This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup looks at several important issues facing the MENA mediascape. Al-Jazeera examines how citizen journalists in Syria are countering regime narratives through the use of drone technology. The polarized nature of the Syrian war has left Arab Twitter users torn over the White Helmets’ recent Oscar win, with some showing support for the group whilst others condemned them as “self-serving terrorists.”
The Twitter-verse was also abuzz regarding a recent Nike advertisement that showcases Arab women in sport, with some users accusing it of flattening the heterogeneity of women’s lives in the region. Scott Roth and Phil Weiss of Mondoweiss criticized a New York Times article that recommends Palestinians leave the Occupied Territories voluntarily. In Algeria, an Amnesty International report criticized the government for its increased repression of journalists and activists opposing the regime.
On the cultural front, several Arab filmmakers were honored at this year’s Berlinale. Lebanese filmmaker Mary Jirmanus Saba won the prestigious FIPRESCI (the international film critics’ association) jury award for her documentary “Shuour Akbar Min al-Hob” (A Feeling Greater than Love).
All of these stories and more are available below in further detail.
Media and Politics
Struggle over Aleppo`s story takes to the skies
Citizen journalists in Syria use drone technology to challenge official narratives on the war, contributing to the struggle of framing the conflict in media outlets.
The Raqqa Diaries: Life under ISIS rule
Source: The Guardian
What began as a series of radio broadcasts turned into a book that details life under ISIS rule in Raqqa. The Guardian offers excerpts from 2013 and 2016, as well as a Q&A with the author regarding his views on ISIS, Assad, and the Trump "Muslim ban."
How Booking.com is aiding Israel’s war crimes
Source: Electronic Intifada
Mieke Zagt examines travel website Booking.com’s listings in Israel, noting that many of the hotels are located on illegal settlements in Palestinian territory. In doing so, Zagt states that the website is actively facilitating Israel’s war crimes.
State mechanisms of manipulation and persuasion
Source: Mada Masr
In this op-ed piece, writer Basma Abdel-Aziz examines the Egyptian state’s apparatuses of manipulation and persuasion that allowed Sisi to be elected into office, focusing on the roles the media and the military establishment played.
Bahrain: Angry protests burst after MoI, government media published photos of detained Bahraini women
Source: Bahrain Mirror
Protests broke out in Manama after the Ministry of Interior published photos of four detained Bahraini women accused of hiding fugitive terrorists. Religious authorities denounced this move, stating that it violated social customs.
Ahmadinejad backs Trump`s stance against political elites, media
Source: Tehran Times
In a letter to U.S. President Trump, former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad voiced his support for Trump’s resolute stand against Western media and his critical stance towards the U.S. political structure.
جماعة الحوثي تعلن نجاحها في تصنيع طائرات بدون طيار.. وهذه مواصفاتها
.أعلنت وكالة "سبأ" الخاضعة للحوثيين عن نجاحها في تصنيع طائرات بدون طيار و تسلط المقالة الضوء على مواصفات ومهام هذه الصناعات الحديثة
Mideast media agencies holding publishers’ fate in hands
Source: Arab News
The article examines the powerful role of media agencies in determining the success or failure of publishers as the focus shifts from print to digital. It calls for the adoption of a new strategy that includes improved data analytics, efficiency, and focus on client needs.
Call centers fail to make an impression with UAE consumers
Source: Gulf News
A marketing services consulting company advised businesses in the UAE to invest in digital platforms, call centers, and interaction points to raise low customer service satisfaction scores.
MENA digital video platform ALTV partners with Media Square
Source: Rapid TV News
Online video service platform ALTV aims to link creators across the MENA region sharing content in Arabic and has now partnered with Egyptian advertising agency, Media Square, to aid its monetization strategy.
Freedom of Journalists/Expression
Al-Qeq held in "grave-like" prison cell, lawyer says
Source: MEMO (Middle East Monitor)
Imprisoned Palestinian journalist Mohamed Al-Qeq, who has been on a two-week hunger strike, is being held in appalling Israeli prison conditions, according to his lawyer. Al-Qeq is held amid allegations of incitement on social media.
