Egyptian journalist and chief editor of the publication Mada Masr, Lina Attalah, was chosen among TIME Magazine’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2020.
Attalah, who co-founded Mada Masr and became a recipient of the Knight International Journalism award this year, was chosen to be part of this list for her dedication to honest journalism in spite of intense adversity, and her commitment to “constantly [making] the choice to do stories they [Mada Masr] know will bring ‘good trouble,’” in the words of Filipina journalist Maria Ressa.
TIME’s 100 Most Influential People are traditionally nominated by the 100 of the previous year, and Attalah was the choice of Ressa, an investigative journalist who co-founded the news website Rappler and was named TIME’s Person of the Year 2018 along with a group of journalists.
Time Magazine highlighted the challenges Attalah and her team went through as they pursued risky and sensitive stories. Mada Masr, whose office was stormed by security forces late in 2019, has had its main online domain blocked in Egypt for several years, but continues to find ways to publish its work, and Attalah was arrested and detained earlier this year when she attempted to interview Laila Soueif, mother of imprisoned activist Alaa Abdelfattah, when she was protesting in front of Tora prison.
Attalah has been credited with her devoted leadership of Mada Masr, which covers national, regional, and international news, as well as stories on politics, economics, arts and culture, and more, in both Arabic and English, has been hailed as one of the notable news outlets for its independence and professionalism.
This is not the first time TIME has sung the praises of Attalah, previously recognizing her as a “New Generation Leader” and referring to her as the “Muckraker of the Arab World.” In a tribute to the most recent recognition, the team at Mada Masr spoke of the importance of their work as journalists despite their “necessary troubles”. They conclude the tribute by quoting Maria Ressa for TIME:
“You won’t know you’ve gone too far until you do, like when Lina and her team were arrested, handcuffed together in the police truck. They held each other’s hands as they mentally grappled with the impact on their lives. They reminded each other, ‘We are here by choice.’”