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Media on Media Roundup (March 8)

[Banksy [Banksy "Rat and Wall" at Al Quds University in Jerusalem. Photo by Peter Mulligan, Wikimedia Commons]

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup looks at several issues facing the MENA mediascape. The Iraqi army found Daesh’s media center hidden in an upscale Mosul neighborhood following their recapture of the city, where the group broadcast its Al-Bayan radio station.

Facebook shut down the page of Palestinian Fatah organization after they posted a picture of former leader Arafat holding a rifle. In Iran, several news outlets reacted positively to Asghar Farhadi’s second Oscar win, whilst hard-line media saw his win as politically motivated by Trump’s “Muslim ban.”

Also making headlines in Iran is former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s new Twitter account which he set up after being instrumental in the platform’s banning in the country. Graffiti artist Banksy, known for his political work, collaborated on a new project, a hotel, in the West Bank. “The Walled Off Hotel” in Bethlehem will also function as an art gallery displaying works about the occupation.

In other news, a new documentary titled “Mr. Gay Syria” looks at the lives of gay Syrian refugees living in Turkey and their means of coping through a beauty contest.

All these stories and more can be found below.

Media and Politics

Among villas in Iraq’s Mosul, Daesh media center
Source: Arab News (via AFP)
Daesh’s media center was discovered in an upscale Mosul neighborhood recaptured by Iraqi soldiers, where the group produced its adverts and broadcast its Al-Bayan radio station. The article notes the secrecy with which Daesh guarded its media, considered an essential part of the organization.

VIDEO: Israeli comedian slams "apartheid" state's treatment of Palestinians
Source: Middle East Eye
Israeli comedian Assaf Harel criticized the Israeli state for its discriminatory practices against Palestinians, highlighting stark differences in living standards within Israeli society as part of his late-night show “Good Night with Assaf Harel.” Harel’s monologue went viral and garnered support across social media platforms.

Iranian fleet defeats US fake sea battle
Source: The New Arab (via AFP)
A new Iranian animation film titled “Battle of the Persian Gulf II” imagines a battle at sea in response to an American attack. The film was released amid rising tensions caused by Trump’s “Muslim ban."

يوم لبناني طويل في الإعلام العبري: عندما «تكتشف» إسرائيل أن عون عدوّ
المصدر: الأخبار
كتبت عدّة صحف إسرائيلية عن إمكانية حرب مقبلة مع لبنان، مسلطة الضوء على "أزمة" حزب الله "المعنوية" و الموقف المعادي للرئيس اللبناني العماد ميشال عون من الحكومة الإسرائيلية. و يقول الكاتب أنّ ستراتيجية الصحف العبرية تهدف لتحصين وتعزيز ثقة الجمهور الإسرائيلي بجيشهم و حكومتهم.   

Media Industries

Snapchat enters the augmented reality market as it purchases Cimagine Media
Source: The Marshalltown
Snapchat recently acquired Israeli augmented reality company, Cimagine Media, in order to expand its development offices to the Middle East and benefit from Cimagine’s highly-skilled workforce.

New Beirut tech hub looks to the future
Source: The Daily Star
Antwork, a tech hub in Beirut, was inaugurated this January with the aim of providing start-up companies and independent creatives access to the space and administrative services they need. The co-founder of the space, Zina Bdeir Dajani, counts community-building as the backbone of the project.

Middle East e-commerce takes flight
Source: Business of Fashion
Louise Nichol examines the various e-commerce ventures springboarding from the UAE, focusing on The Modist, a website that carries over seventy brands which cater to women who prefer a modest style aesthetic.

All eyes on Dubai skyline for wonder ads
Source: The National
A British start-up, Lightvert Ltd., has patented a new advertisement display technology that temporarily prints an image directly onto the viewer’s retina. This idea of in-the-sky advertising will likely be implemented on Dubai’s skyline.

Zain and Viva launch Middle East VoLTE partnership with Huawei
Source: Capacity Media
Zain and Viva announced the launch of the first-ever Voice-Over LTE interconnection in the MENA region in partnership with Huwaei.  The infrastructure will allow direct VoLTE calls between Zain and Viva customers.

Freedom of Journalists/Expression

Facebook shuts page of Palestinian Fatah movement
Source: Your Middle East
Munir al-Jaghub, media officer in Palestinian Fatah movement, noted that the group’s Facebook page was shut down as a result of posting a photo of Arafat holding a rifle. Pro-Palestinian activists have previously accused Facebook of being biased with their community standard guidelines.

Saudi jails two over 2011 protests
Source: MEMO (Middle East Monitor)
Two Saudi citizens were sentenced to three and four years in jail for attempting to organize mass protests through social media in 2011.

Israel detaining journalists without charge or trial
Source: Electronic Intifada
Charlotte Silver highlights several cases of Palestinian journalists detained by the Israeli government on no charges and without trial. She also notes Israel’s continued practice of shutting down media outlets and restricting political speech on social media.

