This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup discusses several important stories affecting the MENA mediascape. According to CNN and CBS, the recent “electronics ban” by the Trump administration was largely prompted by intel that al-Qaida and ISIS militants are developing ways to plant explosives in electronic devices. VICE Media are looking to expand their website and digital channel to the Middle East, aiming to open approximately fifty new staff positions in Dubai.
Suppression of free speech persists, as Lebanese citizen Ahmad Amhaz faces trial following his publication of a Facebook post deemed offensive to members of government and Egyptian author Ahmad Naji awaits the court’s decision on whether he will be cleared to write again, sharing an excerpt from his work in prison. An Al Jazeera feature on the destabilizing politics of El-Sisi’s regime argues that the Egyptian president and his government are using "alternative facts" to cover humanitarian injustices they commit.
On the cultural front, a 1915 feminist novel by Taha Hussein was discovered by Egypt’s National Library and Archives, discussing women’s rights to work and education. And in other news, a Kuwaiti woman was detained by Kuwaiti authorities following a video she recorded and released on social media of her maid’s attempted suicide.
All these stories and more can be found below.
Media and Politics
Germany opens spying probe into Turkish religious agency
Source: Middle East Online
Germany is investigating the actions of a senior member of a Turkish governmental religious organization that is allegedly asking members to spy on followers of Fethullah Gulen. The article notes the presence of tensions between the two countries that are centered on humans rights issues.
US Media: terrorist groups testing laptop bombs
Source: Voice of America
According to CNN and CBS, US intelligence officials believe militants with al-Qaida and ISIS are developing new ways to plant explosives in electronic devices. The article notes that this intel played a chief role in Trump’s recent “electronics ban.”
Multi-lingual media project aimed at refugees
Source: Biz Community
“Infomigrants,” an online media collaboration between France Médias Monde, Italian news agency ANSA, and Deutsche Welle aims to provide people fleeing Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East with information on the expectations of the European asylum process.
VICE Media takes its edgy journalism to the Middle East
VICE Media will launch a website and digital channel catered to the Middle East youth, aiming for approximately fifty staff positions in Dubai by the end of the year. The article notes that VICE is likely to run into several obstacles given the constraints MENA journalists face.
MIPTV: Middle East indie Front Row unveils first TV project
Source: Hollywood Reporter
Middle Eastern distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment and the Kuwait National Cinema Company are producing their first local TV venture, an Egyptian comedy series called “Tough Luck,” set to air this Ramadan. According to the article, the collaboration goes against the grain of the region’s TV landscape, where major companies like MBC dominate output.
Facebook`s copy of Snapchat stories is a reminder of a Silicon Valley hard truth
Source: Yahoo Finance
Writer Ethan Wolff-Mann notes that Facebook’s recent “stories” feature, a copy of Snapchat and Instagram stories, reflects Silicon Valley’s privileging of profit over innovation. He also states that a future “features arms race” between the different platforms will determine their popularity.
Freedom of Journalists/Expression
Freedom of expression? Another Lebanese myth
Source: Middle East Eye
Writer Kareem Chehayeb comments on the recent arrest of Lebanese citizen Ahmad Amhaz following a Facebook post in which he compared the prime minister, president, and speaker of parliament to animals. Chehayeb notes that Amhaz’s arrest reflects Lebanon’s outdated laws and increased repression on freedom of expression.
Ahmed Naji on his wait to hear if Egyptian court will clear him to write again
Source: The Guardian
The article presents an excerpt of author Tony White’s interview with Egyptian writer Ahmad Naji, who was sentenced to two years in prison for “violating public modesty” following the publication of an excerpt from his novel, Using Life in Cairo. In the excerpt, Naji discusses the challenges of writing from prison.
Prominent American journalist in Syria on US "kill list"
Source: Middle East Monitor
Human rights group “Reprieve” has filed a lawsuit against US President Trump on behalf of American journalist Bilal Abdul Karim and former Al Jazeera bureau chief Ahmad Zaidan, for placing them on an alleged US “Kill List.” According to the article, the two men are being targeted for death as a result of the list.
Ten years for a Tweet: UAE jails academic for criticising Egypt
Source: Middle East Eye
Emirati human rights activist Nasser bin Ghaith was sentenced to ten years in prison by the Federal Appeal Court in Abu Dhabi for his allegedly “offensive” online posts. According to the article, Ghaith is being detained in a secret location without access to his lawyer.
Iranian faces execution for disparaging Prophet Mohammad on social media
Source: Sputnik News
Sina Dehghan, a twenty-one-year-old Iranian citizen faces the death penalty for a social media comment that allegedly insulted Islam and the Prophet. According to the article, Iranians on social media have called for the lessening of Dheghan’s sentence given little hope of the government retracting it.
AFP photographer detained in east Libya
Source: The Daily Star
AFP photographer Abdullah Doma was detained in Libya’s Benghazi and is allegedly being questioned over his photographic coverage of a public concert, deemed offensive to Islam, held at Benghazi university.
