This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup covers several important topics affecting the MENA mediascape. A terror attack in London prompted the British government to ask that its security services be granted access to encrypted applications like Whatsapp, thought to be essential for planning the assault. In other news, Forbes Middle East comments on a British and US-issued electronics ban that prohibits the use of laptops and tablets on board direct flights from several Middle Eastern airports. Meanwhile, in Lebanon, journalist Maria Maalouf is set to be questioned by the Lebanese judiciary following a set of tweets about Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah deemed controversial. Human rights activists are expressing concern over the United States` proposed increased social media vetting of potential visa applicants, noting that such practices may expand the scope of Trump’s “Muslim ban.”
On the cultural front, Banksy’s “Walled Off” Hotel in Bethlehem, Palestine--now operational as a regular hotel-- received criticism for allegedly undermining Palestinians’ efforts to narrate their own story.
All these articles and more can be found below.
Media and Politics
World watches as London "stabbed in heart"
The article offers an overview of various international news outlets’ coverage of the London attacks, noting that some Middle Eastern newspapers debated the UK’s consequent counterterrorism strategies, whilst others condemned the attacks.
WhatsApp encryption: UK wants access after London attack
Source: Middle East Eye
Following the Westminster attack in London this Wednesday, the British government stated that its security services should have access to encrypted applications like Whatsapp, as it is believed the service was used before the assault.
AUB unwittingly violated US sanctions
Source: The Daily Star
The American University of Beirut settled a civil lawsuit with the U.S. federal court after being accused of assisting three organizations linked to Hezbollah, including Al Nour Radio and Al-Manar TV.
Rise of cybersecurity insurance in Middle East
Source: Gulf News
According to the article, companies across the MENA region are taking out cyber insurance policies against increasing risks of cyber attacks.
Israeli soldiers install surveillance cameras in West Bank villages
Source: International Middle East Media Center
The Israeli government has installed surveillance cameras in several West Bank villages, marking the first time that these devices are installed within the villages and not only on main roads and junctions.
Airlines in the Middle East are coping with yet another U.S. ban
Source: Forbes Middle East
Several GCC and Middle East airlines were affected by a new US ban that prohibits all electronic devices larger than cellphones on-board direct flights from ten Middle Eastern airports. The article notes that some of these airlines used this ban as an opportunity to highlight their in-flight entertainment systems.
Passengers react to ban on carry-on electronics on flights from the Middle East
Source: LA Times
Nabih Bulos speaks to frequent travelers to and from the US as well as representatives from Middle Eastern airline companies regarding the carry-on “electronics ban.” According to the article, the ban is seen as imprecise, painting the region as a constant threat, and harming the airline companies affected.
No laptop? Try talking: Arab airlines have the answer to electronics ban
Source: Middle East Eye
Middle East Eye compiles Tweets from Arab airlines affected by the US and UK “electronics ban,” stating that they ridiculed and mocked the decision.
Should the Middle East impose a laptop ban on US and UK flights bound for the region?
Source: Middle East Monitor
In this opinion piece, writer Thembisa Fakude discusses potential responses to the US and UK “electronics ban,” noting that Middle Eastern airlines and governments could reciprocate the ban in protest.
"حل بديل" من طيران الإمارات بعد حظر الكمبيوترات
أعلنت شركة طيران الإمارات عن حل بديل للحظر الإلكتروني الذي أصدرته الولايات المتحدة، ممكنة المسافرون إلى الولايات المتحدة عبر دبي من استخدام كمبيوتراتهم المحمولة خلال القطاع الأول من رحلاتهم وصولاً إلى دبي.
Amazon to buy Middle Eastern online retailer Souq.com
Amazon.com Inc has allegedly agreed to purchase Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com, which claims to be the largest e-commerce website in the Arab world. According to Reuters, the deal will be large for Amazon, giving it a foothold in the region.
Dubai-based social media firm buys messaging app
Source: Arabian Business
Mara Social Media, a Dubai-based firm, purchased messaging app Nimbuzz. According to the article, the social media company hopes the acquisition will give it a strong foundation in emerging markets.
