BEIRUT, LEBANON: Aboubakr Jamaï, the co-founder and former managing director of the weekly newspaper Le Journal Hebdomadaire and a pioneer of the independent press in Morocco, has been presented the 2010 Gebran Tueni Award in a ceremony in Beirut, Lebanon.
The Gebran Tueni Award is the annual prize of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) that honours an editor or publisher from the Arab region.
Jamaï received the award from Bengt Braun, past president and senior ambassador of WAN-IFRA, and Nayla Tueni, board member and deputy general manager of the An Nahar daily and daughter of assassinated publisher Gebran Tueni.
The award recognises Jamaï's constant struggle in publishing some of the region's finest independent journalism while dealing with a monarchy that, despite promises of reform, prefers to maintain control of the Moroccan media.
"Morocco is one country where there is a need for change, and where editors and publishers in the independent press have long been advocating for freedom of expression," said Braun in presenting the award in the 12 April ceremony. "The man we honour here today, Aboubakr Jamaï, is a pioneer in this work, and the newspaper he founded, Le Journal Hebdomadaire, established a reputation for being a leading and critical voice in the Moroccan press.
"As the country moved towards a more open and democratic society, Le Journal sought to hold authorities to their commitments to tackling corruption, transparency and ending human rights abuses. Sadly, they were not entirely successful. The newspaper was closed in 2010, the victim of an advertising boycott, debts and a substantial €270 000 fine (over R2.6 million). But its irreverent tone, stinging analysis and spirit set an example for the independent press throughout the region, and is celebrated today with this award," said Braun.
Jamaï said he was "especially honoured because this award is named for a man who paid the highest price that there is in his quest for truth and freedom." (Gebran Tueni was killed by a car bomb in Beirut in 2005. The award honours the editor or publisher who demonstrates the values espoused by Tueni.)
Customised typeface for Lebanon's An-Nahar newspaper debuts in its redesign; honours Gebran Tueni
"Oh mountain, no wind can shake you" - this is the Lebanese saying that inspired Linotype typeface designer Nadine Chahine as she created the Gebran2005 typeface. Designed for An-Nahar, reputedly Lebanon's leading Arabic-language daily newspaper, Chahine's creation is part of a major redesign of the publication, available in its new look beginning this week in Beirut.
"The tone of the typeface evokes authority, yet it maintains an elegant and contemporary look," said Chahine, who's from Lebanon and grew up reading An-Nahar. "It's a bold design for bold times."
Named after Gebran Tueni, An-Nahar's former editor and publisher, Gebran2005 is a modern version of a classic, newspaper headline style. "Like Gebran himself, the typeface has a distinctive, self-assured presence," Chahine said. In addition to heading An-Nahar, Tueni was a member of parliament, elected to a Beirut constituency in 2005. In December of that year, he was assassinated in a car-bomb explosion.
The redesign of the newspaper is not only intended to pay tribute to Tueni but also to celebrate the newspaper's commitment to free speech, apparent throughout An-Nahar's history. First published in 1933 by Tueni's grandfather, also named Gebran Tueni, the newspaper provided a platform for expressing various opinions. After his death, editing and publishing responsibilities remained in the family, first with son Ghassen Tueni, followed by Gebran Tueni's namesake grandson. After his assassination at age 48, his daughter, Nayla Tueni, won her father's seat in Lebanon's parliament and is now its youngest member at 28 years old. She is dedicated to continuing her father's work and bringing new energy to An-Nahar, which means "the day" in Arabic.
"We will continue to shine a bright light on the importance of free speech in the Middle East that will not be dimmed," said Nayla Tueni. "The redesign of An-Nahar reflects this determination, which we're confident will help us to better connect with both young and mature readers. Nadine has captured the essence of this spirit through her sculptural design approach, which appears to have made every character in her typeface count and be noticed. Each seems to say, 'I am here, and I am here to stay,' just like the Lebanese people."
Dr. Mario Garcia, an award-winning American newspaper and magazine designer, was selected to lead the redesign of An-Nahar. "The fact that I was able to attract the very talented Nadine Chahine to help us with typographic issues, which led to the creation of Gebran2005, gave the project a dynamic push forward," said Garcia. He heads Garcia Media and has worked with more than 500 news organisations over the last 40 years, having redesigned large publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald and The Philadelphia Inquirer. "The new An-Nahar represents what a modern newspaper is all about. Readers of this legendary and well respected daily can now sample their familiar, trusted friend that is An-Nahar, with the modern elements of navigation, story hierarchy and added content that will help readers with their daily lives."
The Gebran2005 typeface includes two weights, bold and heavy. Both are designed with tight proportions in order to preserve space in the newspaper's headlines.
WAN-IFRA WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18 000 publications, 15 000 online sites and over 3000 companies in more than 120 countries. The organisation was created by the merger of the World Association of Newspapers and IFRA, the research and service organisation for the news publishing industry. Go to: http://www.wan-ifra.org
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