of the output on Dream 1, which targets 16- to 26-year-olds, while Dream 2 attracts older viewers with live talk shows airing controversial issues not covered on state-run TV. These shows have received warnings in the past from the authorities, and some presenters have been sacked or suspended.

Egypt was the first Arab country that launched their own cosmic satellite - Nile sat 101. 

      Satellite television changed Egyptian TV broadcast very rapidly. New satellite program was a result of new international information program (transformation of old colonial European model in national information system). This program was support by UN and UNESCO in the second half of 70s - 80-s. One of such system is  
АТ - organization of Arab satellite television. In 1976 in Cairo ministers of communications of some Arab countries signed an agreement about foundation of system of satellite communications (АRABSАТ) as international organization which should control TV broadcasting, phone conversations through satellite connection and develop communication in region.  There are 5 member-states of ARABSAТ: Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Kuwait, UAA (ОАЭ).  
Satellite channels of Egypt television had a lot of programs connected to the Islam. For example, channel Nile -TV International that broadcasting for foreign auditory to make their knowledge's about Islam wider and show different sides of their religion. The necessarily of such programs depends on activity of radical Islamic organizations in different countries of region. For example the main goal of such channel as ESC-1(Egyptian Space Channel-1) is in propaganda of external policy of Egypt, stimulation of development relations between foreign Egyptian disport and embassies of country.   
 Egyptian ESC-1 is call to consolidate all Egyptian out of borders of the country.  
The channel ESC-2(Egyptian Space Channel-2) calls to promote national products on foreign markets. Both of channels provide politic of promoting tourist advantages of Egypt for foreign auditorium.  
 Egypt also took part in creating and developing of multinational cosmic news service - Euro news. 
Egypt and Globalization

      Despite some roadblocks, Egypt is on its way to becoming part of the global community. Policies are still needed, however, to solve many complex issues, such as illiteracy, unemployment and the high cost of communications technology.

     Confidently and steadily, Egypt shoulders its way into the age of globalization, armored with an ancient civilization and a great culture, to positively interact with other civilizations. Interacting with technology as a part of the educational process, designing the educational policies within the framework of an economy based on the know-how capital, in addition to applying the computer studies in all institutes and schools. The science and technology system of Egypt includes rational institutions; e.g., the ad hoc national councils, the technical committees of the People's Assembly and the Shura Council, the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, the Ministries of Education and Scientific Research, and 318 executive institutions for scientific research in the different fields that include 13 governmental universities and five private ones. When President Mubarak came to office in 1981, presidential decree No. 627 of 1981 on establishing information centers in all the ministries, authorities and governorates was issued. Egypt made progress in the Satellite Technology by transmitting the first Arab satellite channel in 1990 followed by launching the Nilesat-1 in 1996- then the Nilesat-2 in the year 2000. In cooperation with France, this communication network, however, contains more than 8 million lines, being always updated to fulfill the internet needs. Moreover, there are more than 500 newspapers and magazines and 1400 information centers and databases, seven faculties for computer science and informatics have been established beside the Information Technology Institute. There are also more than 400 specialist firms in the fields of software and information technology. Add to all this, Egypt's approach towards establishing the intelligent villages, the scientific cities and the technology valleys. The employment of Egypt's culture and civilization to serve humanity and to support the cultural dialogue between Egypt and the rest of the world. The foundation stone for the Bibliotheca Alexandrina was laid in 1988 and it was inaugurated in 2002 to revive such a historic library after 1600 years in order to enhance Egypt's civilized role in the 21st century. The reopening of the library represents a window to Egypt on the world and, at the same time, a window to the world on Egypt. Moreover, President Mubarak laid last year the foundation stone for the Grand Egyptian Museum which is equipped with the means of modern technology as media for knowledge and information. Finally, we have to mention that the reopening of the Egyptian Opera House in 1988, after 17 years of ago the old opera house had been burned, is considered a step on the way towards enhancing the cultural awareness. The civilization interaction with the international cultures and the spread of the Arab culture through the Egyptian cultural festivals. For example, the yearly Cairo International Book Fair, the Cairo International Festival for the Experimental Theatre, The Arab Music Festival, the Cairo International Cinema Festival, the Ismailia International Festival for Folklore Art, the Egyptian National Cinema Festival, and the Festival of the International Symposium for Sculpture.

      Globalization has created new horizons to nations to cooperate and to cultures and civilizations to interact. Challenges of globalization impose on nations to enrich their cultures and to respond to the call of the UN to make the year 2001 a year for the dialogue between civilizations. Egypt, indeed, realized the necessity of the effective participation in such dialogue, and of extending the bridges of understanding and trust particularly after the event of September the 11th. Therefore, on 26-27 November 2001, a conference on dialogue between civilizations was held in Cairo to stress the importance of entrenching the culture of peace and justice so as to prevent conflicts and to care about the enlightened Arab culture. Egypt has also participated in the activities of the civilization dialogue in the US and in Davos, Switzerland.

     It was mentioned hereinabove that Egypt deals safely with the trends of globalization. Here comes the role of the Egyptian mass media in protecting the Egyptian cultural identity and the Arab, Islamic and Egyptian mentality from any opposing cultural trends. At the same time, they sincerely broadcast our issues, interests and policies internationally; besides, they support the dialogue between the different cultures.

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