REVEALED: UK universities told to `manage` Palestine activism
Source: Middle East Eye
Higher education institutions in the U.K. are being advised to risk-assess and manage Palestinian activist organizations as they discuss topics deemed contentious and linked to terrorism.
Is Jordan`s state security court threat to freedom of expression
Source: Al Monitor
Former member of Jordanian parliament Wasfi al-Rawashdeh was arrested for a letter he published addressing the rampant corruption in the country, joining a long list of activists and journalists who were targeted by the Jordanian intelligence service.
Algeria arrests those ‘peacefully criticizing the government’, Amnesty
Source: MEMO (Middle East Monitor)
An Amnesty International report noted Algerian authorities’ increased repression of journalists and opposition activists, highlighting the case of journalist and blogger Mohamad Tamalt who was jailed for posting a poem about Bouteflika on Facebook.
Amnesty lists press freedoms among its concerns for Kurdistan in 2016
Source: Rudaw English
An Amnesty International report listed media and press freedoms as a concern for Kurdistan, following threats and harassment faced by activists critical of the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
Women in sports ad strikes nerve in Arab world
Source: Daily Star
A Nike advertisement looking at Arab women in sport went viral on various social media platforms, receiving mixed reviews from Arab viewers. Some lauded its address of the social issues female athletes face whilst others considered it a misrepresentation of Arab women.
Saudi sees backlash against first Comic-Con fest
Source: Your Middle East
The Twitter-verse buzzed with negative reactions to Saudi Arabia’s first Comic-Con festival, with hashtags “Muslim Qibla not for dancing" and "Comic-Con is the devil worshippers` party in Jeddah" trending on the social platform. Twitter users condemned the event for its promotion of Western values.
How vloggers, tweeters and `grammers are reshaping media in the Middle East
Vision addresses the changes in media consumption and production patterns in the U.A.E. as a result of social platforms like Twitter and Instagram, using the example of Dubai-based beauty blogger Huda Kattan.
It`s all about transparency, say social media influencers
Source: Arabian Business
Social media influencers attending ITP Group’s “Influencer Marketing Summit” noted that transparency and honesty are important characteristics for success on social media platforms.
مشاكل جنسية نسائية... حلولها فيسبوكية؟
تتحدّث الكاتبة نرمين سليمان عن مجموعات وصفحات نسائية أُنشأت على موقع فيسبوك و المخصصة لمناقشة عدّة مشاكل بما فيها المشاكل الجنسية. تقول سليمان أنّ على الرغم من التأثير الإيجابي لهذه الصفحات في تجاوز بعض القيود اجتماعية، تبتعد معظم الحلول المقترحة عن وقائع علميّة ممّا يؤدّي إلى ترسيخ وتعزيز نفس المعتقدات عن دور المرأة في المجتمع.
The media needs to remember that there`s more to the news than Donald Trump, like the battle for Mosul
Source: The Independent
Writer Will Gore states the importance for media outlets to focus on stories other than those concerning U.S. President Trump, such as the ongoing battle for Mosul.
New York Times runs Israeli’s op-ed recommending that Palestinians "emigrate voluntarily"
The article comments on a New York Times op-ed piece that suggests Palestinians voluntarily emigrate from the occupied territories, among others. The writers note the paucity of Palestinian voices published in the Times, labeling the op-ed as biased and accusing it of improper journalistic practice.
Why I believe that Qatar is being victimized by Western media
Source: Doha News
In this op-ed piece, author Shaikha Al Mudahka analyzes media coverage of the 2022 World Cup, set to take place in Qatar, and notes that the country is being mistreated by the press particularly with regards to its labor laws.
Historian Abby Smith Rumsey on how digital memory shapes the future
Historian Abby Smith Rumsey discusses her new book, “When We Are No More: How Digital Memory is Shaping Our Future,” in which she highlights how digital data practices shape collective memory and emphasizes the importance of effective digital record-keeping for human health and progress.
Le premier cybermort est pour bientôt
Source: L’Orient Le Jour
The article emphasizes the need for stricter measures to control wi-fi networks on various transportation channels, including airplanes, so as to avoid any cyber attacks and protect civilian lives [French].
