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This article is about the newspaper, for other uses see Al-Ahram (disambiguation).
Al-Ahram logo
Type Daily
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s) Egyptian government
Publisher Al-Ahram Publishing House
Editor Abdel Nasser Salama
Founded 5 August 1875; 139 years ago (1875-08-05)
Political alignment Uncertain (2011-present)
National Democratic Party (1978–2011)
Headquarters Boulaq, Cairo, Egypt
Circulation 1,000,000 daily
1,200,000 Fridays[1]
Official website Arabic:

Al-Ahram (Arabic: الأهرام‎; The Pyramids), founded on 5 August 1875, is the most widely circulating Egyptian daily newspaper, and the second oldest after al-Waqa'i`al-Masriya (The Egyptian Events, founded 1828).[2] It is majority owned by the Egyptian government.

Given the large dialectal variety of the Arabic language, Al-Ahram is widely considered an influential source of writing style in Arabic. In 1950, the Middle East Institute described Al-Ahram as being to the Arabic-reading public within its area of distribution, "What The Times is to Englishmen and the New York Times to Americans",[3] however it has often been accused of heavy influence and censorship by the Egyptian government.

In addition to the main edition published in Egypt, the paper publishes two other Arabic-language editions, one geared to the Arab World and the other aimed at an international audience, as well as editions in English and French.


Al-Ahram was founded in Alexandria on 5 August 1875[4] by two Lebanese brothers, Beshara Takla and Saleem Takla.[5][6] It began as a weekly newspaper published every Saturday. Its first issue appeared on 5 August 1886 as a daily newspaper.[7] Later, its headquarters were moved to Cairo.[5] The newspaper was distributed in Egypt and the Levant. The religious innovators Muhammad Abduh and Jamal al-Din al-Afghani were early writers of the newspaper. Upon the death of Beshara Takla, Daud Barakat, a Lebanese journalist, was named editor of the daily in 1901.[8]

On 24 May 1960, the paper was nationalized when President Gamal Abdel Nasser passed a law eliminating the ownership of private newspapers.[7][9]

Profile and editions[edit]

Al-Ahram daily is the flagship of what is now the Al-Ahram publishing house, the largest in Egypt.[10] Al-Ahram's headquarters is in Boulaq, Cairo. Its content was controlled by the now defunct Egyptian Ministry of Information.The pan-Arab Arabic-language edition of the paper, called Al Ahram Al Arabiya, is destined for readers in the Arab World and the Egyptian expatriates in Arab countries. It is published daily in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and distributed in Egypt and the Gulf Region. Arabic weekly, Al Ahram Al Arabi, which was launched in 1997 is another publication of the publishing house.[11]

An international Arabic-language edition called Al Ahram al Duwali has been published daily in London since 1984. It is printed in both London and Paris and is distributed throughout Europe, USA, Canada and Egypt.

Al-Ahram produces a continually updated news website in the English language at, called Ahram Online. It also has an Arabic news website which was named as the most popular news portal in the Arab world in the period from 31 August 2011 to 31 August 2012 by Forbes Middle East.[12] Two foreign-language weekly versions are also produced: the English Al-Ahram Weekly (founded in 1991) and the French Al-Ahram Hebdo.

Ownership and government influence[edit]

Al-Ahram is owned by the Al-Ahram Foundation and is one of the largest circulating newspapers in the world.[13] Long-term editor of the daily Mohammad Hassanein Haykal was the confidant of Nasser and also, the semi-official voice of the Egyptian government when he was in office.[5][14] Haykal was appointed to the post in August 1957.[14]

The Egyptian government owns a controlling share of the stocks of the paper and appoints the editors. As appointees of the state, little censorship is exercised over them; it is understood that they are loyal to the state.[15] Under President Hosni Mubarak, Al-Ahram largely ignored, and trivialised the opposition parties to Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party, and did not publish much direct criticism of the government.[16]

