The launch of a new newspaper, Al-Zaman, has sparked controversy among journalists and social media users who argue that the newspaper represents Mubarak’s regime as its editor-in-chief is Elham Sharshar, the wife of former interior minister Habib Al-Adly.
Sharshar, who wrote a column in the state-run Al-Ahram for 25 years, said the main goal of launching Al-Zaman is to resume her work as a journalist. In an editorial published in the paper’s first issue, she said she will utilise Al-Zaman to express the concerns of Egyptians and to face “the powers of evil and darkness” that are hindering Egypt’s rise to prominence.
Al-Zaman features several renowned columnists and writers who are also considered prominent representatives of the Mubarak era, such as former head of the Press Syndicate Makram Ahmed Makram, columnist Mofeed Fawzy, and former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass.
Journalists expressed their concerns that the newspaper may be used to revive notorious former interior minister Al-Adly and to bring him back to the political scene, according to posts circulating on social media outlets.
Contrarily, there are others who consider forming a newspaper as a legal right for any citizen, even if it is Mubarak-era lackey. This side argues that as long as no legal violations were recorded, Sharshar has the right to issue Al-Zaman.
Al-Adly served as interior minister under ousted president Hosni Mubarak from November 1997 to January 2011. His term in the ministry was marred by human rights violations that were a factor in sparking the 25 January Revolution.
One of the last of these violations was the torture and murder of Sayed Belal, who was held by the State Security Agency for investigations of an attack against a church on New Year’s Eve in 2011.
Following the revolution, he along with other security officials stood trail for several charges. Al-Adly was tried alongside Mubarak and his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, for their involvement in the killing of protesters during the 25 January Revolution. In November 2015, the accusation against both men was dropped.
Recently, Al Adly was acquitted by the Giza Criminal Court in a corruption case. He had been accused of illicitly obtaining EGP 181m