جائزة للريادة النسائية في الصحافة
أعلنت منظمة «وان-إيفرا» السويدية عن فتح باب الترشيح لصحافيات مميزات في عملهن في الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا. تعرض المقالة شروط الترشح والتي تستلزم كون الصحافية تشغل منصباً تحريرياً، وتعمل في إحدى المؤسسات الصحافية في مصر وفلسطين، ولبنان، والأردن
The Salesman wins best foreign language Oscar
Source: The Guardian
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won the best foreign language Oscar for his film “The Salesman.” Farhadi, who boycotted the event in protest of Trump’s “Muslim ban,” had Iran’s first person in space, Anousheh Ansari, accept the award on his behalf.
Netflix`s "The White Helmets" takes home the company`s first Oscar win
“The White Helmets” took home the Oscar for Best Documentary Short, which also represented Netflix’s first Academy Award.
Selfless heroes or self-serving terrorists? Social media reacts to "White Helmets" Oscar win
Source: Al Bawaba
Twitter users in the Arab world expressed both support and opposition to the White Helmets’ recent Oscar win, with some accusing the group of staging their rescue missions.
I`m an Arab actor who`s been asked to audition for the role of terrorist more than thirty times. If La La Land cleans up at the Oscars, I`m done
Source: The Independent
Amrou Al-Kadhi discusses the racial profiling he experienced as an actor in Hollywood, noting the need for the cinema industry to challenge hegemonic politics and focus on marginalized identities.
In Berlin, politics trump art in Arab films
Source: Al Jazeera
The Arab film selection at the 67th Berlinale focused heavily on political issues like the Syrian War and the Palestinian cause. The author analyzes several of the prominent films at the festival while also criticizing the lack of Arab stories that deviate from the norm.
"The intellectuals don’t have the answers:" Lebanese documentary wins at Berlinale
Source: Mada Masr
The documentary “A Feeling Greater Than Love” by Lebanese director Mary Jirmanus Saba won the jury award at Berlinale. The film looks at two labor strikes as a way to address the collective failure of the left in Lebanon to mobilize. She was not the only Lebanese winner at the festival, as Karam Ghosseini also won the Audi Short Film award for his film “Street of Death.”
Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem wins wildly popular "Arab Idol" song contest
Source: Washington Post
Yacoub Shaheen, a Palestinian Assyrian from Bethlehem, won this year’s “Arab Idol” competition. Shaheen is the second Palestinian to earn the coveted title, following in the footsteps of fellow countrymen Mohammed Assaf, who won the contest in 2013.
Yemen Revealed: Best Books to Understand a Complicated Nation
Source: Signature Reads
Keith Rice offers a list of Yemeni authors, whose works were translated into English, as a window to understanding the country’s culture and history.
Oh! You Pretty Things
Source: Reorient Magazine
Reorient Magazine sits down with Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan to discuss her new album, Al Jamilat, which the artist states is an exploration of the mutations the Arab world is undergoing.
Forgotten film shows emirates before UAE
Source: The National
A reel of black-and-white film from 1958, considered among the U.A.E’s first documentaries, was found in London’s Imperial War Museum. The production is described as a public relations campaign to counter pan-Arab discourses of the time that painted Britain in a negative light.
A short film: “Moving Through Iran”
Source: Ajam Media Collective
“Moving through Iran” is a short film by Ali Arjoo-Ravary and Navjot Kanda that travels across various cities in Iran, capturing rural, urban, historic, and residential neighborhoods in the country.
Nine stunning photos of the newly opened National Museum of Egyptian civilization
The article showcases several photos of the newly opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, located in the ancient city of Fustat.
Gay, trans and illegal in Lebanon - BBC Pop Up
Source: BBC Pop Up
This short documentary looks at the social, cultural, and legal challenges and opportunities that members of the LGBTQ community in Lebanon face.
From Jadaliyya Media Roundups
Mideast top defense fair highlights innovation in new era
Source: Jadaliyya Arabian Peninsula Roundup
The biennial International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi focused on disruptive technologies and the various ways in which digital technology is changing global warfare.
Egypt court sentences journalist to six months in prison
Source: Jadaliyya Egypt Media Roundup
Egyptian journalist and former legal adviser to the dissolved Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party Ahmed al-Zend was sentenced to six months in prison on charges of defamation, following an article he published in al-Gomhoreya newspaper criticizing the former minister of justice.
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.