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Al Ahram cover page.jpg
Typical Al-Ahram front page.
TypeDaily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s) Egyptian Government
PublisherAl-Ahram Publishing House
EditorMohamed Abdelhady Allam
Founded5 August 1875;143 years ago (1875-08-05)
Political alignmentUncertain (2011-present)
National Democratic Party (1978–2011)
Language Arabic
Headquarters Boulaq, Cairo, Egypt
Circulation 1,000,000 daily
1,200,000 Fridays [1]
Website Arabic:

Al-Ahram (Egyptian Arabic : الأهرام; The Pyramids), founded on 5 August 1875, is the most widely circulating Egyptian daily newspaper, and the second oldest after al-Waqa'i`al-Masriya (The Egyptian Events, founded 1828). [2] It is majority owned by the Egyptian government.

Politics of Egypt

The politics of Egypt is based on republicanism, with a semi-presidential system of government, established following the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, and the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. The President of Egypt is elected for a maximum of two four-year terms and the Parliament is unicameral and unbiased. The President can appoint up to 5% of the total number of seats in Parliament, and can also dissolve it. Parliament can also impeach the President. Egypt was traditionally ruled by royals until 1952, but the first free elected President was in 2006. The Parliament of Egypt is the oldest legislative chamber in Africa and the Middle East.


Given the large dialectal variety of the Arabic language, Al-Ahram is widely considered an influential source of writing style in Arabic. In 1950, the Middle East Institute described Al-Ahram as being to the Arabic-reading public within its area of distribution, "What The Times is to Englishmen and The New York Times to Americans", [3] however it has often been accused of heavy influence and censorship by the Egyptian government.

Middle East Institute organization

The Middle East Institute (MEI) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank and cultural center in Washington, D.C., founded in 1946. It seeks to "increase knowledge of the Middle East among the citizens of the United States and to promote a better understanding between the people of these two areas".

<i>The Times</i> British newspaper, founded 1785

The Times is a British daily national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register, adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, itself wholly owned by News Corp. The Times and The Sunday Times do not share editorial staff, were founded independently, and have only had common ownership since 1967.

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 125 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.

In addition to the main edition published in Egypt, the paper publishes two other Arabic-language editions, one geared to the Arab world and the other aimed at an international audience, as well as editions in English and French.

Arab world geographic and cultural region

The Arab world, also known as the Arab nation, the Arabsphere or the Arab states, currently consists of the 22 Arab countries of the Arab League. These Arab states occupy North Africa and West Asia; an area stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeast. The contemporary Arab world has a combined population of around 422 million inhabitants, over half of whom are under 25 years of age.


Al-Ahram was founded in Alexandria in 1875 [4] by two Lebanese brothers, Beshara Takla and Saleem Takla. [5] [6] It began as a weekly newspaper published every Saturday. Its first issue appeared on 5 August 1876. [7] [8] The paper was relaunched as a daily newspaper in January 1881. [7]

Alexandria Metropolis in Egypt

Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt and a major economic centre, extending about 32 km (20 mi) along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country. Its low elevation on the Nile delta makes it highly vulnerable to rising sea levels. Alexandria is an important industrial center because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria is also a popular tourist destination.

The Lebanese people are the people inhabiting or originating from Lebanon. The term may also include those who had inhabited Mount Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains prior to the creation of the modern Lebanese state. The religious groups among the Lebanese people are Shias (27%), Sunnis (27%), Maronites (21%), Greek Orthodox (8%), Melkites (5%), Druze (5.6%), Protestants (1%). There is a large diaspora in North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Africa.

Saleem Takla was the founder of Al-Ahram with his brother Beshara Takla.

Its headquarters was in Alexandria until November 1899 when it was moved to Cairo. [7] The newspaper was distributed in Egypt and the Levant. The religious innovators Muhammad Abduh and Jamal al-Din al-Afghani were early writers of the newspaper. Upon the death of Beshara Takla, Daud Barakat, a Lebanese journalist, was named editor of the daily in 1901. [9]

Cairo City in Egypt

Cairo is the capital of Egypt. The city's metropolitan area is one of the largest in Africa, the largest in the Middle East, and the 15th-largest in the world, and is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area. Located near the Nile Delta, modern Cairo was founded in 969 CE by the Fatimid dynasty, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life, and is titled "the city of a thousand minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture. Cairo is considered a World City with a "Beta +" classification according to GaWC.

Levant geographic and cultural region consisting of the eastern Mediterranean between Anatolia and Egypt

The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean, primarily in Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its islands; that is, it included all of the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greece to Cyrenaica.

Muhammad Abduh Egyptian jurist

Muḥammad 'Abduh was an Egyptian Islamic jurist, religious scholar and liberal reformer, regarded as one of the key founding figures of Islamic Modernism, sometimes called Neo-Mu’tazilism after the medieval Islamic school of theology based on rationalism, Muʿtazila. He also wrote, among other things, "Treatise on the Oneness of God", and a commentary on the Qur'an.

