Editors of local publications acknowledge that circulation has decreased. However many of them also still insist that they continue to sell a reasonable amount.
“The impact of the crisis on our sales is a decrease of around 30 to 35 percent,” Ahmed Mira, the editor of Levin magazine, told NIQASH. “But our sales are still reassuring compared to a lot of other publications.”
Local editors have been using all their contacts and networking to try and get advertising. “The lack of advertising in local printed press must eventually lead to the closure of all newspapers,” Mira says. “We are just one among many.”
To cope, Levin has tried to reduce expenses – the number of staff has been reduced as have the magazine's pages. They have also tried to cut printing and other costs. And now they believe that Levin should be able to keep publishing until the end of the year, should their plans work out. At that stage though, Mira says that if things have remained the same they're going to need some kind of bail out either from the government or from other media-supportive organisations.
Hawlati, and publisher Tariq, are in the same position. Before the crisis Hawlati was looking to expand into a radio station and satellite TV channel. Now the organisation is just trying to avoid closure.
Tariq says he is waiting until November 2015 to decide the fate of his newspaper – that month Hawlati will be 15 years old and, he says, he will be forced to either close it or sell it. Tariq admits he had actually had similar thoughts last year. “But I kept on despite the pressures and the crisis,” he says. “If I had closed it then maybe I would have spared myself the trouble of waiting. Then I'd be feeling much more relaxed today,” he confesses.