Egypt's most popular daily sacks chief editor over election

2018-04-06 18:28


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Egypt's most popular daily has sacked its chief editor amid a crisis over the paper's coverage of last month's presidential election, which critics have dubbed undemocratic, in the latest blow to freedom of the press in Egypt.

The dismissal note for Mohammed el-Sayyed Saleh was signed by Al-Masry Al-Youm's CEO Abdel-Moneim Said, and was dated April 4.

It was widely circulated on social media on Friday and the paper's journalists, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorised to speak to the media, confirmed its authenticity.

Attempts to reach Saleh were unsuccessful. On his Facebook page, Saleh posted that he had left his job, claiming it was his own desire. He said he is "proud of what I have produced ... proud of 14 years of my work here and proud of 1 000 headlines."

The dismissal note did not include reasons behind the sacking and only said, "it has been decided to end the assignment" of Saleh as a chief editor.

Election authorities have said the paper's coverage amounted to an "insult." Al-Masry Al-Youm ran a piece last month about state-orchestrated efforts to mobilise voters using rewards. One of the headlines read: "Officials promising financial bonus, gifts in front of the polls."

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news from around the continent by subscribing to our FREE newsletter, Hello Africa.

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook. 

Saleh was referred for questioning, while Egypt's state prosecutor opened an investigation into the paper's election coverage. The state-run Supreme Council for Media Regulations fined the paper $8 400 and demanded it publish an apology.

The paper, which had changed the contentious headlines in second editions, ran an apology on Monday.

Al-Masry Al-Youm is owned by Egyptian tycoon Saleh Diab who in 2015 was briefly arrested over corruption allegations. The incident was seen as a warning from authorities.

In the March balloting, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was re-elected for a second term, getting 97% of the vote in a virtually one-man contest, with only one obscure politician running after all serious challengers were arrested or pressured to withdraw from the race.

Since the ouster of al-Sisi's predecessor, Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, in 2013 following mass protests against his divisive rule, authorities have waged an unprecedented crackdown on political dissent and media.

Thousands have been jailed, including journalists. Protests have been banned, hundreds of websites blocked, and freedom of press has largely been curbed.

Days before the election, authorities expelled British journalist Bel Trew after arresting her and threatening her with a military trial.

Also this week, Adel Sabri, the chief editor of Masr al-Arabia independent website, was arrested. He faces allegations of membership in the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, publishing false news, and managing an unlicensed website - typical allegations against government critics.

Masr al-Arabia was also fined nearly $3 000 for publishing an Arabic translation of a New York Times report saying voters were offered cash, food and promises of better services in exchange for casting ballots.

Reporters Without Borders has ranked Egypt as 161 out of 180 countries on their 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Call Centre Consultants

Western Cape
Pro Placements Recruitment Agency
R4 500.00 - R5 000.00 Per Month


Cape Town
Specifying Personnel
R8 000.00 - R10 000.00 Per Month

Spa Manager

Spencer Rogers Recruitment Consultants

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.