Kuwaiti held for recording maid`s fall
Source: The Straits Times
Kuwaiti police have detained a woman for filming a video of her Ethiopian maid’s attempted suicide then posting it on social media. The Kuwaiti Society for Human Rights called on authorities to further investigate the case.
Sudan-Egypt spat: My pyramids are bigger than yours
Source: The New Arab
Sudanese social media platforms criticized Egyptian media’s negative reactions to Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser’s, mother of the current Emir of Qatar, recent visit to the Sudanese Pyramids of Marowe. According to the article, racially charged reactions from media representatives in both countries reflected deeper sociocultural and political divides between both countries.
How El-Sisi is destabilizing Egypt
Source: Al Jazeera
In this feature, writer Amr Hamzawy notes that Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s authoritarian regime is using "alternative facts" to worsen societal divisions. Hamzawy points to the targeting of student protests and detention of journalists as two examples.
Why has trust in media collapsed? Look at actions of WSJ, Yahoo, Business Insider and Slate.
Source: The Intercept
Glenn Greenwald states that trust in established media is collapsing as a result of particular practices. He comments on several news outlets’ allegedly erroneous coverage of Edward Snowden’s time in Hong Kong in 2013, highlighting their journalistic responsibility to acknowledge such false reporting.
Bibi Netanyahu takes on the media
Source: The Economist
The article notes that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked on a campaign against the country’s new public broadcasting corporation, despite extolling the virtues of free press abroad. The writer also predicts that Netanyahu’s campaign for the next election will involve media-bashing.
The Iranian media’s interest in Palestine has declined
Source: Middle East Monitor
In this opinion piece, Adnan Abu Amer discusses the alleged decline in Iranian media’s interest in Palestine following funding cuts to Iranian-run media outlets in the Occupied Territories. Abu Amer notes that while public slogans of support for Palestinians are heard, Iran’s priorities seem to have shifted to Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon.
تحديات الإعلام في بيروت العربية: فرصة للشباب
تتناول المقالة مؤتمر للجامعة العربية في بيروت بعنوان «الإعلام: الواقع والتحديات» و الذي استقطب باحثين وأساتذة جامعيين من عدة بلدان عربية. أتاح المؤتمر فرصة للكثير من الباحثين الشباب لتقدمة أبحاثهم وسط مجموعة من الطلاب والباحثين ذوي الخبرة.
Taha Hussein’s long-lost feminist novel from 1915 has just been discovered
A novel titled “The Preacher’s Sermon” by influential Egyptian writer Taha Hussein was discovered by Egypt`s National Library and Archives. The novel, first published in 1915, talks about women`s rights to education, thought, life, and marriage, and argues against prohibiting women from work.
Littérature marocaine : dans « Le Fou du roi » de Mahi Binebine, une écriture souveraine
Source: Jeune Afrique
Moroccan writer and painter Mahi Binebine published a new book inspired by his father’s life titled “King’s Fool,” which looks at court life under the reign of Hassan II.
"Jerusalem" on Gaza TV set is as close as many Palestinians will get to real thing
A new series titled “Heaven’s Gate” started filming in Gaza, recreating Jerusalem’s Old City on a five-acre set. According to the article, many young Palestinians feel that the set is the closest they will get to the real Jerusalem, given the many restrictions the Israeli government enforces.
Blame it on Mehmet
Writer Ezgi Üstündağ interviews Turkish popstar Mehmet Erdem on his success story and the multiple geographical influences found in his music.
عن زمن "قارئات القرآن" في مصر، قبل فتاوى "صوت المرأة عورة"
يتحدث الكاتب حسام مصطفى إبراهيم عن تاريخ قارئات القرآن في مصر، مسلطاً الضوء على النساء اللاتي عرفن الشهرة. يقول إبراهيم أنّ حجة "صوت المرأة عورة" كانت الأبرز للتضييق على المرأة و منعها من تلاوة القرآن في الفضاء العام و الإذاعة المصرية.
كيف اختلف مهرجان الأفلام السعودية هذا العام؟
تتحدث الكاتبة منال الزهراني عن الدورة الرابعة لمهرجان الأفلام السعودية هذه السنة، مشدّدة على كيفية اختلافه عن الأعوام التي مضت. من أبرز التغييرات عرض الأفلام المشاركة في باقي مدن المملكة و تحويل المهرجان إلى مؤسسة استثمارية للأفلام لصالح صندوق الاستثمار السعودي.
From Jadaliyya Media Roundups
UK activists call for end to Saudi war on Yemen
Source: Jadaliyya Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup
Activists marched outside the BBC building to protest mainstream media’s reporting of the conflict, carrying signs like “Hands Off Yemen” and “End Yemen Siege.”
Space of Refuge
Source: Jadaliyya Cities Media Roundup
Researcher Samar Maqusi exhibits her work on the spatial production and evolution of Palestinian refugee camps since the 1940s at London’s P21 gallery.
[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.]