Al-Dostor (also Al-Dostour and Al-Dustour) (Arabic: الدستور, meaning "The Constitution", Egyptian Arabic: [eldosˈtuːr, edːosˈtuːr]), is an independent Egyptian opposition newspaper founded in December 1995 and published in Arabic. Its original editor in chief was Ibrahim Eissa, currently Esam Nabawy. The head of the newspaper's board is Reda Edouard. Started as a weekly newspaper published every Wednesday, it later came to be issued both daily and weekly. Its electronic version may be found at http://dostor.org
Al-Dostor and the Egyptian government
After Al-Dostor published a statement attributed to Islamic groups in 1998, the Egyptian Ministry of Information closed down the paper. The published statement was considered unacceptable and a potential cause of sectarian strife by the Egyptian Ministry of Information. Seven years later, on March 23, 2005, the paper was revived, initially being published every Wednesday, and since 31 March 2007 it has been issued both daily and weekly.
Since the day of its first issue, Al-Dostor has been harshly critical of the government, formerly that of the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, his family, and the former ruling party, The National Democratic Party (NDP). It was one of Egypt’s top critics of Mubarak’s 30-year rule (1981-2011) and showed sharp opposition to his son Gamal Mubarak's likely succession to power.
In 2007, Al-Dostor's former editor-in-chief, Ibrahim Eissa, was arrested, then freed on bail on 13 September 2007 pending an appellate court decision in a sentence of a year-long prison term and a fine of 20,000 Egyptian Pound (≈ US$ 3,800 at the time). He and three other independent Egyptian newspaper editors, Wael El Abrashy of Sawt Al-Umma, Adel Hammouda of Al-Fajr, and Al-Karama's former editor Abdel Halim Kandil, were charged with " 'insulting' the Egyptian president and publishing 'false' information likely to 'disturb' public order."
In 2008, in a separate case, Eissa was again arrested and sentenced to six months, later reduced to two months in prison, on 26 March 2008, by the Boulak Abo El Ela Court of Misdemeanor for publishing "false information concerning Mubarak's health harming public security and the country's economy" due to articles and headlines in Al-Dostor speculating on the health of the 80 year-old president. Governmental authorities alleged that Eissa's articles caused a withdrawal of foreign investment in the Egyptian economy equivalent to US$ 350 million. Eissa was freed, a second time, on bail of 200 EP (≈ US$ 37 at the time) to hold off on implementation of the verdict until another appeal.
On October 6, 2008, Mubarak announced that he would pardon Eissa, the first time that such a pardon had been issued in the history of the modern Egyptian press. Al-Dustor praised the pardon in its pages and asked the president to honor his promise to cancel custodial sentences in cases of publication.
The paper has continued its opposition role under new President Mohamed Morsy. In September 2012, its former editor-in-chief, Islam Afify, was charged by a Cairo court with "defaming the president" and "harming the public interest with 'inflammatory' articles'"  and his travel privileges were revoked. Al-Dostor frequently criticized the Muslim Brotherhood, accusing it of intentions to make Egypt an Islamic state. Afify was jailed temporarily but later released due to the new president's decision to end pretrial detention for journalists.
However, Afify ultimately resigned as editor-in-chief, claiming "continued editorial interference from the owners." The paper was purchased by Wafd Party president and businessman, Al-Sayed al-Badawy, after which Chief Editor Ibrahim Eissa was fired. He has since been replaced by Esam Nabawy.
At the time of Mubarak's departure (February 2011), Al-Dostor was the fifth largest daily newspaper in Egypt, with a daily edition selling 45,0000 and weekly edition selling 85,000 copies.
- "Egypt: Four editors sentenced to jail". CPJ. 13 September 2007. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
- "Editor previously sentenced to prison granted presidential pardon". International Freedom of Expression eXchange. 9 October 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
- "Egypt: Leading independent editor sentenced to six months in jail". CPJ. 26 June 2008. Retrieved 18 August 2008.
- Rizk, M. (22 October 2012). Al-Dostour Editor-in-Chief Islam Afify resigns after 'editorial pressure Egypt Independent
- Official Al Dostor Web Page (in Arabic)
- Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemning Eissa's jail sentence
- Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemning the four editors jail sentence
- Amnesty International calling the Egyptian authorities to drop the charges against Eissa
- International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) Forty members and partners of IFEX urge authorities to overturn four editors' jail sentences during appeal hearing on World Press Freedom Day