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Media on Media Roundup (March 21)

[A pro-Palestinian message on the graffiti wall at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Photo by [A pro-Palestinian message on the graffiti wall at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Photo by "Life in General", Wikimedia Commons]

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” Roundup examines several important topics affecting the MENA region’s mediascape. The Pentagon released an aerial photo of a building demolished by a U.S. airstrike in Syria alleged to be an al-Qaeda center. However, local activists insist it was a mosque and the airstrike killed innocent civilians. Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi denounced the U.N’s decision to remove a report calling Israel an apartheid state from its website. A German newspaper was forced to remove Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s name from a list of “crazy leaders”, following accusations of anti-semitism. 

In the lead-up to Iran’s presidential elections, several MPs have criticized the Revolutionary Guards for their alleged arbitrary arrests of social media activists. On the cultural front, Egyptian political satirist Bassem Youssef had his live shows in the United States interrupted by presumed supporters of President al-Sisi, who were allegedly paid by the government to disrupt Youssef’s performance.

All these stories and more can be found below.

Media and Politics

Pentagon denies bombing Syrian mosque, but its own photo may prove that it did
Source: The Intercept
The Pentagon released an aerial photo of a demolished building in Syria that allegedly killed al-Qaeda officials by an American airstrike. The photo was intended to refute local activists’ claims the building was a mosque; however, the article notes that the photo fueled dual narratives.

"There is a deep state," Snowden says, contradicting the liberal press
Source: Mondoweiss
Writer Philip Weiss comments on a recent podcast The Intercept carried out with Edward Snowden, noting how Snowden designating the U.S. as a “deep state” counters several “liberal” news outlets’ viewpoints.

Ashrawi on UN decision to remove report on "Israeli Apartheid"
Source: International Middle East Media Center
Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi denounced the U.N.’s decision to remove ESCWA’s report from its website, which labeled Israel an apartheid state. Ashrawi asked the U.N. Secretary-General to re-instate the report and hold Israel accountable. 

Media Industries

BBC Creative selects Ericsson for post-production and media management services
Source: Global Newswire
Ericsson signed a deal with BBC to provide post-production and media management services to BBC Creative. The article notes that Ericsson has extensive experience in several markets, including the Middle East.

Nasdaq CEO says tech partnership can help win $100 billion Saudi Aramco IPO
Source: Reuters
Nasdaq Inc is hoping to win Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering of $100 billion, expected to be the largest ever IPO, through a technology partnership.

WikiLeaks won’t tell tech companies how to patch CIA zero-days until its demands are met
Source: Motherboard
WikiLeaks allegedly promised to partner with tech companies Apple, Google, and Microsoft to reveal what bugs and weaknesses the CIA was taking advantage of. According to Motherboard, WikiLeaks has contacted the companies to make demands rather than share the information.

Region still lags behind others in fintech
Source: Gulf News
Financial technology start-ups in the Arab world are distributed between the GCC countries, the Levant, and North Africa, and are expected to grow to 250 companies by 2020, according to a study by Wamda and PayFort. That said, the article argues that the region remains behind others’ with regards to fintech industries.  

Freedom of Journalists/Expression

Iran MP slams Guards for social media arrests
Source: The Daily Star
Several Iranian MPs have criticized the arrest of journalists and social media organizers before the presidential election, accusing the Revolutionary Guards in particular.

UAE jails journalist for damaging its reputation
Source: Middle East Monitor
A UAE court sentenced Jordanian journalist Tayseer Al-Najjar to three years in prison followed by deportation on charges of damaging the state’s reputation, after he posted comments on his social media account criticizing the UAE’s and other Gulf countries’ foreign policies.

HRW calls on Kurdish administrations in Syria, Iraq to release political prisoners
Source: Almasdar News
Human Rights Watch called on Kurdish administrations in Iraq and Syria to release political prisoners and journalists who have been arrested by the KDP and PKK.

