In an entertaining and insightful read, Deepa Anagondahalli and Sahar Khamis delve into the world of Egyptian political humor, unpacking its historical roots and reflecting on its evolution from private banter to public resistance. Focusing on Mubarak’s presidency and subsequent ouster, the authors identify a stark shift from long narrative jokes, to the biting “weaponized” one-liners that emerged in his final days. Humor, they conclude, is a paradoxical yet powerful tool for activism, which despite more recent crackdowns has proven to be a relatively safe platform for dissent.
Amy Kallander delves into the world of Tunisia’s educated and upper-middle class bloggers to reveal a more nuanced picture of their role in the Tunisian revolution. Reviewing the country’s unique history of Internet activism and government censorship, she finds that their impact was not only more limited than western media accounts claimed, but in many ways, more interesting.
In one of the first studies of Egypt’s Rassd News Network (RNN), Yomna Elsayed explores how this Facebook-based citizen journalism network became the most influential news source during the revolution. Placing RNN in the context of alternative media launched on social networks, she explores the reasons for its success as well as the challenges that it faces.
Job Satisfaction and Editorial Freedom at Al-Arabiya: Finding the Balance while Covering Volatile Middle East News
In the first survey of its kind, Mohammed el-Nawawy and Catherine Strong study job satisfaction among journalists working for Al-Arabiya TV. They explore how the channel’s Saudi ownership and coverage of the Arab uprisings shape perceptions of editorial freedom, job security and job satisfaction, pointing to a new understanding of journalism values among news workers at pan-Arab satellite channels.
Beyond Egypt’s “Facebook Revolution” and Syria’s “YouTube Uprising:” Comparing Political Contexts, Actors and Communication Strategies
Sahar Khamis, Paul B. Gold and Katherine Vaughn compare and contrast the role of social media in the Egyptian and Syrian uprisings, providing a comprehensive review of the tactics used by both activists and regimes. The ability of new technologies to effect political change, they argue, is determined by pre-existing social, political and communication structures.
Dr Ramy Aly argues that Egypt's revolutionary moment is a golden opportunity to abandon old media practices that deprived many sectors of society of a media voice and privileged a narrow and elitist concept of what it means to be Egyptian.
William Youmans analyzes the debate in Burlington, Vermont, over whether the local cable TV company should or should not carry Al Jazeera English. He concludes that Burlington was a special case, rather than the harbinger of a breakthrough into the US market for AJE.
Cyberactivism in the Egyptian Revolution: How Civic Engagement and Citizen Journalism Tilted the Balance
Dr Sahar Khamis and Katherine Vaughn give a comprehensive overview of the role of new media in the overthrow of Mubarak and wonders whether the same tools will enable activists to keep up the pressure for change during what could a lengthy transitional period.
Dr Sahar Khamis goes back to Kafr Masoud in the Nile Delta after ten years and notes the effects of exposure to satellite television channels, the Internet and mobile phones, with particular attention to how they have changed the lives and perceptions of rural women.
David Faris looks at the role bloggers played in the campaign to enable Egypt's tiny Baha'i minority to obtain identity cards without identifying themselves as Muslims or Christians. He traces the links between a handful of Baha'i bloggers, a wider circle of sympathetic activist bloggers and some key people in the mainstream media. He concludes that the sustained online attention which the plight of Baha’is appears to have won in the end made it difficult for the Egyptian government to countenance the continued violation of Baha’i rights.
Tales of 9/11 - What conspiracy theories in Egypt and the United States tell us about ‘media effects’
Stephen Marmura tries to explain the persistence of mistaken beliefs about 9/11 and about the rationale for invading Iraq among the US and Egyptian publics, concluding that memories and long-term discourses sometimes outweigh short-term media effects.
Maurice Chammah analyzes the thinking behind the Islam-oriented music television channel 4Shbab, noting contradictions in its vision of the interaction between Islam and the West. He looks at the audience which 4Shbab assumes already exists and the audience which it hopes to create, and discusses Western media reactions to the project.
Yasmin Moll writes on visual aspects of the phenomenon of Islamic televangelism, arguing that: “a consideration of contemporary media practices in Islam invites us to expand our definition of what the visual might be and what acts of seeing might entail.”
As the voice of the Hizbullah, you might expect al Manar to present a grim and gritty image, reflecting the Islamic organization that has upended Lebanon’s politics. But that’s not the case and the twist is fascinating, as Anne Marie Baylouny explains.
Absent participatory government, the film industry became a key political battleground in the late French empire. Historian Elizabeth F. Thompson compares struggles for control of the cinema in late colonial Fez and Damascus.
Jennifer Peterson tracks how traditional Sufi poetry is mixed and remixed into contemporary dance music heard widely on the streets of Cairo. Features video and audio examples.