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Egypt: Media System

Carola Richter


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Egypt occupies a leading political and cultural role in the Arab world as the region's most populous state, with 83 million inhabitants. Until 1914, Egypt officially belonged to the Ottoman Empire. However, British economic and geopolitical interests in the region turned Egypt into a semi-colony from 1882 to 1952. The ongoing struggle for independence culminated in the Free Officers Revolution in 1952, which established a nationalist regime. Islam plays a minor but visible role in official politics and legislation. Despite Egypt formally being a parliamentary democracy, the authoritarian president pulls the political strings. Since 1954, only three presidents have ruled Egypt, each of them shaping the media system differently. Gamal Abdel Nasser (1954–1970) used the media as an instrument of political mobilization within the strategy of promoting Arab nationalism (→ Development Communication: Middle East ). Anwar al-Sadat's (1970–1981) politics of liberalization opened up space for party papers. Hosni Mubarak (since 1981) still expects media to support the regime's politics but came to meet the Egyptian business elites’ interests to invest in new media and information technologies. Therefore, Egypt's media system is in a transitional stage. Strong media competition in the Arab world during the 1990s led to a cautious liberalization aiming at securing markets without losing political ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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