Al-‘Arabī writes about the recent change in positions for editors-in-chief and how it is affected by the government.
"Before interpreting the political dimension in the recent changes in some of the administrations in national newspapers and positions for editors-in-chief," Muhammad ‘Alī Khayr starts his article, "we should first congratulate our colleagues who occupied these positions which we consider a difficult task."
Politics played a major role in the selection of candidates for editor-in-chief positions in national papers. It is almost impossible to separate between political life, especially inside the National Democratic Party (NDP), on the one side and what is taking place inside pro-governmental newspapers on the other side.
For a long time, the choice of editors for national newspapers was carried out by a presidential decision, before which the president thinks and carefully investigates the candidates and their political views. ‘Alī Khayr gives an example the writer, Ahmad Bahā’ al-Dīn, who asserted such an idea in one of his books, Muhāwarātī ma‘ al-Sādāt [My talks with Sādāt], where he narrated how he was sure that he would become head of Rose al-Yūsuf, which was suffering from financial problems at that time because he knew how al-Sādāt thought.
Further notes concerning the process of choosing people for such positions include:
1. The file of choosing editors-in-chief is no longer a presidential concern. However, another powerful authority in the NDP has started to control the process; the Policies Secretariat of the party.
2. Since the revolution, some rules have controlled the issue of choosing editors-in-chief. Such rules included the necessity of choosing Christian journalists to occupy some of these positions. In addition, choosing editors-in-chief was done according to the political and cultural background of the paper. However, this is not the case in the latest changes where such backgrounds and ideas have completely disappeared because all the choices reflect only one idea and one logic; that of the NDP Policies Secretariat.
3. These recent changes demonstrate that Jamāl Mubārak and his followers play a vital and essential role in taking such decisions. Accordingly, it has become clear that anyone that would like to occupy a prestigious position should follow the ideas of the Policies Secretariat.
However, it should be mentioned that these recent changes do have some positive aspects like the fact that most of the chosen people are middle-aged, experienced and eminent figures; something that should positively affect the future of journalism in Egypt.