Several local media outlets in Egypt have echoed their outrage over the decision to raise newspaper printing prices by 80% due to the recent devaluation of the Egyptian pound, issued last week by the state-run Al-Ahram printing service.
A number of editors-in-chief of private and state-run newspapers said the decision is catastrophic and will lead to a full collapse of several newspapers by the beginning of 2017, rendering electronic press as the dominant media format.
“The decision will lead to a further collapse of the print journalism industry in Egypt, which is already suffering from massive losses due to the deteriorating economic conditions,” Essam Kamel, editor-in-chief of the privately-run weekly printed newspaper Veto told Daily News Egypt on Tuesday. “Egyptians are not ready to bear even more burdens,” he added.
Kamel noted that following the issuance of the decision, the editorial board of the publication held a meeting to determine the upcoming policy, adding that the publication’s entire editorial board agreed to decrease the number of copies published in order to adapt to the new price hikes.
Kamel added that the board was not willing to increase the cost of the newspaper, saying they did not wish to further burden the average citizen who is already struggling to feed himself. He stressed that the government should intervene by removing customs imposed on printing materials used by Al-Ahram printing services.
The editor-in-chief of the privately-run newspaper El Mesryoon, Gamal Sultan, said on Tuesday: “The harsh current economic circumstances forced Al-Ahram printing services to raise their costs. It has been forced to take such measures as most of the materials used in the printing operation are imported and must be paid for in dollars. They also have high customs imposed on them.”
“The price increases will have a negative effect on the journalism industry,” Sultan explained. “It will lead numerous print media outlets to declare bankruptcy as the average Egyptian citizen will not be able to afford all these price hikes.”
Similarly, Sultan asked the government for rapid interference through removing customs imposed on materials related to the print industry and to contribute effectively to journalism and the press.
The editor–in-chief of state-run newspaper Al-Ahram, Mohamed Abdel Al-Hadi, said in a statement to privately-run news channel MBC Masr that the main reason behind the price hikes in the printing process is the Egyptian pound devaluation.
He believes, however, that the future is still in favour of print journalism despite the rapid and unprecedented development in the online press.