In its first three years, Al Bawaba journalists have had to contend with both political and digital revolutions while trying to carve out their own professional space. Abdel Said and Omar Samy describe Al Bawaba as an Al Ahram success story. In 2012, Forbes Middle East named the Al Ahram websites, including Al Bawaba, the most popular online news outlets in the region. But the success is tempered by the conflicting realities that confront the journalists who work there. “After the revolution I was afraid to say I was from Al Ahram,” recalls Ahmed Hafez, a reporter for Al Bawaba. Like other journalists I interviewed for this piece, Hafez says he would often hide his Al Ahram affiliation while interviewing in the streets. “If I had said I was from Al Ahram, I would have been beaten,” he says. “It affects your work.”

That’s the day-to-day reality on the ground. Sabah Hamamou, though, sees a more existential threat to Al Bawaba in the resurgence of the old Al Ahram shackles since the July coup—especially as freedom of the press, once among the revolution’s demands, continues to face entrenched barriers, no matter who is in power. “If you want to reform one spot, and it does not spread to other spots,” Hamamou says, “it’s very hard to keep that part reformed.”

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Miriam Berger is a freelance writer. She was a Fulbright fellow in Egypt from June 2012 to August 2013, during which time she researched Egyptian Arabic media.