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Media on Media Roundup (December 20)

[A protest against the Turkish government's crackdown against opposition newspaper Zaman. Photo from Turkey Purge] [A protest against the Turkish government's crackdown against opposition newspaper Zaman. Photo from Turkey Purge]

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup deals with a number of issues that occupied the media scene in the region, from the end of the battle over Aleppo to the state of journalism during 2016 and the cultural misrepresentation of Muslims on the BBC.

After a four-year battle over the Syrian city of Aleppo, government-led forces have been described as "somewhat victorious" as they hold control over the entire city, initiating an evacuation process for the remaining civilians in the city. The events were met with major waves of criticism over social media, specifically with the international community’s impotence in light of news reporting on a major “humanitarian meltdown.” In addition, Robert Fisk has recently criticized the media coverage of the battle of Aleppo, suggesting that the narrative now has to shift according to the geopolitical scene, just like it did before with the Iran-Iraq war and the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.

As the year comes to an end, CPJ has released its report which cites the 259 arrests of journalists from around the world during 2016 with Turkey, China and Egypt taking the top three countries for incriminating journalists.

Moreover, the BBC has recently aired a Muslim version of Big Brother called “Muslims Like Us,” which was received differently by different audiences, some calling it a "neo-Orientalist circus show" while others timidly approving its effort to portray the variety of Muslims in British society.

On a different note, marking international UN Arabic language day, we take a look at the current state of Arabic in the Middle East, facing a globalized world.

All of these stories and more are available below in further detail.


Aleppo: Virtue‑signalling goes global
Source: Spiked
This op-ed argues that the narrative in mainstream media about Aleppo revolves around the narcissism for an imagined Western observer, and what the ongoing war means to their ethical values and political needs.

Aleppo coverage in Western media indicative of the fundamentalism-imperialism nexus
Source: FWorld (Indian media outlet)
This article looks closely at the differing media practices while covering the battle of Aleppo, highlighting the role of political affiliations in how the sectarian divide is portrayed among warring factions.

Syrians are leaving graffiti all over Aleppo with messages for Assad
Source: Middle East Eye
As Syrians evacuate Aleppo, they have left several messages on the walls of the city saying "they’ll return someday." The piece highlights a number of those.

Arab social media users express anger over "silence" on Aleppo
Source: Middle East Eye
This article looks at online reactions towards the dire situation in Aleppo, where some called it ‘"meltdown of humanity.”

There is more than one truth to tell in the heartbreaking story of Aleppo
Source: The Independent
Robert Fisk intervenes, yet again, and argues that the western media narrative about Aleppo ought to change now that the battle is over, and the truth of Western support for the rebels is revealed.

سوريا تتهم الإعلام الغربى بالتغطية الهستيرية وتزييف الحقائق في حلب
المصدر: الأهرام
تعلّق هذه المقالة على المبالغة الكبيرة من قبل الإعلام الغربي بما يتعلق بالأزمة في حلب، مع القول ان المنظمات الأوروبية تستغل الموقف لتحقيق مكاسب سياسية.

الكتابة المستحيلة عن سوريا في زمن الإعلام الحربــي المحض
المصدر: جريدة الأخبار
يلوم أسعد أبوخليل الدول الغربية وبالأخص أميركا على ما يحصل في سوريا، قائلاً أن الممارسات الإعلامية تعلن وبشكل واضح عن الإصطفافات السياسية التي تعكس بدورها ما يحدث على أرض الواقع.

Media and Politics

Mosul: A war of images
Source: Your Middle East
This piece looks at how the battle of Mosul has transcended traditional war methods, and instead adopted new online media technologies as well as social networks to mobilise or demoralise the masses.

تشريعات الإعلام: الهيمنة تتواصل
المصدر: جريدة السفير
تنتقض هذه المقالة القانون التي تم الموافقة عليه مؤخراً الذي من شأنه تنظيم عمل المؤسسات الإعلامية في مصر، قائلةً انه مجرد خطوة نحو السيطر الكاملة من قبل الدولة على هذا القطاع الذي كان ولايزال يعاني من الضغوطات من قبل السلطات.


Was "Muslims Like Us" a helpful portrayal of Islam in the UK?
Source: The Guardian
Dubbed the Muslim Big Brother, "Muslims Like Us" is a new reality TV show which recently aired on BBC, and that courted controversy for the way it portrays Muslims in terms of how British they are. This article highlights three conflicting positions taken towards the show.