Books, copyright laws and the economy
Source: Mada Masr
Writer Waad Ahmed examines the obstacles Egyptian book publishers face, noting piracy as a chief concern that she says is a reflection of deeper economic problems. Ahmed also states that attempts to fight piracy have been largely focused on Arabic books, as English books are seen as too expensive for students following the Egyptian pound’s devaluation.
Freedom of Journalists/Expression
To speak the truth is a responsibility, not a crime
Source: Jordan Times
In this op-ed piece, journalist Rami Khouri emphasizes the need to privilege stories of ordinary men and women fighting repressive power elites in the Middle East in mainstream public spheres as a means to maintain a “wholesome” society.
Judiciary to question journalist after controversial anti-Nasrallah tweets
Source: The Daily Star
Lebanese TV presenter and journalist Maria Maalouf was summoned by Lebanon’s Judiciary after posting Tweets calling on Israel to assassinate Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah. According to the article, Maalouf is set to be questioned by the Central Criminal Investigations Bureau on Tuesday, 28 March.
Under pressure UK universities cancel Richard Falk event
Source: Middle East Monitor
Two British universities canceled events planned for the launch of Richard Falk’s book, “Palestine’s Horizon.” Although logistical reasons were cited as the main cause for cancellation; the article notes that Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, a self-proclaimed volunteer-led charity, intervened.
الرقابة اكثر تشدداً في الدورة9 من أيام بيروت السينمائية
يدين بيانا صادرا عن إدارة مهرجان «أيام بيروت السينمائية» الأعمال الرقابية التي طالت الكثير من الأفلام المشاركة في الدورة 9 من المهرجان. و تقول إدارة «أيام بيروت السينمائية» أنّ الرقيب كان "أكثر تشدداً" من أي دورة مضت، مما يوحي أنّ الفضاء السينمائي "يتجه من السيئ إلى الأسوأ".
النقابة تقمع المحامين مقدّمي الإخبارات؟
طلب نقيب المحامين في لبنان من جميع المحامين الذين ينشرون صورهم الشخصية عبر صفحات التواصل الاجتماعي تحت عناوين ممارسة قضايا الشأن العام من سحبهم فوراً و بحسب إجراءات تأديبية جديدة. بحسب المقال، سجّل الكثير من المحامين ملاحظاتهم في هذا الشأن، موضحين أن تعميم النقيب مخالف للنظام الداخلي للنقابة، إذ صدر عن النقيب وليس عن مجلس النقابة
هيومن رايتس تطالب الأردن بمنع دخول البشير أو توقيفه
تطالب المنظمة العالمية لحقوق الإنسان «هيومن رايتس واتش» السلطات الأردنية بمنع دخول الرئيس السوداني عمر البشير إلى أراضيها، مشددّة على أنّه مطلوباً من المحكمة الجنائية الدولية برسم مذكرتي توقيف.
Woman photographed in hijab on Westminster Bridge responds to online abuse
Source: The Guardian
A veiled Muslim woman photographed on Westminster Bridge following the London terror attack became the subject of social media hate, with her image circulated on anti-Islam blogs citing her faith as a reason for her seeming lack of concern.
Activists worry that social media vetting of visa applicants could quietly expand Trump’s Muslim Ban
Source: The Intercept
According to the article, human rights activists are expressing concern that a new US State Department’s directive requiring increased social media vetting of visa applicants will expand Trump’s “Muslim ban” and bar people with certain political viewpoints from entering the country.
Israel policeman suspended after caught on video beating Palestinian
Source: Middle East Online
An Israeli police officer was suspended from duty after a video of him beating a Palestinian truck driver in Jerusalem was widely circulated on social media platforms. The article notes that Israeli public security minister, Gilad Erdan, condemned the attack on his Twitter account.
Governments "must use social media to reach youth"
Source: Middle East Association
A panel at the International Government Communications Forum in Sharjah discussed the role of social media in helping governments better communicate with citizens, with the article noting that panelists stressed the importance of governments using social media platforms to reach youth.
Instagram bursts with mockery of Syrian first lady’s ‘Mother`s Day’ congratulations
Source: Arab News
Instagram and Facebook accounts of the Syrian presidency celebrated Arab Mother’s Day by naming Syrian first lady, Asmaa Al-Assad, the “Mother of the Nation.” According to the article, social media platforms were abuzz with derisive comments accusing her of overseeing the murder of her fellow countrymen.
