Lina Atallah, editor-in-chief of the Egyptian news website Mada Masr, topped the Time list of 100 most influential people in the world for the year 2020.
Time chose “Lina”, the only Arab woman on the list, 4 months after she was arrested for several hours and then released on bail.
Last May, the editor-in-chief of Mada website was arrested while performing her work, as she was conducting an interview outside the walls of the Tora prison complex with Dr. Laila Suef, mother of the detained activist Alaa Abdel Fattah.
The prosecutor charged her with “filming a military facility,” according to Mada Masr website.
After being detained for several hours and interrogated in Case No. 8009 of 2020, the prosecution released her on bail of two thousand Egyptian pounds.
Lina has worked in journalism for more than 15 years, during which she won a number of press awards and international accolades, and moved to work in more than one country and more than one news organization.
Lina has written for Reuters, the Cairo Times, the Daily Star and the Christian Science Monitor, and has also worked as a radio producer and campaign coordinator with the BBC for Global Services in Darfur, Sudan.
She won the “Knight Award” for International Journalism for the year 2020 presented by the International Center for Journalists to honor distinguished and influential journalism.
The idea of establishing “Mada” as an independent press site came in 2013, after the management of Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper closed its English edition, “Egypt Independent”, in which Lina Atallah was working as managing editor.
Immediately after the closure, Lina decided with a group of journalists to create an English-language news website, under the name “Mada Masr,” the site’s administrators defined as “an Egyptian site that seeks to produce creative, courageous and attractive journalistic content.” After a while, the site became in both Arabic and English.
Posted by Muhammad Yusri on Monday, 18 May 2020
Highlight and its cost
Lina performs her journalistic work with the “Mada Masr” team, in an atmosphere of hostility to journalistic work. Observers of the state of the press in Egypt finds that since 2015, Egypt has repeatedly appeared in the lists of countries most imprisoned for journalists, along with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and China, according to the Cpj report. .
Defiance and persistence
Over the course of 7 years, Mada Masr faced many challenges. In 2017, the Egyptian authorities blocked it among 500 other websites that were inaccessible from within the country, but the press team chose to continue publishing despite that.
Lina and her team were subjected to intimidation more than once. Last year, one of the website editors was arrested from his home, and the security forces raided “Mada” and detained the office workers for several hours, before the arrest of 3 of Mada’s editors and journalists, including Lina, on Background A press story about the son of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and they were released after several hours.
A thousand congratulations to Mada Masr and to our dear friend Lina Atallah for winning one of the most important journalism awards in the world: “The courage of Lina Atallah …
Posted by Ahdaf Soueif on Tuesday, 30 June 2020
Lina was introduced by Maria Risa, a Filipino investigative journalist and founder of Rappler, who appeared on the Time list last year.
She wrote about Lina, “You will not know that you crossed the line until after you do, as happened to Lina and her colleagues, after they found themselves under arrest, with handcuffs in their hands, in a police car. Here is our choice. “