Egyptian journalist and columnist Mona Eltahawy, who’s writing was banned from the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat publication, has written an op-ed for the International Herald Tribune explaining her experience with the Arab daily. You can read the whole article here. It’s worth your time. Here is an excerpt:
Writing for an Arab newspaper is like playing hopscotch in a minefield. From January 2004 until early this year I played my game of hopscotch in a weekly column on the opinion pages of Asharq al-Awsat, the London-based, Saudi-owned newspaper that is read across the Arab world. And then I stepped on a mine. Without warning or notice, fewer and fewer of my columns made it into print. Then my articles stopped appearing altogether. I had been banned.
Nobody tells you that you’re banned from an Arab paper — especially a paper that is supposedly the liberal home of writers banned from other papers, which is how Asharq al-Awsat portrays itself. Sadly, my experience is not unique. When I told a veteran Egyptian journalist that I had not been officially notified of my ban, he reminded me that he found out about his removal as editor of a newspaper in Egypt when he read about it in another newspaper.