Iran: Rafsanjani’s daughter imprisoned for criticizing the regime
Source: Alarbiya English
Faezah Rafsanjani, daughter of former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani has been jailed for six months for criticizing the current regime.
Social Media

Teach school children how to spot fake news, says OECD
Source: The Guardian
Head of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Andreas Schleicher spoke ahead of the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on the importance of teaching school children how to spot fake news. He noted the negative potential for social media to reinforce and not challenge people’s viewpoints.

Egypt detains Daesh member for recruiting youth
Source: Middle East Monitor
Egypt’s General Prosecution detained a member of Daesh accused of recruiting youth to fight in Libya and Syria. According to the article, the detainee confessed to meeting members of the organization on social media websites as well as receiving funds from them.

Top Human Rights Tweets of the Week
Source: Human Rights Watch News
Jim Murphy rounds up the week’s most powerful Tweets on human rights, with Israel’s apartheid wall and the U.N. report accusing Turkey of killing and displacing Kurds making the cut.

Stop "un-Islamic" divorce by social media, says Omani imam
Source: The National
An imam at Muscat’s main mosque spoke out against what he claism is a growing trend among Omani youth of divorcing via social media, most notably Whatsapp.  The imam stated that such practices were un-Islamic. 

Media Practices

He didn’t like the show. Now he’s advising it.
Source: New York Times
Ramzi Kassem, a Muslim-American lawyer, acted as an advisor for one of the characters on the show Homeland, in order to rectify certain legal errors in how Muslims are represented on television. Kassem stated that the show’s creators have a social responsibility to present these characters as accurately as possible.

German newspaper backtracks after listing Netanyahu as a "crazy world leader"
Source: Middle East Monitor
German newspaper Hamburger Morgenpost was forced to removed Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netyanhu’s name from a list of “crazy world leaders” following diplomatic pressure accusing the action of being ”anti-semitic.”

German media "only marginally competent" in Turkey reporting
Source: Deutsche Welle
Turkey scholar Caner Aver criticizes German media’s limited perspective in reporting about Turkey, noting that internal politics in particular are not sufficiently taken into consideration.

Fake news has a long history in the Middle East—and the lessons for Americans are unmistakably dire
Source: Salon
Writer Steven Cook explains that “fake news” have long been prominent in the Middle East and are now contributing to the “Middle Easternization of the United States.” He counts “fake news” as part of a global phenomenon that seeks to weaponize information, rather than educate publics.

Media, extremism among topics addressed at informal Shoura meeting
Source: Arab News
Members of Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council called for an informal meeting to discuss several important topics, including the media and newspapers’ roles in providing rational, accurate information to viewers and readers.

خدعة الساحر: صناعة قضايا الرأي العام في لبنان
المصدر: الأخبار
تتداول المقالة كيفية صناعة الرأي العام في لبنان، والتي تبدأ برأي خبير تابع لجهّة سياسيّة تتبنّاه مؤسسات الإعلام، مشكلة خط التماس الأول بين الرأي العام والقضية.  و يقول الكاتب أنّ على الإعلام أن يكون حراً ليستطيع ضبط أصحاب السلطة و حماية المواطنين.       

«أيام بيروت السينمائية»: مجزرة رقابية
المصدر: الأخبار
توالت عدّة إشكالات رقابية في أوائل أيام مهرجان «أيام بيروت السينمائية 2017»، منها فيلم روائي طويل للمخرج روي ديب الذي لا يزال منتظراً إذنا من الرقابة اللبنانية لعرضه. قال ديب أنّه أصر تقديم الفيلم ضمن صالة لبنانية رغم المخاطرة الرقابية لأنه متشبث بحق المخرج اللبناني في تقديم أعماله في صالات بلده.  


The man on the bed
Source: TIME
Andrew Katz reveals the story behind a widely-circulated photograph of a 70 year-old-man, known as Abu Omar, smoking his pipe and listening to music in his destroyed  Aleppo home.

Heckling the Jon Stewart of Egypt
Source: The New Yorker
Comedian Bassem Youssef, who has been called the “Jon Stewart” of Egypt, had his most recent show in New York interrupted by hecklers on behalf of President Sisi, who, according to the article, were paid to disrupt the performance.