The Rise of the Hard Left
Writer Kyle Chayka discusses the rise of the “alt-left” press in the wake of Trump’s presidency and interviews editor-in-chief of Current Affairs, Nathan Robinson, who notes that left-leaning media needs to present itself in a charismatic manner to gain traction and “win elections.”
Western media appear blind to atrocities in Mosul
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
In this commentary piece, writer Paul Malone critiques Western (namely Australian) media’s silence on the battle over Mosul and the Australian government’s role in the attack, calling for greater transparency.
L’Algérie lance une campagne de promotion dans le Washington Post
Source: Tout sur l’Algerie
According to writer Sarah Smail, a group of private and public Algerian enterprises financed a recent spread in the Washington Post that aimed at boosting the country’s image internationally, showcasing it in a positive light for future investors.
Banksy’s hotel undermines Palestinian efforts to narrate their own history
Writer Leila Abdelraziq states that one of the main shortcomings of Banksy’s “Walled Off” hotel in Bethlehem is its failure to privilege Palestinian narratives and histories while using Palestinian land to advance Banksy’s personal analysis of the occupation.
Israeli bombs from the view of a Gaza ambulance crew
Source: Electronic Intifada
In his new documentary, “Ambulance,” Palestinian filmmaker Mohamed Jabaly follows a crew of paramedics during Israel’s 2014 bombardment of Gaza. According to the article, Jabaly’s desire to bring better understanding of what happened during the assault prompted him to make the film.
The Unlikely Story Behind a Palestinian Hip-Hop Film From Israel
Source: New York Times
John Anderson discusses "Junction 48," a film starring Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar, and looks at Arab life in Israel. Anderson notes that the film can be categorized as a resistance film, which is one reason why it received mixed reviews in Israel.
Lebanon`s Jews are often forgotten, this documentary sheds light on the community
Stepfeed interviews Lebanese director Rola Khayyat about her new documentary, “From Brooklyn to Beirut,” which looks at Lebanon’s Jewish diaspora.
Maryam Şahinyan: The first female photographer of Turkey
Source: Vintage Everyday
The article offers a brief look at the life of Maryam Şahinyan, the first Turkish female photographer, accompanied by a selection of images she produced at her studio in Sivas, Turkey.
Book Review: "Iraq + 100" is weird, woeful and wonderful
Muftah reviews “Iraq+100: Stories From a Century After the Invasion,” a collection of ten sci-fi stories that imagine Iraq’s future one hundred years after the American and British-led invasion.
"مهرجان السليمانية": أيام للمسرح الكردي
المصدر: العربي الجديد
سينطلق اليوم مهرجاناً للنصوص المسرحية الكردية في مدينة السليمانية العراقية بالتعاون مع "اتحاد الفنانين الكرد" و "مديرية المسارح". بحسب المقالة، يهدف الحدث لتشجيع الفن المسرحي الكردي الذي كان نشيطاً في الثمانينات.
قصة مصوّرة: حكاية علياء الحرازي، اليمنية التي تسلقت قمة كليمنجارو
تسرد المقالة حكاية علياء الحرازي، اليمنية التي تسلقت قمة كليمنجارو بهدف جمع تبرعات لصالح جمعية خيرية، من خلال قصة مصورة. أرادت الحرازي، بحسب المقال، تسليط الضوء على ما يحصل في اليمن، إرسال رسالة سلام "رمزية" في ظل الحرب المستمرة، و تشجيع النساء العربيات بالإجمال و اليمنيات بالأخص على تبنّي دورهنّ الريادي في المجتمع.
From Jadaliyya Media Roundups
NYPD arrives at new settlement in Muslim surveillance case
Source: Jadaliyya “Critical Currents in Islam” Roundup
The NYPD agreed to the terms of a new settlement regarding its surveillance of Muslims, which include a civilian representative that acts as a check against unwarranted surveillance practices.
Des députés algériens veulent une loi contre les femmes qui s’habillent de façon “provocante”
Source: Jadaliyya “Maghreb” Roundup
The Algerian parliament held a surprising debate discussing the punishability of females based on the “provocativeness” of their sartorial choices.
[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.]