Elaph
Elaph logo
TypeDaily
FormatOnline newspaper
Founder(s)Othman Al Omeir
PublisherElaph Publishing
Managing editorSamar Malak
Founded21 May 2001; 20 years ago (2001-05-21)
Political alignmentLiberal
LanguageArabic
HeadquartersLondon
WebsiteElaph

Elaph (Arabic: إيلاف, meaning "Solidarity" in Arabic)[1] is the first daily Arabic independent online newspaper and is not associated with any established print or broadcast medium.[2]

History and profile

Elaph was launched by Elaph Publishing in London in 2001.[3] The reason for choosing London as the center of the website was to be free from the censorship rules of Saudi Arabia and also, offer liberal viewpoints, particularly in opposition to religious radicalism.[4] The goal of Elaph is stated as to offer a mix of print, audio and visual material to its readers.[5]

The owner of the news portal is Saudi businessman, journalist and author Othman Al Omeir who is the former editor of the London-based weekly The Majalla and Arabic language daily Al Sharq Al Awsat.[6][7][8] After the ban of Elaph in Saudi Arabia in May 2006, it was registered in the United Kingdom.[9]

Staff and management

The founder and editor-in-chief of Elaph is Othman Al Omeir.[10] Emile Isaac is the managing director and Samar Abdul Malak is the deputy editor-in-chief of Elaph. The news portal has journalists in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.[1] As of 2007, the portal employed 90 journalists worldwide.[9]

Elaph is managed by Integrated Intelligent Solutions (IN2SOL), a Middle East provider of IT services.[3][11] In June 2014 Elaph reported that it would use unmanned aerial drones to cover and delivers news.[12]

Content

The Elaph news portal offers the readers instant news from all around the world, making it a strong competitor to Arab and international news agencies.[3] Additionally, it involves pages on politics, business, culture, health, sports, music, cinema, fashion, features, reports, newspapers, technology, writers, opinions, and special news.[6] Elaph.com also provides video news and tries to provide an interactive platform for its readers.[13] For instance, in January 2009, its readers were asked to send farewell letters to then US President George W. Bush.[14]

In September 2011, Elaph reported that the Saudi Ambassador to Cairo, Ahmad Abdelaziz Kattan, survived an attempted assassination by poison, allegedly organized by Iran. The e-newspaper further claimed that since the Saudi diplomats, including Adel Al Jubair are all close to Prince Bandar who is known to be a strong opponent of Iranian influence in the Middle East, they are likely to experience such events. The e-newspaper also reported a comment of a Salafist Sheikh in Egypt, Sheik Abu Ishaq al Heweny in December 2011 who said that "a woman’s face is like a vagina so that it should be covered with a veil".[15]

Traffic and influence

In 2003, it was reported that Elaph gained a wide audience among liberal and democratic writers.[16] Elaph was much more popular than on-line versions of the leading printed newspapers such as Al Hayat in 2004.[17] The newsportal became the most popular internet site, ahead even the website of Al Jazeera, in Saudi Arabia in 2005.[17] Then, it began to be a popular site in other countries as seen in the following figures of 2009: Egypt (11.4%), Saudi Arabia (8.3%), the United States (8.0%), Iraq (6.8%), the United Arab Emirates (6.4%), Libya (5.0%), Kuwait (4.9%), Algeria (4.8%), Lebanon (4.6%) and Qatar (4.0%). The other countries where Elaph is read are Germany, Sweden, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, France, Finland and Switzerland.[2] On 5 November 2008, the day following the US Presidential elections, Elaph reached an all-time record high of 18 million hits.[2] As a result of its popularity and international readership, Elaph.com became one of the leading news portals in the Arab world.[18]

The website was officially audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).[13] Its traffic was certified in May 2010 which produced ABC's certificate of 1,179,801 users[13] and 8,565,601 page impressions. Furthermore, based on August 2010 data, the website had 1.3 million global users per month.[6] Elaph was the tenth most visited website in the Arab world in 2012.[19]

