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Arab National Media and Politics
Research Seminar and Discussion
12/01/2017

Research Seminar and Discussion: Arab National Media and Politics
Research project between the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics and the Mohammed Bin Rashid School for Communication at AUD
 
The Mohammed Bin Rashid School for Communication (MBRSC) at the American University in Dubai (AUD) in collaboration with the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics (LSE) organized a special seminar: Arab National Media and Politics: Morocco and Algeria
 
This seminar featured the research reports that were conducted as part of a two-year grant project between the Middle East Center at LSE and the Mohammed Bin Rashid School for Communication at AUD.
 
Lead researcher Dr. Fatima el-Issawi (LSE), and Dr. Bradley Freeman (AUD), discussed findings related to their research papers, while professional journalist Sylvie Brand (AUD) acted in the role of discussant of these works. Sylvie has extensive experience as a field reporter and interviewer on politics, business and social events in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Cuba, as she worked for over a decade with Agence France-Presse (AFP) and as an independent reporter in all these regions.
 
The project examines the relationship between Arab traditional mass media and the political sphere within the remit of political change in the Arab world. Based on the international scholarly work on media and democratization, this project investigates the role played by Arab national media in the process of democratization of Arab political regimes. It looks also into the process of democratization of national mass media in its evolution to embrace free and professional media industries.
 
This research is timely, especially with traditional national media playing an active political role in Arab states under transition with a significant outbreak of new print and broadcast outlets post-uprisings. Although social media promoted citizen activism during the revolutions, national media played a crucial role in shaping the values, beliefs and identity of Arab audiences post-revolution.

Dr. Freeman began collaboration on this research project two years ago with the Middle East Center at LSE. In addition to the seminar with his co-researcher, the team will present their research in London this February as part of a seminar led by LSE entitled “National Media and Political Reforms: Dynamics of Change and Inertia”.
 
The seminar is aimed at discussing the findings of the project 'Arab National Media and Politics: Democracy Revisited', a collaborative project which took place between LSE and the American University in Dubai. The project looked at changes in the media landscape in traditional media industries in Morocco and Algeria in the aftermath of political reforms, and examined the complex interplay between national media and democratization in the special contexts of pro-democracy movements and political reforms introduced by regimes. Through qualitative interviews with journalists and media stakeholders and case studies, the project aimed to understand the formal and informal dynamics and structures that shape media practices and their implications on democratization processes, empowering democratic trends or inhibiting them.   


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