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Student: Nada Mohamed Hesham
Type of work: Editorial
Jochen Braun, Ghalia Elsrakbi
Year: 2015 

El Fankoush newspaper aims to create a space for freedom by facing taboos, the forbidden and unquestionable. El Fankoush Independent is an opportunity to showcase what the mainstream media of El Fankoush Republic refuses to expose and therefore we believe that this might be the first step to know the untold problems and a silver lining for freedom of expression in a society of taboos.


In a community like Egypt, lots of taboos whether pressured by the society or the law are affecting the publics and getting in the way of forming a clear vision of existing problems and therefore hindering the way to potential solutions. For this society come face to face with pressing societal problems, this barrier-formed existence of it. Because the mere orientation of the existence of taboos is the first step to break them.

The existence of taboos was tackled through out the research, how people perceive them, tackle them and whether they think they should be broken or not. Incidents of censorships were tackled as banning of different media material claiming they break taboos or do not follow social norms. The role of satire as a form of dissent in breaking taboos is deeply studied.


The methodology of this project is based on reviewing other people's work, observation, focus groups, interviews, surveys all to get a closer look of the suitable format and medium in which taboos can be broken. Various fields were explored to develop a better understanding of the different aspects of the project. Press and Journalism in Egypt, Underground Culture, Political Satire and fake news, Taboos in Egypt.


The word taboo has a Polynesian origin (the words "tabu" or "tapu" in the Tongan language) and it was firstly introduced in the English language in the eighteenth century. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, the therm taboo means "The prohibition of an action based on the belief that such behaviour is either too sacred and consecrated or too dangerous and accursed for ordinary individuals to undertake." 


– The Fankoush Republic Independent
The word Fankoush has no origin in the Arabic language but rather it is a slang word that Egyptian people use when expressing the idea of selling nothing. If someone says "someone is selling you El Fankoush" it metaphorically means that "someone is selling you air or nothing". The word was originally mentioned in an old Egyptian movie called "Wahda b Wahda; one for one" or commonly named El Fankoush. The plot of the movie revolves around a guy who works in the field of media and advertisement. In order for him to win over another advertisement company, he decides to sell people a fictional product that he names El Fankoush. Ever since the success of this movie, Egyptian people use the sentence "selling you El Fankoush" regularly.

Since this newspaper's mission is to critique the capitalist newspapers that often sell people sugar coated news that is far away from reality. El Fankoush newspaper comes to parody this idea by mocking these capitalist newspaper and pointing out the acts of deception they are often involved in.

In addition to that, El Fankoush independent is a newspaper that is produced in a fictional country called The Republic of El Fankoush, which makes the word "El Fankoush" perfectly suitable to the description of this fictional country.



Target group

The newspaper is created to establish kind of a public design movement that creates debates in the Egyptian streets. So everyone in the streets is considered part of the target group; whether he/she is going to read it, pick it up, just notice its blunt visuals. On a more specific note, the potential target group of the newspaper would be young Egyptians who are rejecting the mainstream media and seek a more honest and brave medium. Also the newspaper is bilingual so that foreigner who live in Egypt can read it and participate as well.

Writers and Designers

The newspaper is a call out for designers and writers as well to join and submit their work to be published in the newspaper. It is a chance for young writers and designers to find a channel which is free of censorship far from the mainstream capitalism oriented media channels.



"Our newspaper aims to create a space for freedom of expression in the Republic of El Fankoush by facing taboos, the forbidden and the unquestionable. We do not tell you what to think and we do not inform you of what is right and what is wrong."