A Case Study: Mada Masr—A Progressive Voice in Egypt and Beyond

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

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A Case Study: Mada Masr—A Progressive Voice in Egypt and Beyond

  • Nadia Leihs Independent Researcher, Germany

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Abstract:  This article questions the role of the media in times of political transformation. In doing so, it draws on theories on the interconnectedness of the different fields of society to explain the sets of roles that media outlets and journalists adopt during phases of transition. Before 2011, the Egyptian media mostly acted as collaborators of the ruling regime and rarely as an agent of change. Journalists took over the latter role more often following the advent of privately-owned media outlets, thus helping to pave the way for the events of the so-called Arab Spring. This case study focuses on the development of the online news portal Mada Masr and therefore traces the development of two newsrooms. Starting as the English edition of a privately-owned Arabic newspaper in 2009 and changing its status to an independent news outlet in 2013, Mada Masr is one of the few voices which still openly criticise the Egyptian government. Founded in a time of political turmoil and struggling against an increasingly authoritarian environment, the outlet implements innovative ways of producing content, securing funding, and reaching out to its readers. A group of young Egyptian and international journalists make use of new spaces for expression that have opened through the global changes in communication infrastructure while struggling with frequent attacks by representatives of the ruling regime. As such, Mada Masr is a role model for small and regime-critical media outlets.

Keywords:  alternative media; Arab Spring; authoritarianism; Egyptian media; Mada Masr; media systems; media transitions; online journalism


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v9i4.4492

© Nadia Leihs. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.