Al-Arab newspaper celebrates 10,000th issue
London - Al-Arab newspaper, sister publication of The Arab Weekly, celebrated its 10,000th issue on August 7th, more than 38 years after its initial publication on June 1st, 1977.
Al-Arab, the first pan-Arab daily newspaper published from London, was launched by former Libyan Information Minister Ahmad Al Salhin al-Houni. The newspaper was followed in the British capital by other Arabic-language media, such as Asharq Al-Awsat, Al-Hayat and Al-Quds Al-Arabi, but Al-Arab was the first.
“The Al-Arab newspaper project did not emerge by chance, nor was it ever a project that rushed after profit from its first issue until its 10,000th issue today,” the founder’s son and current Editor-in-Chief Mohamed al-Houni said. “It was the dream of my father, may he rest in peace, to launch a media project that would be different from the rest… Al-Arab is the manifestation of that dream.”
Al-Arab’s first issue carried news of clashes between Morocco and Algeria over the Western Sahara among the articles in the eight-page newspaper. The 10,000th front page featured a picture of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the New Suez Canal celebration in a 24-page publication of news, op-eds, features and current affairs.
Also writing in the newspaper’s 10,000th issue, Al-Arab Group Chairman and Executive Editor Dr Haitham el-Zobaidi highlighted the role that technology has played in the media and the rise of the newspaper. “The desire to cross borders and go beyond local coverage was the basis,” he said. “From here came the idea of liberation from the monopoly imposed on the media by its geographic isolation. And so the idea of the immigrant media was born, giving rise to Al-Arab.”
A feature in the newspaper sought to explain the Al-Arab ethos. “What has exemplified Al-Arab is its position on taking positions. The newspaper resolves to take early positions and to provide news and views from the framework of its editorial outlook. It has aligned with Arab causes and issued early warnings against the threat of fragmentation, sedition and exclusion, and the ambitions of neighbouring states,” said el-Zobaidi.
Al-Arab has expanded since its establishment in 1977, not just in terms of its editorial policy and content, but also Arabic and English-language websites, and sister publications such as Al-Jadid magazine and most recently The Arab Weekly.
“Al-Arab [publishing house] today is witnessing a qualitative leap in its operations and it has a variety of publications in Arabic and English but we still believe that we have a lot to do to ensure that we remain at the top of a media sphere that never stands still,” al-Houni said.
El-Zobaidi concurred, saying: “Al- Arab is a continuous and evolving project. It was the first newspaper to be edited, produced and distributed away from the regional institutions that stifle the press. It was the first to enter the world of the internet and digital publishing.”
Since its establishment, Al-Arab has witnessed the Camp David Accords, the birth of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Lebanon civil war, the fall of the Berlin Wall and collapse of the Soviet Union, the first Gulf War, the 9/11 attacks, the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, most recently, the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa.