Survival mechanisms for Middle East journalists

In some countries, reporting is normal because is a job and people have the right to be informed. In others, it is risky for journalists and a privilege for the people to know what is happening around.
Since 2011, some Middle East and North African countries are seeking freedom, which should go hand in hand with journalism. Is hard, especially where regimes don’t like it, but there are examples showing that somehow it is possible to report, like the ones exposed at Survival mechanisms for Middle East journalists, a panel discussion offered today by the International Journalism Festival, in Perugia.
Egypt was one of the most important scenarios of the Arab Spring but reporting there it’s still a difficult assignment. Lina Attalah, part of Mada Masr, knows it: “Blocking pages in Egypt is happening and the regime finds the way to do it by law. The threat is against on-ground journalism.”
It can also be seen from the other side. Bel Trew, The Times correspondent, admits that for her job is safer to stay in friends houses than in hotels, even knowing that what she does doesn’t affect the regime itself because is to inform people abroad.
With his experience and affirming that “since 1952, regime only likes propaganda”, writer Wael Abdel-Fattah is quite optimistic. He founded Medina, a website that like Mada Masr tries to do sustainable and independent journalism.
“The idea is not the surviving of organizations, but of being able to publish,” stated. Ms. Attalah, who added that at her newsroom the make “collective decisions” and act “as a community.”
Egyptian regime is shutting down web pages, 497 in the last three months according to Lina El Wardani, from Ahram Online. She also shares there are journalists unable to do their job or judged by military trials that are sending them to jail or even death penalty.
Fears? “Sure,” responded Mr. Abdel-Fattah. “The regime hates journalism.”
“But people can do something —completed Ms. Trew—, keep reading and supporting Egyptian free media.”

José Manuel Cuevas