The Anti-Defamation League, in a review of Arab newspapers in 2005, stated that Al-Ahram "is given substantial leeway" by the government so long as they avoid "certain 'taboos'."[17] Reporters Without Borders, in their 2005 report on press freedom in Egypt, reported that editorials in many newspapers, including Al-Ahram, had become increasingly critical of the National Democratic Party's control of the government, and the corruption of the Mubarak regime.[18] In an interview with Reporters Without Borders, Abdel Halim Qandil, editor of the weekly magazine Al-Arabi, said that the government interfered with independent operation of Al-Ahram by controlling the printing presses and appointing the editors.[18]

Photo controversy[edit]

Al-Ahram generated controversy in September 2010 when an Egyptian blogger, Wael Khalil, revealed that the newspaper had altered a photo of Middle East leaders walking with United States President Barack Obama so that instead of Obama leading the group, Egyptian President Mubarak was placed in the front when he was actually walking in the rearmost position.[19] Osama Saraya, Al-Ahram's editor-in-chief, defended the altered photo, stating that it was meant to underscore Egypt's leading role in the peace process: "The expressionist photo is... a brief, live and true expression of the prominent stance of President Mubarak in the Palestinian issue, his unique role in leading it before Washington or any other."[20]

Notable writers and editors[edit]

From 1978 to July 2006 Ibrahim Nafie was the editor-in-chief of Al Ahram.[21] In August 2012, Abdel Nasser Salama was appointed editor-in-chief of the paper by the Egyptian Shura Council.[22]


  1. ^ Drost, 1991: 139–140.
  2. ^ "Publication overview". Ipsos. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Middle East Institute, 1950, p. 155.
  4. ^ Murphy, Caryle (18 December 2012). "The Future of Print". The Majalla. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Turck, Nancy B. (September–October 1972). "The Authoritative Al-Ahram". Saudi Aramco. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  6. ^ Talaat I. Farag. "Satirical Papyrus and Modern Cartoonists (Part II)". The Ambassadors (15). Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Hend Selim. "The Coverage of Egypt’s Revolution in the Egyptian, American and Israeli Newspapers". Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  8. ^ Arthur Goldschmidt Jr. (1999). Biographical Dictionary of Modern Egypt. Boulder, CO: L. Reinner. p. 35. Retrieved 4 September 2013.   – via Questia (subscription required)
  9. ^ Lindsey, Ursula (21 March 2011). "First Draft of History". Newsweek 157 (12). Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  10. ^ Islam, 2002, p. 277.
  11. ^ "Al Ahram Al Arabi". OCLC Worldcat. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  12. ^ "Al Ahram tops online newspapers in Arab world: Forbes". Ahram Online. 27 December 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  13. ^ "Al-Ahram-daily newspaper in Cairo, Egypt with local news and events". Mondo Times. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Shimon Shamir (1995). Egypt from Monarchy to Republic: A Reassessment of Revolution and Change. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Retrieved 9 December 2013.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  15. ^ "Egypt Press, Media". Pressreference. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "The media in Egypt". BBC News. 2 September 2005. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  17. ^ Arab Media Review: Index of Arab Newspapers Anti-Defamation League, 14 February 2005
  18. ^ a b Egypt – 2005 annual report, Reporters Without Borders, January 2005
  19. ^ Robert Mackey (16 September 2010). "Doctored Photo Flatters Egyptian President". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  20. ^ "Al-Ahram newspaper defends doctored photo of Hosni Mubarak". The Guardian. Associated Press. 17 September 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  21. ^ Zvi Barel (5 April 2006). "In Nafie's pocket: $600 million". Haaretz. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  22. ^ "New editors appointed by Shura". Daily News Egypt. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 


  • Islam, Roumeen (2002). The right to tell: the role of mass media in economic development (Illustrated ed.). World Bank Publications. ISBN 978-0-8213-5203-8. 
  • The Middle East journal, Volume 4. Washington, D.C.: Middle East Institute. 1950. 
  • Drost, Harry (1991). The World's news media: a comprehensive reference guide. Longman. 

External links[edit]