Lecture to focus on status of Arab media

February 13, 2013

A media expert will this month explain how the Arab media could be in danger of losing its voice, months after regaining it following political changes.

Fatima Al Essawi, a research fellow at Polis, the journalism and society think tank in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics, is scheduled to give a talk, Arab Transitional Media: Finally Free, on February 19 in the Bahrain capital Manama.

“National mainstream Arab media regained its voice under the political transition,” a statement said. “Used for decades as a mouthpiece for various regimes, main-stream media — traditionally mistrusted by national audiences — could finally play its customary role as a provider of information and diverse opinions beyond the regime’s restrictions.”

However, the “poor professional skills within this sector as well as the fierce battle between new rulers and opposition for its control are transforming it once again into a propaganda tool,” it said.

“The reconstruction process of this media sector is facing major challenges, among them the vacuum on adequate media regulation and self-regulatory frameworks, the long-standing problems of state media, the lack of security and abuses against journalists by new authorities,” it said.

The talk is based on extensive field investigation on practices and values of transitional, traditional media in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya within the remit of the project, Arab Revolutions: Media Revolutions, the statement by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the organisers, said.

A report published by Tunisian daily Al Sabah on Wednesday said that 50 local media people, 36 men and 14 women, were subject to violations in January.

The victims worked for private and public radio stations, newspapers, television channels and electronic websites, the report by the Tunisian Centre for Press Freedom said.

Al Essawi is leading the research project on Arab Revolutions: Media Revolutions, which looks at the transformations in the Arab media industry under the transitional political phases within the current uprisings.

According to her biography, she has more than 15 years experience in covering the Middle East for international media outlets and works as an independent journalist, analyst, and trainer in the Arab world.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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