Egyptian political satirist Bassem Youssef on media and the Arab Spring
Source: NPR
Bassem Youssef speaks with NPR about his new book, “Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through The Arab Spring,” which he hopes can change Western perspectives about the Middle East through political satire.

Inside Saudi Arabia’s First Feminist Literary Magazine
Source: The Establishment
Writer Natasha Burge sits down with Ahd Niazy, editor-in-chief of Saudi Arabia’s first feminist literary magazine, Jahanimya. Niazy hopes to counter Western stereotypes about Middle Eastern women whilst shedding light on important issues facing Saudi society.

Visitors fuming over hijab ban at Bryan Adams concert in Qatar
Source: Doha News
Several women wearing headscarves and their families were banned from entering a Bryan Adams concert in Qatar. According to Qatari law, women in veils or national dress cannot attend public venues serving alcohol. However, many of the banned concert-goers said they were unaware of this upon purchasing the tickets.  

Gaza book fair encourages youth to put down cellphone, pick up book
Source: Al Monitor
A group of Palestinians, under the name “Athar,” organized a book fair in Gaza to encourage paper-based reading as opposed to e-books.

Street art challenges Trump in wake of travel ban, arts cuts
Source: Middle East Eye
Writer Yasmine El-Sabawi notes that street artists have taken on bold projects following Trump’s second attempt at a travel ban that highlight the various transgressions of his administration. One project that caused a stir on social media showed a credible-looking sign citing a “future internment camp.”

Made in Kuwait: Surviving censorship in the filmmaking industry
Source: Middle East Eye
In an interview with Middle East Eye, Kuwaiti filmmaker Abdullah Boushahri states that censorship kills the creative spirit of many budding directors. The article also points to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia’s influence on GCC politics as main obstacles to creative freedom in the film industry.

Today’s cartoons shape tomorrow’s future
Source: The Daily Star
In this op-ed piece, Nahla El-Zibawi discusses how cartoons and movies play a significant role in shaping children’s identities, futures, and their perceptions of gender roles.

"المرأة أفعى ومتحزمة بإبليس"... هكذا كرّست الأمثال المغربية التمييز ضد المرأة
المصدر: رصيف22
تعرض الكاتبة سامية علام أشهر الأمثال الشعبية التي رسّخت فكرة التمييز ضد المرأة في المجتمع المغربي. و تقول علام أنّ جزءاً كبيراً من هذه الأمثال حملت أفكار متناقضة في شأن المرأة، وضعتها في إطار الخير والشر في آن واحد.     

لبنان على شاشة تتبرأ منه
المصدر: المدن
تتداول المقالة كتاب الإعلامي زافين قيومجبان "Lebanon On Screen" الذي يؤرخ مسار التلفزيون اللبناني، مستنداً إلى لحظاته الأساسية و الواقعات سياسية التي أثرت على تطوره. يقول الكاتب أنّ بعد الإنتهاء منه، يدرك القارئ أنّ الصورة الميديوية المعروضة على الشاشات لا تحيل سوى إلى ذاتها و لبنان الذي كان داخل و خارج الشاشة أصبح "في الشاشة" فقط، "لأنه ليس في مكان غيرها".


In the spirit of rebellion
Source: Qantara
Mey Dudin discusses tattoo trends in various Arab cities and the controversies surrounding them, noting the emergence of a growing subculture in the region.

10 Funny Signs from Today’s Protest
Source: Blogbaladi
Many Lebanese took to the streets to protest increasing tax rates and the article sheds light on the most comical posters from the protests.  

From Jadaliyya Media Roundups

"It’s scarier this time:" Hunger-striking Palestinian journalist’s health deteriorating quickly
Source: Jadaliyya Palestine Media Roundup
Palestinian journalist Mohamed al-Qiq’s health is rapidly deteriorating as his hunger strike continues. Al-Qiq’s family called for increased support for Mohamed demanding his release from Israeli prison, noting that the strike is a necessary part of his struggle for justice.

Mapping the Yemen Conflict
Source: Jadaliyya Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup
Several maps by the European Council on Foreign Relations look to show the historical divisions and chief aspects of the war in Yemen.

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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