Ah Ahram chairman fired

This just in: Al Ahram chairman and editor-in-chief Ibrahim Nafie has been replaced today by Osama Saraya, formerly editor of Al Ahram Al Arabi. Saraya will only take up the editor-in-chief title, while the chairmanship of the Al Ahram press group will be going to Salah Al Ghamri. This is the first of presumably several major press reshuffles to come, as we discussed earlier. Nafie is reportedly in Tunisia at the moment, and there is some speculation on whether he will return at all, considering long-standing rumors of staggering corruption at Al Ahram.

The more unusual news that came along with this is that Hani Shukrallah, the executive editor of Al Ahram Weekly, has also been replaced. The odd thing is that Shukrallah, a former leftist activist, was nothing like Nafie--in fact, reading his latest editorials, he was rather critical of the regime. He will be replaced by Assem Al Qirsh, a former London bureau chief. (Update: This is most probably a false rumor--see comments below. Update II: Unfortunately, it was true.)

Update: There could be changes in the other press groups tomorrow, according to today's Nahdet Misr. It wouldn't be surprising at all: recent declarations by the Higher Press Council had made clear that the jobs of editor-in-chief and chairman of the board would be separated, the surprise comes in that Nafie did not stay as chairman. For the other groups, there have been some rumors about Adel Hammouda taking over Al Gomhouriya. I'm not sure what this really means for the future of the main three newspapers--my guess is that there will not be an immediate qualitative change, except perhaps that some top journos and commentators will be demoted or fired. I'll try to post more tomorrow after talking to some insiders.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.