The following is a guest appearance by by Adam Hedengren, co-founder and managing editor, and David Hedengren, co-founder and editor-in-chief of YourMiddleEast.Com
We are two brothers on a quest to challenge the major media companies’ Middle East and North Africa coverage.
We believe that there are no satisfactory sources of news and information in English about the Middle East today. Having studied and lived in various Middle East and North African (MENA) countries, we felt that it is really difficult to get a full picture of the region, particularly as outsiders.
After months of research and discussion, we founded Your Middle East.com in the fall of 2011 with the aim of creating a truly independent, inclusive and balanced regional digital newspaper about the MENA region for a global audience.
Basedn in Stockholm, Sweden, we are doing several things differently from our competitors. Firstly, Your Middle East is one hundred per cent independent of any special interest, which is very important in a region marred by conflict and power-struggles.
Secondly, we work really hard to show more than these conflicts. Very few stories from the region that do not deal with high politics, war, fundamentalism and similar issues reach a global audience. In addition to news, analysis and op-eds on current affairs, Your Middle East aims to reduce the knowledge deficit by publishing positive, inspiring, real life stories on topics ranging from business to arts, to travel.
By doing so, we aim to portray a more balanced and nuanced picture of the Middle East, reducing stereotypes and building bridges within the region as well as with the rest of the world. Another important part of this balance is that all countries in the region are covered without bias or prejudice. Your Middle East is a platform, where a wide range of individuals and organisations is given a chance to voice their opinions.
On Your Middle East you will find an insider’s guide on how to best spend a weekend in Amman side by side with a reflection on the new Arab exceptionalism, an outlook on entrepreneurship in the region, a Q&A with a popular Arab blogger, a humorous poem about President Peres’ Facebook page as well as a more serious analysis on how Egypt should engage its Coptic community.
We do not have any political agenda other than contributing to a positive development in the region. We believe that we can do this by providing high-quality information that increases interest in, understanding and awareness of the region as well as providing a forum for the exchange of ideas.
Maintaining our independence is crucial, and so far we have financed everything by ourselves. But as we do not have unlimited resources, building Your Middle East is a process, and we expect it to take 6-12 months before we reach our initial goal for the publication. The next step is a re-launch in the early summer with a new design and a lot of new content, categories and features.
We encourage you to read Your Middle East, like us on Facebook, download our apps, follow us on Twitter, tell your friends, and send us your thoughts and ideas on how to improve in order to help us build a truly great, useful, independent and comprehensive source of news and information about the Middle East.
David and Adam Hedengren
Founders, Your Middle East