On 24 May 1960, the paper was nationalized when President Gamal Abdel Nasser passed a law eliminating the ownership of private newspapers. [8] [10]

President of Egypt The President of the Arab Republic of Egypt is the head of state of Egypt.

The President of the Arab Republic of Egypt is the head of state of Egypt. Under the various iterations of the Constitution of Egypt, the president is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and head of the executive branch of the Egyptian government. The current president is Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in office since 8 June 2014.

Gamal Abdel Nasser Second president of Egypt

Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt, serving from 1954 until his death in 1970. Nasser led the 1952 overthrow of the monarchy and introduced far-reaching land reforms the following year. Following a 1954 attempt on his life by a Muslim Brotherhood member, he cracked down on the organization, put President Mohamed Naguib under house arrest and assumed executive office. He was formally elected president in June 1956.

The circulation of the paper was between 45,000 and 50,000 copies in 1937 whereas it was 90,000 copies in 1947. [11] In 1976 the paper had a circulation of 520,000 copies, making it the second most read daily in Egypt after Al Akhbar . [11] Al Ahram's circulation in 2000 was 1.2 million copies. [12]

Profile and editions

Al-Ahram daily is the flagship of what is now the Al-Ahram publishing house, the largest in Egypt. [13] Al-Ahram's headquarters is in Boulaq, Cairo. Its content was controlled[ citation needed ] by the Egyptian Ministry of Information.

The pan-Arab Arabic-language edition of the paper, called Al Ahram Al Arabiya, is destined for readers in the Arab World and the Egyptian expatriates in Arab countries. It is published daily in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and distributed in Egypt and Arab states of the Persian Gulf. Arabic weekly, Al Ahram Al Arabi , which was launched in 1997 is another publication of the publishing house. [14]

An international Arabic-language edition called Al Ahram al Duwali has been published daily in London since 1984. It is printed in both London and Paris and is distributed throughout Europe, USA, Canada and Egypt.

Two foreign-language weekly versions are also produced: the English Al-Ahram Weekly (founded in 1991) and the French Al-Ahram Hebdo .

Al-Ahram produces a continually updated news website in the English language at, called Ahram Online. It also has an Arabic news website which was the 20th mostly visited website for 2010 in the MENA region. [15] It was named as the most popular news portal in the Arab world in the period from 31 August 2011 to 31 August 2012 by Forbes Middle East. [16] [17]

Ownership and government influence

Al-Ahram is owned by the Al-Ahram Foundation which is managed by the Egyptian government's "Supreme Council of Press". Al-Ahram is one of the largest circulating newspapers in the world. [18] Long-term editor of the daily Mohammad Hassanein Haykal was the confidant of Nasser and also, the semi-official voice of the Egyptian government when he was in office. [5] [19]

The Egyptian government owns a controlling share of the stocks of the paper and appoints the editors. As appointees of the state, little censorship is exercised over them; it is understood that they are loyal to the state. [20] Under President Hosni Mubarak, Al-Ahram largely ignored, and trivialised the opposition parties to Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party, and did not publish much direct criticism of the government. [21]

The Anti-Defamation League, in a review of Arab newspapers in 2005, stated that Al-Ahram "is given substantial leeway" by the government so long as they avoid "certain 'taboos'." [22] Reporters Without Borders, in their 2005 report on press freedom in Egypt, reported that editorials in many newspapers, including Al-Ahram, had become increasingly critical of the National Democratic Party's control of the government, and the corruption of the Mubarak regime. [23] In an interview with Reporters Without Borders, Abdel Halim Qandil, editor of the weekly magazine Al-Arabi, said that the government interfered with independent operation of Al-Ahram by controlling the printing presses and appointing the editors. [23]

Al-Ahram generated controversy in September 2010 when an Egyptian blogger, Wael Khalil, revealed that the newspaper had altered a photo of Middle East leaders walking with United States President Barack Obama so that instead of Obama leading the group, Egyptian President Mubarak was placed in the front when he was actually walking in the rearmost position. [24] Osama Saraya, Al-Ahram's editor-in-chief, defended the altered photo, stating that it was meant to underscore Egypt's leading role in the peace process: "The expressionist photo is... a brief, live and true expression of the prominent stance of President Mubarak in the Palestinian issue, his unique role in leading it before Washington or any other." [25]

Notable writers and editors

Mohamed Hassanein Heikal was the long-term editor-in-chief of Al Ahram. He served in the post between August 1957 [19] and 1974. [9] Ali Amin served as editor-in-chief between 1974 and 1976. [9] From 1978 to July 2006 Ibrahim Nafie was the editor-in-chief of Al Ahram. [26] He also served as the chairman of the daily until 2005. [27] Nafie was replaced by Osama Saraya as editor-in-chief in July 2005. [27] In August 2012, Abdel Nasser Salama was appointed editor-in-chief of the paper by the Egyptian Shura Council. [28]

Notable writers include:

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