The Inside Story from DNE Staff

The original editorial staff of Daily News Egypt (which you can now follow on @OriginalDNE) would like to inform our loyal readers of the latest developments since the paper stopped printing. We had chosen to not go public with the story and our ordeal out of decency but were today pushed to speak out because we have been denied our most basic right, the salaries for the month of April.

Since we were informed of the owning company’s termination (Egyptian Media Services, which published Daily News Egypt), we were told that we have no financial rights pending, even though this is in violation of the Labor Law. We were informed, however, that we will be paid our full salaries for the month of April. This was noted in the termination letter we were handed on April 22, 2012, in which we were also informed that it would be our last working day. On that day we took our belongings from the office and handed in anything we had,such as a video camera, etc. The next day the locks on the office door were changed.

We left the office and decided to pursue legal action since the company’s liquidator told us we had no rights to severance packages for years of service ranging from two to seven, and this can only be resolved with a court order, thus encouraging us to file a complaint at the labor office for our financial rights. We did so, preceded by a complaint at the Dokki police station on April 24 and have been talking to a lawyer to pursue next steps.

We waited till the beginning of May to obtain our salaries. When we found out that the salaries were ready at the office, we went there to pick them up only to be informed that the editorial staff will not be paid. Other departments in the company got paid.

The owners allege that we have passwords that we have not handed in. This is untrue as everything we had access to was left at the office when we were told it was our last day, including passwords to the wire services which are even written on a whiteboard in the news room. They have full access to all usernames and passwords from our work PCs.

We are not holding any passwords hostage. We want to take this chance to inform our readers and followers that the original DNE staff is no longer affiliated with this brand. We are however, sticking together and forming a new venture.

Please follow us on @OriginalDNE and stay tuned. Your support is highly appreciated.

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The Daily News Egypt website is back up with a new message from the shareholders of the owning company, Egyptian Media Services. The company also prints and distributes the International Herald Tribune. For years, DNE has been distributed with the IHT.

The IHT is looking for a local partner to resume printing in Egypt soon.

Farewell Note from the Shareholders of EMS

It is with great sadness that we were forced to close the doors of The Daily News Egypt, Cairo’s preeminent and only independent English language newspaper.

The DNE was conceived seven years ago when a group of Egypt loving business people, got together to achieve a single objective – raise the standard of English language journalismin Egypt and make it relevant to the times.  We did this with considerable anxiety. It was clear back then that media was a high-risk business, and the newspaper industry worldwide seemed to be struggling.  Moreover, wewere launching an English paper in a country where so few spoke the language; there was no doubt that we would struggle with low readership figures. However, we were committed from an intellectual, cultural and emotional point of view. An English daily would be so important for Egypt, especially when the only available alternative was a state-owned newspaper.  The DNE would take its place in a country where tourism was a key sector, and cater to its young population, expats, visitors and bilingual speakers in a way like never before.  Indeed, we had romantic notions for what this newspaper could be and proceeded despite the business hurdles and risks.

We believed in the Editor and the Writers, who were very passionate about their work.  We could not be more proud of the recognition they achieved, especially post-Revolution, and the outstanding body of work they leave as their legacy in a digital archive for future readers.  Given the dramatic political and social events that unfolded in Egypt consistently since January 2011, The DNE archives will be read by people around the world interested in learning more about the nation’s history and struggle.

We injected millions of pounds into The Daily News Egypt during the course of its life, and never took a single penny out.  We never claimed expenses, salaries, dividends, royalties or payment of any kind.  Our objective was for the newspaper to eventually cover its costs.  In 2009 the company nearly broke even, after years of the investors having to constantly re-inject capital into the business.  This turning point was important for the owners who had been funding the company from their personal capital with no clear sign of when the financial burden would end.

The short-lived stability was to end in 2011 with the Revolution.  The events in Egypt were so large in scale that the investors agreed, once again, to carry the business through the hard times.  Advertising revenues were down a whopping 75% in 2011.Despite that, investors managed all concerns on the business side so that DNE’s staff could focus on reporting the events to the world from the front-line.  We witnessed our team flourish, performing their journalistic roles with impressive professionalism and credibility.  The investors made sure the team was able to work freely without having to deal with the mounting pressures of the business; salaries and bills were always paid on time and without fail.  Needless to say, the investors faced monthly losses in the hundreds of thousands so that the newspaper could continue its work.  Around this time, and as a preemptive move against the possibility of the newspaper having to close down, negotiations were initiated with individuals, companies and media groups to save the paper. No stone was left unturned, but sadly no offers were made either.  The concern at this grave stage was purely the welfare of the employees and the preservation of the product. None of the investors expected a recovery of their investment, nor did they even suggest it. After months of grueling negotiations, last-ditch efforts and desperate measures the funds – and time – had run out.

The decision to close down was not taken lightly. On the contrary, it was painful and difficult.  The investors supported the newspaper until it was simply not possible to do so any longer.  Our pride in what we built remains, however, and both the commercial and editorial teamsof The Daily News Egyptare a credit to journalism and Egypt.  We wish everyone associated with The Daily News Egypt the best of luck in their future projects. Creating this newspaper with them has been a great experience.

Egyptian Media Services

And here’s a link to the final note posted by the DNE staff, from the DNE website. Let’s hope it continues existing.

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