Bans

Elaph was blocked in Saudi Arabia in May 2006.[9] The block for which no official reason had been stated was lifted in 2009.[20] However, after publishing the cables released by WikiLeaks in an article with the title of "Gulf after WikiLeaks storm, Riyadh Speaks while all are silent", the site was again blocked in Saudi Arabia on 6 December 2010.[21][22] It is clear that the site, along with the other news portal Al Quds Al Arabi, has been continuously blocked and unblocked in Saudi Arabia.[23]

It was also blocked in Yemen in 2004 for a period of time based on the claim that it posted "sexual material". However, it was argued by Yemen Observer that the real reason for the block was reports of Elaph containing personal criticism of then Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh and his elder son Ahmed.[24] Libya and Syria also blocked Elaph before 2006.[9]

Expansion

It was announced in May 2011 that the website would be expanded by launching more comprehensive multi-media services, called Elaph Multi-Media [EMM], in 2012. The CEO of EMM is reported to be current managing director of Elaph, Nicholas Claxton. Elaph also partnered with Ultra Knowledge as its technology partner and innovator of the Newswall in May 2012.[10]

Awards

Elaph was awarded the Artistic Creativity Award in 2007, a prize offered by Arab Thought Foundation.[25]

References

  1. ^ a b "Elaph. Media Pack 2010/11" (PDF). Elaph. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 November 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Patrica Khoder (30 January 2009). "Elaph: The Number Online Newspaper in the Arab World". The Arab Press Network. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "Google Search Appliance Helps Elaph Deliver Accurate Search Results to Visitors" (PDF). FVC. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 November 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  4. ^ Zvi Barel (12 December 2010). "Talking peace in cyberspace". Haaretz. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  5. ^ Noha Mellor; Khalil Rinnawi; Nabil Dajani; Muhammad I. Ayish (20 May 2013). Arab Media: Globalization and Emerging Media Industries. John Wiley & Sons. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-7456-3736-5.
  6. ^ a b c "Elaph Publishing". Media Me. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Online News". My News Way. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  8. ^ "The Murdoch of the Middle East". The Majalla. 21 May 2010. Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d "Elaph Editor: Saudi Conservatives Block Critical Online News". Marketing Vox. 11 July 2007. Archived from the original on 25 September 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Elaph launches new website". Trade Arabia. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Elaph Portal". IN2SOL. Archived from the original on 18 June 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  12. ^ Dina Al Shibeeb (13 June 2014). "Future of reporting? Arab news outlet sends drone to get the scoop". Al Arabiya. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  13. ^ a b c "Elaph". Folded Up. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  14. ^ "Out the Door". The Daily Beast. 27 January 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  15. ^ Angie Nassar (16 December 2011). "Egyptian Sheikh: A woman's face is like a vagina". Now Lebanon. Archived from the original on 26 June 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  16. ^ Darwish, Adel (October 2003). "Anti-Americanism in Arabic language media". Middle East News. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  17. ^ a b Albrecht Hofheinz (2005). "The Internet in the Arab World: Playground for Political Liberalization" (PDF). IPG. 3: 78–96.
  18. ^ "Elaph". Open Arab. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  19. ^ "Top websites in the Arab world 2012". Forbes Middle East. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  20. ^ "Kingdom lifts block on controversial online newspaper". Arab News. 23 February 2009. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  21. ^ Ahmed Zaki Osman (10 December 2010). "Rights group condemns Saudi Arabia for blocking website over WikiLeaks cables". Egypt Independent. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  22. ^ "After Saudi has Blocked Elaph for Posting A Piece over WikiLeaks Fears of Tighter Control on The Right to Internet Access in The Arab Region". The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  23. ^ Taghreed M. Alqudsi-Ghabra; Talal Al Bannai; Mohammad Al Bahrani (2011). "The Internet in the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (AGCC): Vehicle of Change" (PDF). International Journal of Internet Science. 6 (1): 44–67.
  24. ^ "Yemen All Roads Lead Backwards". The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. 2004. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  25. ^ "Elaph – Electronic newspaper represented by Mr. Othman Al Amir (London)". Arab Thought Foundation. Archived from the original on 7 July 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2012.