Cover image for The press in the Arab Middle East : a history
The press in the Arab Middle East : a history
Ayalon, Ami.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, [1995]

Physical Description:
xiv, 300 pages ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN5359 .A93 1995 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Newspapers and the practice of journalism began in the Middle East in the nineteenth century and evolved during a period of accelerated sociopolitical and cultural change. Inspired by a foreign model, the Arab press developed in its own way, in terms of its political and social roles, culturalfunction, and the public image of those who engaged in it. Ami Ayalon draws on a broad array of primary sources--a century of Arabic newspapers, biographies and memoirs of Arab journalists and politicians, and archival material--as well as a large body of published studies, to portray the remarkablevitality of Arab journalism. He explores the press as a Middle Eastern institution during its formative century before World War II and the circumstances that shaped its growth, tracing its impact, in turn, on local historical developments. After treating the major phases in chronological sequence,he looks closely at more specific aspects: the relations between press and state; newspapers and their audience; the press and traditional cultural norms; economic aspects of the trade; and journalism as a new profession in Arab society.

Author Notes

Ami Ayalon is at Tel Aviv University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Although presented by its author as "no more than an introduction to the history of [the Arabic Press]" and "not a comprehensive study," this book contains a wealth of information on the nature, development, and progress of this rarefied topic in historical scholarship. Moreover, this competently researched, very well written, and elegantly produced study throws bright light on its subject matter, not only as a particular item in the inventory of Arab culture, but also an institution that exists within overall sociopolitical and economic systems of varied though closely related polities. Ayalon intelligently and objectively examines the relationship of the native Arabic press to the different regimes under which it must live, serve, and prosper. With its predecessors--e.g., Tom McFadden's Daily Journalism in the Arab States (1954) and William Rugh's The Arab Press (CH, Feb'80; 2nd ed., 1987)--the English-speaking student of Arabic and international journalism now has available the major sources on this important subject. Wholeheartedly recommended, upper-division undergraduate and above. K. I. Semaan; emeritus, SUNY at Binghamton

Table of Contents

Abbreviationsp. ix
Introductionp. 3
I Historical Phases
1. State Bulletins: Pronouncing the Official Truthp. 11
"Egyptian Events,"p. 13
The Official Ottoman Pressp. 20
2. Enthusiastic Beginnings: The Private Press, 1855-1882p. 28
The Private Press in Lebanonp. 31
Egypt: The Focus Moves Westp. 39
Europe, the Convenient Refugep. 46
3. The Private Press, 1882-1918p. 50
Egypt, the Capital of Arab Journalismp. 51
The Fertile Crescent and the Hejaz: Beginningsp. 62
Wartime Exigenciesp. 69
4. The Arab States and the Press, 1918-1945p. 73
Egyptp. 75
Syria and Lebanonp. 82
Iraqp. 91
Palestinep. 95
The Journalistic Periphery: Transjordan and the Arabian Peninsulap. 101
The End of an Erap. 104
II Aspects of Development
5. Press, State, and the Question of Freedomp. 109
State and Press: The Stick and the Carrotp. 110
Journalists and Freedomp. 126
6. The Readerp. 138
Cultural Determinantsp. 138
Circulationp. 145
Popular Exposure to the Pressp. 154
Press and Readershipp. 159
7. Cultural Legacy and the Challenge of the Pressp. 166
Printing and the Guardians of Old Valuesp. 166
Newspapers and Traditional Literary Normsp. 173
The Vocabulary of the Pressp. 182
8. The Economic Angle: The Press as Merchandise and as Enterprisep. 190
The Press as Merchandisep. 190
The Press as Enterprise: Starting Upp. 195
Sources of Income: Advertisingp. 202
Sources of Income: Circulationp. 206
Sources of Income: Subsidizationp. 211
9. The Craft of the Arab Journalistp. 215
Lure and Frustrationp. 216
Toward Professionalismp. 223
Kurd 'Ali, Yusuf, Musa, Istanbulip. 230
Conclusionp. 243
Notesp. 247
Referencesp. 275
Indexp. 289