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Media on Media Roundup (April 25)

[Hezbollah flag in Baalbeck, Lebanon. Photo by yeowatzup, Wikimedia Commons] [Hezbollah flag in Baalbeck, Lebanon. Photo by yeowatzup, Wikimedia Commons]

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup tackles several important themes shaping the Middle East mediascape. A leaked video allegedly showing Egyptian soldiers killing detainees in the Sinai Peninsula caused a great deal of debate surrounding Egypt’s human rights record. In Lebanon, a Hezbollah-organized media tour of the country’s demarcation line with Israel generated controversy regarding Lebanon’s relationship to Israel and Hezbollah’s military power. Following a referendum extending President Erdogan’s ruling powers, the Turkish government detained the editor-in-chief of leftist website for denouncing  Erdogan’s win as illegitimate. The New York Times commented on a social media campaign in Saudi Arabia under the hashtag #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen, which is encouraging women in the Kingdom to challenge male guardianship. The Sky News Abu Dhabi bureau laid off the head of the economics department, Maroun Badran, following a report he prepared that discussed Saudi Arabia’s declining economic standing, which was allegedly seen as an attack against the Kingdom.

On the cultural front, mobile libraries are taking over several Arab cities, providing an alternative to consumers who wish to avoid rising book fees yet threatening the viability of established publishing houses.

All these stories and more can be found below.

Media and Politics

Assad accuses Jordan of planning Syria invasion
Source: Middle East Monitor
In an interview with Sputnik, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad stated that he has information from mass media and other sources that Jordan is planning to send its troops into southern Syria in cooperation with the US.

Egyptian "executions" video fuels criticism of Cairo's rights record
Source: Middle East Eye
A leaked video allegedly showing Egyptian soldiers killing detainees in the Sinai Peninsula has caused controversy, fuelling debates surrounding Egypt’s human rights record. The article notes that Egyptian state media did not discuss the footage.

Hezbollah organizes media tour on Lebanon-Palestine border
Source: Al-Manar English
Hezbollah organized a media tour for Lebanese and Arab journalists along the Lebanon-Palestine border to reportedly showcase the measures Israel has taken in preparation for potential attacks by Hezbollah. 

Lebanon PM criticizes Hezbollah media border tour
Source: i24 News
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri criticized Hezbollah for organizing a media tour of the country’s demarcation line with Israel, noting that the government does not condone this and looks for permanent ceasefire solutions.

Marking Kurdish Journalism Day, Barzani urges media to support referendum
Source: Rudaw
President Masoud Barzani spoke during Kurdistan Journalism Day, praising Kurdish journalists in their coverage of the war against ISIS, emphasizing the positive development of the industry in the Kurdistan Region.

Media Industries

Thomson Reuters concludes three-day seminar series with UAE-based entrepreneurs
Source: Zawya
Thomson Reuters launched a three-day seminar in celebration of its one hundred and fifty years of service in the MENA region to discuss the future of entrepreneurship in several Middle Eastern countries, and the UAE in particular.

U.N. tool uses satellite data to help farmers save water
Source: Reuters
WaPOR, an open-access database developed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) uses satellite data to map water consumption in Africa and the Middle East in order to monitor how farmers consume water so as to improve irrigation and crop production.

Freedom of Journalists/Expression

Israel detains Palestinian woman for "incitement" on Facebook
Source: Middle East Monitor
Israeli forces reportedly detained a twenty-two-year-old Palestinian woman for alleged “incitement” on her personal Facebook account. According to the article, the woman was to be presented to an Israeli court to extend her detention.

Turkish police detain leftist editor after referendum
Source: The Daily Star
Turkish police detained  Ali Ergin Demirhan, editor-in-chief of a leftist website for denouncing President Erdogan’s win in the referendum as illegitimate. stated that Demirhan was detained on accusations of "organizing protests on social media” and his personal cell phone and hard disk were allegedly confiscated in the raid.

مصر تمنع صحافياً سودانياً من دخولها... والاتحاد يستنكر
المصدر: العربي الجديد
منعت السلطات المصرية دخول الصحافي السوداني الطاهر ساتي إلى مصر للحاق بزوجته التي وصلت قبله لتلقي العلاج. أدان "اتحاد الصحافيين السودانيين" احتجاز الساتي، متهماً الحكومة المصرية باستهداف الصحفيين السودانيين عمداً، موصف الخطوة ب"التصعيدية".

Social Media

Iraq Shia cleric visit to Egypt draws ire of activists
Source: Middle East Monitor
Egyptian and Arab activists took to social media to protest the visit of Ammar Al-Hakim, a Shia cleric and head of the Iraqi Shia National Alliance, to Cairo for his allegedly sectarian views, seen as offensive to Sunni Muslims. Alternatively, many of the online comments from critics of the visit were themselves sectarian in nature.

Cellphones in hand, Saudi women challenge notions of male control
Source: New York Times
The article argues that Saudi women are challenging the Kingdom’s male guardianship system through their use of cellphones and social media platforms, in particular through an online campaign, #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen.

Iraqi political battles on social media
Source: Asharq Alawsat
Iraqi political groups, called “electronic armies” in the article, are using social media platforms to target political parties with opposing views. The head of State of law Coalition and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was allegedly a target.

Jihadi reactions to the attack on the Champs Elysées in Paris
Source: Middle East Media Research Institute
The Islamic State was quick to take responsibility for an attack against police on the Champs Elysées in Paris on April 20th, spurring pro-ISIS social media activity, a sample of which are discussed in the article.

