Amending judicial regulations    Pre-emptive strikes    Newsreel    Breaking the record    Mubarak speaks    Ahly held by Ismaily to lose two precious points in title race    Connected for exams    Hope for negotiations in the Gulf    Lebanese gov't to hold final budget session on Friday    Stalemate in Sudan    Ghana's all-time leading scorer Gyan reverses decision to quit international football    Tahya Masr Bridge: Breaking the record    After Casillas heart-attack, wife says she has had cancer op    Netanyahu's July hearing on possible indictment delayed to October    EGP 300 million allocated for poor households, education: Ministry of Religious Endowments    Vaccine doubts spread like disease, must be taken offline: vaccine chief    Fund to upgrade banking system to be established under new bill: CBE official    25 percent increase in journalist allowance as of May: Journalists Syndicate head    Omani Writer Jokha Alharthi wins the 2019 Man Booker International Prize    Egypt's domestic debt exceeds EGP 4tn in December 2018: CBE    Egypt name national team's initial squad for AFCON 2019    SODIC's advance cheques for real estate projects reach EGP 4bn    Shoukry, Furey discuss Egypt's foreign policy, reforms    New Zealand Christchurch mosque attacker charged with ‘terrorism'    General Prosecutor orders release of five prominent detainees    Households electricity prices hike by EGP 4-93.5 per month    Fashionably featuring beguiling beauty of Maasai people    Messages to Tehran    Mascot revealed, tickets on sale    Only one path to glory    Don't miss Al-Leila Al-Kebira puppet theatre operetta at Al-Hanager Arts Centre    In search of historical women    Drugs, terrorism, judicial authorities' bills top Parliament's agenda in June    Why Egypt dominates squash: juniors' training plans, says Khalifa    "Kushaf": most famous Ramadan drinks    Trump threatens Iran of total destruction    Twelve alleged militants killed in shootout with police    Apple provides 20,000 educational applications for special needs children    "Cover Up Your Daughter, So Men Can Fast Appropriately," campaign evokes anger    Women's participation in Ramadan series    Forgotten sites in El Gamaleya District    Malawians vote in tough presidential election    Angry at being dubbed a hustler, Maradona dismisses new film    At Cannes, Arab Cinema Centre announces winners of its 3rd Critics Awards    Zamalek faces RS Berkane for first CAF Confederation Cup title    President Sisi receives citizens for Iftar at his private residence    Argentine great Maradona to miss Cannes film premiere after shoulder injury    The alternative economy in Ramadan    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





Saving print journalism
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 03 - 01 - 2019

The invention of the printing press by German inventor Johannes Gutenberg in 1440 marked the end of a dark historical period and paved the way for the European Renaissance in which books became a commodity that could be acquired by the masses.
There is no doubt that the printed word is the foundation of modern civilisation. Just 60 years after Gutenberg's invention, the massive spread of the printing press had meant that some 20 million books had been printed in Europe by 1500. That number had multiplied tenfold to nearly 200 million by 1600, by which time the written word had become the symbol of civilisation. This fact had already been realised by the ancient Egyptians over 5,000 years ago when they invented writing to document their daily lives on papyrus and the walls of ancient temples and monuments.
Without these writings no one could have discovered the true greatness of ancient Egyptian civilisation even if they stood in awe of their colossal monuments such as the Pyramids and beautifully proportioned temples.
Over recent years, the international media has been ceasing to print newspapers, books and periodicals while shifting towards e-books and online news instead, often to save costs. While seemingly sound from different perspectives, especially with the spread of computers, mobile phones and other Internet-connected devices, this could nevertheless prove to be a historical mistake of gigantic proportions.
Internet access requires the availability of a source of power, a connected device, and an Internet service subscription to read the news, while a printed newspaper requires only a pair of eyes. Aside from its material value, a printed newspaper remains a permanent source of information, with readers able to keep it weeks after purchase and enabling them to revisit it and read more articles they may have missed. The same thing cannot be said of Internet-based media, from which most readers select a few headlines to read and ignore the rest, even if this is made up of useful articles, stories and reports that took weeks if not months of preparation to write.
In the case of a war or cataclysmic disaster, Internet access may be gone, meaning that people will lose all sources of information in a matter of seconds. Regardless of how secure Internet servers across the world may be, there is no 100 per cent guarantee that they will remain intact during a war of some sort or an international crisis.
People often save their favourite films, songs, games, photographs and e-books on their hard drives, which are also vulnerable to damage, theft or loss. Should this happen, a person could lose years of material in a matter of seconds with a very small chance of retrieving any of it. However, that same person will never lose his physical books, DVDs, and magazines collected over the years, and they will likely remain intact throughout his lifetime if kept in proper conditions. That same person could easily give away these belongings to his or her children, so they could be passed from one generation to another.
Preserving printed newspapers is also a matter of national security. The spread of Internet outlets and satellite TV cannot warrant the closure of printed newspapers now or in the future. A significant segment of the population remains without access to Internet services and relies on regular news outlets delivered through printed materials or TV.
There is always a security risk when totally relying on online or satellite networks for news. The Internet networks in Egypt, like all such networks worldwide, are prone to denial of service cyber-attacks that can disrupt them through the agency of hostile forces or even skilled hackers who may perform such activities to brag about them. In recent years, the country's Internet services have been disrupted as a result of cut underwater cables because of sabotage or through the actions of marine vessels.
Natural disasters such as earthquakes and storms can mean electricity outages and phone and Internet disconnections that can occur for days if not weeks. During such periods the government must possess traditional methods of delivering news to citizens in order to communicate with them and keep them abreast of developing situations. The most reliable and secure method remains traditional printed newspapers.
Saving costs by switching to online journalism may initially sound like a good idea, but it will cause problems. Instead, financial and marketing departments should think about finding more creative ideas to bring readers back to their old habits while attracting newer generations to them. These ideas could include weekly or monthly competitions sponsored by advertisers for prizes by collecting coupons over a period, for example.
Free gifts are not uncommon in the West among newspaper outlets sponsored by advertisers. Other ideas include savings coupons that can be cut out and used to purchase goods from local stores at a discount, a method widely and successfully used in the United States. Several publications can be bound together as one magazine or weekly paper, which can save a lot of money while keeping them operational.
In February 2018, British Prime Minister Theresa May described the closure of hundreds of newspaper and magazines titles in the UK as a “danger to our democracy”. A warning such as that from the prime minister of a country with long-standing democratic traditions should not be ignored but must be taken seriously in a developing democracy such as Egypt. The importance of Egyptian citizens receiving news from proper outlets is huge for the stability of society. They can't be left the victims of misleading news networks, bloggers, or social-media outlets that can be easily manipulated or hacked at any time to deliver false news about the state of the country.
This is of paramount importance during the current period when the state is at war with multiple terrorist organisations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots such as the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda. The mistake of international news outlets moving to online-only publishing should not be allowed to lure Egyptian decision-makers into making the same mistake for the sake of eliminating costs. The printed newspaper has been part of the lifestyle of modern nations for centuries, and it should be preserved as its presence far outweighs its costs.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The writer is a political analyst and author of Egypt's Arab Spring and the Winding Road to Democracy.


Clic here to read the story from its source.