A look on local journalism in the Arab region: Do we begin from here is written by the following group of writers, researchers and specialists who commented on the papers:
Amel Mekki, Smail Hamoudi, Redouane Boudjemaa, Abdel Hak Saaf, Ahmed Khair El Din, Belal Slyten, Dalia Shams, Nor El Hoda Bouzegaou, Rabie Barakat, Nahwnd El Kadri Issa, Elie Challhoub, and it is edited and forwarded by Amr ElShobaki.
This book sheds light on different Arab local media experiences compared to the advanced experience of France, at a time the profession of journalism in general, and print journalism particularly, is suffering from major problems. The book wonders whether the change and development of the journalism starts from the local journalism in small cities and neighborhoods, or it is mainly related to national newspapers. It also examines whether there is a missing loop that can be filled by local journalism through covering many shortcomings of the national journalism. The book also discusses some of the research and professional aspects related to the development of journalism tools, including adaptation in the service of the journalism and the future of the Arab journalism.
The book is divided into an introduction and 11 sections or papers and commentaries. The first three sections talk about local journalism experiences in Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria, while the fourth one comments on the reality and prospects of the local journalism in these countries. The fifth section discusses Egyptian local journalism between reality and hopes, and the sixth one talks about Syrian local journalism during the armed conflict between 2011 and 2018, while the seventh part offers a comparison between the two countries. In addition, the importance of the comparative dimension is highlighted in the eighth section through the experience of local journalism in France. The ninth section is entitled “Digital Adaptation in the service of the journalism” followed by one commenting on it, and finally a section discussing the future of journalism in the Arab world.
The papers agree that the local Arab journalism suffers from a structural crisis, but they differ in details. In Maghreb countries, this crisis prevents local journalism from contributing to the democratic construction; the book also considers that there is a dialectical relation between local journalism and the country’s general situation. The book links the changes in the Egyptian local journalism to the abuse of power on it, it also considers that the Syrian local journalism is weak and sick because of its drowning in politics and war alliances. In France, the local journalism played a major historical role, but it was a tool in the hands of the government and the bosses, and it needs now legal strengthening. The book also expects the expansion of local media at the expense of national media but with different roles aimed to emphasizing differentiations, due to the media chaos that divided identities into ethnic, sectarian, regional, gender and sectoral.
Full version of the Book is available at Dar Al Maraya for Cultural Production, 23 Abdel Khaliq Tharwat Street, Downtown, Cairo, and at Arab Forum for Alternatives office in Beirut, West house 3 Building, Jane Darc, Hamra St., Beirut, Lebanon. For an Arabic synopsis: