CAIRO – 17 February 2021: Today marks the fifth death anniversary of “The Professor” Mohammad Hassanein Heikal, one of the most prominent Egyptian journalists of the 20th century.
He participated in formulating politics in Egypt from the time of King Farouk until his death, on February 17, 2016.
Heikal moved with his family to Cairo and received his education until he started to study and practice journalism. He joined the Egyptian Gazette as an under-training editor in the accident department in 1943, then in the parliamentary section.
He was chosen by the editor-in-chief of the Egyptian Gazette to participate in covering some of the battles of the Second World War in its late stages with an Egyptian vision.
In 1945, he was appointed as editor of Akher Sa’a Magazine, which was transferred to Akhbar Al-Youm newspaper during the period 1946-1950.
He then became a traveling reporter with Akhbar Al-Youm and traveled to cover events from the Middle East to the Balkans, Africa and the Far East to Korea, then settled in Egypt in 1951, where he assumed the position of editor-in-chief of Akher Sa`a and managing editor of Akhbar Al-Youm, having close contact with the course of Egyptian politics.
Heikal apologized for the first time to the board of directors and the editorial board of Al-Ahram in 1956, but accepted the second time and remained the chief editor of Al-Ahram for 17 years.
In 1957, he began writing his weekly column in Al-Ahram under the title “Besaraha” [Frankly], which he wrote until 1994.
Heikal contributed to the development of Al-Ahram newspaper until it became one of the top ten newspapers in the world. He also established the Al-Ahram Specialized Centers Group, the Center for Political and Strategic Studies, in addition to the Journalism Studies Center and the Center for Documentation of Contemporary Egyptian History.
In addition to his journalistic work, Heikal participated in the political life, and was appointed Minister of Information in 1970, then as Minister of Foreign Affairs for a period of two weeks in the absence of its original minister Mahmoud Riyad.
The renowned journalist is one of the 20th century phenomena of Arab culture. He is a historian of modern Arab history, especially the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He recorded a series of historical programs and conducted investigations and articles for many newspapers around the world, including the Sunday Times and The Times in Britain.
Moreover, Heikal published eleven books in the field of international publishing in 25-30 languages ranging from Japanese to Spanish.
He decided to retire from regular writing while he was in the prime of his glory in 2003. This decision raised controversy especially after writing his two-part farewell article, but he returned to Al-Ahram newspaper with the same weekly column "Frankly" following the January 25 revolution.