Today we were shocked by news that Egypt Independent will cease operating as a full standalone newspaper, that many of its brilliant staff will have to leave the organisation, and that the paper will only become an online portal that translates into English some of the main material from its parent publication Al-Masry Al-Youm. Not only that, but the 50th and final issue for the paper has been banned by its parent company from being published.
I said it this morning and I'll say it again: what a horrible loss for Egypt, the region and for great journalism everywhere.
What Egypt Independent brought to Egyptian journalism has been beyond measure. The paper excelled in providing truly professional and objective journalism, one that also succeeded in remaining simultaneously progressive, principled and righteous. Of course, it effortlessly did so because it was only a direct reflection of the identity, values and spirit of its remarkable team, spearheaded by the incomparable Lina Attalah.
Egypt Independent was brave, bold and brilliant. It was one of few truly reliable voices (in a sea of loud, yet often tabloid-ish, local journalism) that told the story of Egypt to the world like no one could, day in and day out. It also dared, many times, to defiantly refuse to be put on any leash, to reject restraint by archaic limits that many continued to choose, and to always put its mission ahead of anything else. With Egypt Independent no longer with us, the world, and Egypt itself, loses a profound and inimitable insight into the soul of this country. The country is also losing a resounding voice that defended democracy, liberties and the dreams of its revolution. It is an utter shame that the management of Al-Masry Al-Youm has decided not to fight the good fight for this world class establishment.
I have no doubts that the indomitable journalists behind the paper will only continue to shine in new ways and ventures. They have my infinite appreciation and gratitude as a reader, as a writer, and as an Egyptian.
Thank you, Egypt Independent.
Read the full final issue, banned from publication, here. Also, read Lina Attalah's piece on what took place here.