Necessity: Mother of Al-Ahram Editor’s Reinvention

Mubarak’s biggest apologist in Egypt’s state-run media is busy proving that necessity is the mother of reinvention. But Omar Saraya still won’t save to save his cushy job as top-editor of the state-run Al-Ahram.

Leila Fadel visited Al-Ahram to interview Saraya, but she instead found:

At al-Ahram, reporters and editors met for four hours Sunday to discuss whether Saraya, who was appointed in 2005 because of his membership in the ruling party, should continue in his post, journalists and board members said.

Under his leadership, the paper often read like a compilation of government news releases. In September, Saraya defended his decision to publish a photograph that had been doctored to elevate Mubarak to the head of the pack among Middle Eastern leaders walking with President Obama at the White House.

In the early days of the protests, Saraya appeared on Arabic-language news channels to dismiss the protesters as nothing more than a handful of people. In a Jan. 28 column, he warned that the demonstrations were being hijacked by Islamists and people with nefarious foreign agendas.

Fadel’s scheduled interview was a bust:

Saraya did not show up for a scheduled interview Sunday. His secretary said he was in a meeting in the next room and later said he was not in the office. When asked why the boxes were packed, she said he was moving to a new office.

The only picture still displayed in the room showed him with King Abdullah II of Jordan. Inside an open notebook on the table was writing that praised Mubarak as a powerful “eagle” and “the living legend.”

Egyptians deserve a better media than what Saraya represents. Almost anything would be an improvement.


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