Social media users infuriated by online calls disruption, NTRA denies blockage
Source: Egypt Independent
Facebook and FaceTime’s call services allegedly experienced frequent interruptions in Egypt, which outraged many users on social media, who claimed the ban was intentional. The head of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) dismissed these claims as “rumors.”

Vetting by social media: why employers are now checking your online activity
Source: The National
Employers in the Middle East are using social media to vet and monitor the activity of potential employees.  

هكذا تفاعل المغرّدون مع #محاكمة_وزير_الخدمة_المدنية السعودي
المصدر: العربي الجديد
أطلق مواطنون سعوديون حملة على موقع تويتر تحت وسم "#محاكمة_وزير_الخدمة_المدنية" ردّاً على إقالة وزير الخدمة المدنية، خالد العرج، وتحويله للمحاكمة بتهمة استغلال سلطته ونفوذه.

Media Practices

More lapdog than watchdog
Source: Qantara
Lebanese journalist Hazem Saghieh speaks to Qantara about the shortcomings of the Arab press, noting that it serves the interests of the ruling powers instead of acting as a counterweight to them.

Daesh is using chemical weapons: Why is the mainstream media keeping quiet?
Source: Sputnik News
The article by Russian news-agency, Sputnik, claims a lack of mainstream media coverage on Daesh’s use of chemical weapons in Mosul, stating that Iraqi and US military spokesperson are pushing for low coverage of gas attacks.

Communication revolution has impacted mindsets and attitudes, Kuwaiti minister says
Source: Gulf News
Speaking at a two-day media conference held in Kuwait, the Gulf country’s acting information minister stated the information and communication “revolution” has impacted people’s mindsets, blurring the lines between official and private media.

«سكاي نيوز» تضحي بموظفيها كرمى للسعودية
المصدر: الأخبار
استغنى مكتب قناة «سكاي نيوز» في أبو ظبي عن مدير قسم الاقتصاد مارون بدران إثر تقرير نشره عن التراجع الاقتصادي للسعودية. يقول الكاتب أنّ بالرغم من تداول هذه المعلومات والتحليلات في جميع وسائل الاعلام المكتوبة والمسموعة، رأت المملكة العربية السعودية أن ««سكاي نيوز» تتعمّد الإساءة إلى المملكة واقتصادها» ممّا أدّى إلى توتّر العلاقات بين الرياض وأبو ظبي، على إعتبار أن القناة تتبع مباشرة للحكومة الإماراتية.

"الإخبارية السورية" داخل الرقة.. النظام يمهد لاستيلائه على المدينة!
المصدر: المدن
قدمت الإخبارية السورية المؤيدة للنظام حلقة من برنامج "خارج العاصمة"، زاعمة أنّها من داخل مدينة الرقّة. يقول الكاتب أنّ القناة تمهد ببرنامجها من أجل دخول جيش النظام إلى الرقة، مستخدمة لقطات و تقارير من مصادر إعلامية يصنفها النظام السورية بالمعادية، موضحاً أنّ توقيت "الضخ الإعلامي" يأتي بعد سنين من إهمال المدينة والمحافظة.   


Lebanon rape law: Wedding dresses hang in Beirut sea front protest
Source: BBC
In a creative move protesting article 522 of Lebanon’s penal code, which drops charges against rapists who marry their victims  activists displayed 30 white wedding dresses hanging from nooses on Beirut’s sea front. The proposal to abolish the law will be voted in parliament on May 15th.

"Propaganda? So what?:" Armenian genocide dispute goes to Hollywood
Source: Middle East Eye
Two newly released Hollywood films, "The Promise" and "The Ottoman Lieutenant," tackle the Anatolia crisis of 1915, with Armenia and Turkey respectively backing the rival films to promote their version of the tragedy.

Publishing house puts Chinese books on Middle Eastern shelves
Source: CGTN
A publishing house in Yinchuan, China and Egypt-based Wisdom House publishers aim to “bridge the language barrier” between China and the Arab world by translating Chinese books into Arabic. The initiative, started in 2011, has translated approximately seven hundred books since its inception. 

The different lives of mobile libraries and bookshops in Abu Dhabi, Baghdad, and Cairo
Source: Your Middle East
The article chronicles the challenges that book vendors in Abu Dhabi, Baghdad, and Cairo face from rising distribution problems to an increase in the price of books, prompting them to create mobile libraries.

كيف تدمر "كتب الرصيف" سوق النشر في مصر؟
المصدر: رصيف22
بحسب الكاتب، تشكّل ظاهرة "كتب الرصيف" في مصر خطراً على دور النشر في البلد، مؤمنة جميع الكتب الموجودة في المكتبات المصرية بسعرٍ منخفضٍ و قابل للمفاوضة.يطالب الكثير من الكتّاب والناشرين الدولة أن " تتعامل مع الأمر بجدية وتقوم بحملات تفتيش، حتى لا تضر الصناعة ككل".

From Jadaliyya Media Roundups

Une femme agressée à bord d'un vol Air Algérie à cause d'un magazine de mode (Média)
Source: Jadaliyya Maghreb Roundup
A woman onboard an Air Algeria flight was verbally harassed by a fellow passenger for reading a fashion magazine, with the passenger calling her a “woman with bad morals.”

Libyan writer Hisham Matart wins 2017 Pulitzer Prize for his book The Return
Source: Jadaliyya Maghreb Media Roundup
Libyan writer Hisham Matart won a Pulitzer Prize for his book, "The Return," which is a memoir of his journey in search of answers behind his father’s abduction by Colonel Gaddafi twenty-two years ago.  

[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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