The BBC’s "Muslims Like Us" was a neo-Orientalist circus show
Source: Middle East Eye
On the other hand, this op-ed completely attacks BBC’s decision to even make the show, arguing that the show’s premise fundamentally misrepresents British Muslims by questioning their loyalty to British values.

اللغة العربية.. بين إرث مستعمر وعولمة خلاقة
المصدر: ساسة بوست
بمناسبة اليوم العالمي للغة العربية، تلقي هذه المقالة الضوء على المعوقات التي تواجه استمرارية هذه اللغة في وجه العولمة، مع التشديد على أهمية استخدامها لنشر الثقافة والفكر عبر دول العالم بدل اعتماد اللغة الإنجليزية.

Media Industries

Egypt's newspapers face uncertainty after printing price hikes
Source: Al-Monitor
The deteriorating Egyptian economy is hitting print media the hardest, forcing them to deal with increasing printing costs with only two options at hand: decreasing circulation or raising their prices.

دعك من الاثنين، أمازون تطلق منافس لـ نتفليكس في الدول العربية
المصدر: Arabian Business
تنضم "أمازون" الى قافلة مقدمي خدمة الـ"فيديو غب الطلب" (VOD) لتنافس "نتفليكس" على حصتها من الجمهور العربي.

Freedom of Journalists/Expression

Turkey: Silencing the Media
Source: Human Rights Watch
The year 2016 has been one of the worst years for the media in Turkey and specifically journalists who have been silenced and put to jail for doing their job. Human Rights Watch has recently published a report on Turkish "Government’s Deepening Assault on Critical Journalism: Silencing Turkey’s Media" [Report]

Journalist arrests in 2016 at 30-year high
Source: Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera focuses on Turkey’s and Egypt’s status among the countries most oppressive towards journalists during 2016, in light of a recently published report by CPJ which cites the numerous arrests happening from around the world.

Israel among world’s worst jailers of journalists
Source: Electronic Intifada
Also adding to CPJ’s report, Electronic Intifada highlights Israel’s share of oppressing journalists during 2016, who have been arrested for "inciting violence."

RSF seeks protection for journalists in East Aleppo
Source: RSF
Now that the battle for Aleppo is somewhat over, RSF urges that journalists (independent or not) to be treated as civilians and shall be evacuated from the city safely.

How Turkey's journalists are preserving critical reporting
Source: Al-Monitor
In this article, Al-Monitor looks at the growing trend among Turkish journalists to establish their own alternative online media, as a way to fight back against the government’s crackdown.

The role of the alternative media in Sudan
Source: Sudan Tribune
The article calls for research about the role of alternative media in Sudan and how it can alleviate sectarianism among war-torn societies. The author continues to develop on the methodology and the importance of conducting such research.

Saudi woman arrested for sharing photo without veil on Twitter
Source: Middle East Eye
Once again, the authorities in the ultra-conservative kingdom have recently taken a woman to prison for her stance against the endless restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia.

Media Practices

Has war in Syria also destroyed journalism?
Source: Jordan Times
In this piece, Ramzy Baroud, argues that the "truth" cannot really be found from the number of journalists found on the battlefield, but rather is a result of logical reasoning and deductions--putting a lot of weight on the receiver's end.

Syria’s war is a different story through lens of Russian media
Source: The Irish Times
The Irish Times comments on the way Russian media outlets have approached the war in Syria.

الإعلام العربي وحاجته الى مواكبة العصر الحديث
المصدر: موقع الوسط
هذه المقالة تشدد على فكرة ان كون الصحفيين والمراسلين خبراء في التغطية والإعلام المحليين لا يجعلهم مؤهلين في العمل على الصحافية العالمية.

From Jadaliyya Media Roundups

The incredible story behind the Syrian protest singer everyone thought was dead
Source: Jadaliyya Syria Media Roundup
In 2011, a Syrian protest anthem captured the world's attention after being recorded on a phone and uploaded to YouTube. Now, GQ exclusively reveals the story of the real hero behind the song that rallied the rebels.

Why did Bahrain ban Al Jazeera from the GCC summit?
Source: Jadaliyya Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup
Questions surround the Qatari channel’s exclusion.

[The "Media On Media Roundup" is an initiative to survey published material in the news and broadcast media that deals with journalism, coverage, or mass communication practices about the region. These roundups are produced and curated in collaboration with the American University of Beirut's Media Studies Program. The items collected here do not reflect the views of Jadaliyya or the editors of the Media Page.]

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