Lina Attalah: The Powerful Voice Of Egypt

Lina Attalah: The Powerful Voice Of Egypt
Lina Attalah, Egyptian journalist and chief editor at Mada Masr (TANIA/CONTRASTO-REA)

Lina Attalah, an Egyptian journalist, made her life’s mission to bring Egypt’s real stories to its citizens and the rest of the world.

Her writings have appeared in the Cairo Times, Al-Masry, The Daily Star, Al Youm, Christian Science Monitor, and Thomson Reuters. In 2005, she worked as a radio producer and campaign organiser for the BBC World Service Trust. Prior to the collapse of the Egypt Independent’s print edition in 2013, she was its managing editor. She is the co-founder and first Chief Editor of MADA MASR, an independent Egyptian online daily.

Attalah covered significant events in the Egyptian world, including the 2011 Egyptian revolution. She and her colleagues withstood attacks from security forces during the coverage. In November 2019, Mada Masr published an article criticizing Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. It led to the detention of Attalah and other MADA MASR members for a day and a half. Their laptops and phones were confiscated. Freelancers and visitors to the newspaper office held in solitary confinement.

As a result, it became increasingly difficult to ignore the strong and powerful voice of Lina Attalah. Soon, UNESCO recognised her powerful voice when they invited her to speak on World Press Freedom Day.

She is constantly active on social media platforms and has a large fan base. The International Centre for Journalists presented her with the 2020 KNIGHT INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISM AWARD. Lina was named one of TIME’S TOP 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE OF 2020.

Attalah’s victory lies in her courage despite repeated threats from politicians and celebrities she doesn’t mince her words.

“Lina’s troubles, and our ‘necessary’ troubles, range from the storming of the office, the detention of our journalists after publishing a potentially disruptive story, and the arrest and detention of Lina while carrying out her journalistic duties, to the simplest trouble: posting daily on a blocked website,” said a Facebook post written by Mada Masr staff that celebrated her inclusion on Time’s list.

“Trying to engage in free and critical media in Egypt in the last several years has at times been a lonely endeavour,” Attalah told the Century Foundation in a report titled “Innovative Arab Media and the New Outlines of Citizenship.” Even when things are going well, reporting and writing for Mada Masr… might feel like fighting a flood with a bucket or shouting into the wind. There is a rising tide of authoritarianism all around.”

On July 5, Egypt’s parliament enacted legislation giving the government expanded powers to suppress free expression, breach citizens’ privacy, and imprison online activists for peaceful dissent. The Media Regulation Law, passed in late July, restricts journalistic liberties, authorises censoring without judicial rulings, and imposes hefty monetary fines for breaking the law’s sections. Additionally, there are prison sentences for cases involving “inciting violence.”


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