مخرج فيلم «إنشالله استفدت»: مشكلتي مع من يسنّ الرقابة
المصدر: حبر
مُنع الفيلم الأردني "إنشاللّه استفدت"- الذي يتناول موضوع الفساد و البيروقراطية في الأجهزة الحكومية -  من العرض لأسباب ارتبطت بـ«الإساءة لهيبة الدولة». قال مخرج الفيلم أنّ مشكلته الأساسية مع من يسنّ الرقابة، معبراً عن إحباطه بأن عمله المتواصل لعدّة سنوات لن يرى النور بسبب ما سمّاه "بالشيزوفرينيا بين المؤسسات" و بالخصوص هيئة المرئي والمسموع وهيئة الملكية للأفلام.   

النيابة المصرية تستدعي إبراهيم عيسى للتحقيق معه غداً
المصدر: العربي الجديد
استدعت النيابة المصرية الصحافي و الاعلامي إبراهيم عيسى في بلاغ قُدّم من قبل مجلس النواب الذي اتهم عيسى بالإهانة عن طريق صحيفة "المقال" التي يرأس تحريرها. وصفت الصحيفة المجلس بأنه "برلمان كرتون" وأن "جهاز الأمن الوطني هو من أتى بالنواب"، وأنهم "نواب لرئيس الجمهورية، وليس للشعب".

Social Media

Iran's Ahmadinejad joins Twitter despite ban
Source : The Daily Star (via AFP)
Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad joined Twitter this Sunday, with several users pointing to the irony of the situation given Ahmadinejad’s instrumental role in banning the social media platform from Iran.

How this UAE startup is helping big brands to dominate social media in the Middle East
Source: Forbes
Brndstr, a Dubai-based creative tech startup, is helping local and international companies grow and interact with users on social media platforms.

Uber vs Careem: Which is most talked about in the Middle East?
Source: Arabian Business
A social media analytics company reported that Dubai-based car booking app, Careem, is gaining traction over Uber because it is perceived as a local, home-grown brand.

Women in the Middle East: Between old challenges and new opportunities
Source: The World Weekly
The article addresses the challenges and opportunities that Middle Eastern women face following the Arab Spring uprisings, noting the important role that social media plays in allowing them to push for their rights.

Media Practices

Did the Oscars just prove that we are living in a computer simulation?
Source: New Yorker
Writer Adam Gopnik comments on the Oscar’s “Best Picture” mishap, noting its similarity to Election Night in the U.S. To explain what happened, Gopnik posits then critiques the notion that we are living in a computer simulation within which something has gone haywire. 

How Iran's hard-line media reacted to Oscar win
Source: Al Monitor
Moderate and Reformist Iranian outlets praised Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar win for his film, “The Salesman,” whilst hard-liners portrayed his win as undeserved and politically-motivated by Trump’s “Muslim ban.” Iran’s state TV ran the story without showing pictures of Anousheh Ansari, as her outfit was deemed inappropriate.

Media practices muddle objectivity
Source: Arab American News
Writer Julia Kassem notes that the dangers of reporting in Syria resulted in a dearth of on-the-ground, independent foreign journalists, which led to unclear, conflicting information and confusion surrounding the crisis.

Saudi Broadcasting Corporation official stresses importance of human values in media
Source: Arab News
An executive at the Saudi Broadcasting Company emphasized the importance of media reflecting humanistic values that serve Islamic and Arab values and help influence the youth positively.

Myriam Klink convoquée par le bureau de lutte contre les crimes cybernétiques
Source: L’Orient Le Jour
Lebanese pop singer Myriam Klink was convicted by the Ministry of Interior’s cybercrime bureau following a provactive music video she released.  The bureau banned the broadcast of the video on social media platforms with a fine of fifty million Lebanese pounds.

How much is an Instagram story worth?
Source: Bloomberg
Nikki Ekstein sits down with the founders of Instagram page “Beautiful Destinations” to discuss their monetizing strategies for posts and Instagram stories. The article notes that annual client contracts can range between fifty thousand dollars for photo projects to one million dollars for larger video campaigns.

أوبر تستخدم "برنامجا سريا" للتهرب من هيئات الرقابة
المصدر: BBC عربي
تستخدم شركة أوبر لسيارات الأجرة برنامج اسمه "غريبول"، صُمم من أجل حماية الشركة ضد هيئات رقابيّة و الذي يتيح لها استبعاد العملاء الذين يخالفون شروط الشركة.


Banksy decorates West Bank hotel with views of Israel's wall
Source: BBC
Banksy’s latest collaboration, “The Walled Off Hotel” in Bethlehem, is a hotel and art gallery that showcases works about the occupation by anonymous artists. The project is also a political statement, priding itself on having “the worst view in the world” overlooking the concrete wall surrounding the West Bank. 

Graphic novel illustrates life of Syrian refugees in Lebanon
Source: Al Monitor
French NGO Solidarites International launched a graphic novel project called “Meantime,” which includes five stories that detail the lives of Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s Akkar and Tripoli. The novel is illustrated by French, Lebanese, and Syrian artists.

A focus on female filmmakers at WOW Film Fair Middle East
Source: The National
In an attempt to address the gender imbalances in global filmmaking, the World of Women’s Film Fair in the Middle East will screen thirty-one short films by women in Vox cinemas across the UAE.

Vogue Arabia's first cover stars Gigi Hadid, sparks strong reactions
Source: Middle East Eye
Vogue Arabia’s first issue features model Gigi Hadid on the cover and several social media users expressed disappointment at the magazine’s choice of a non-Muslim model for its first Arabia cover.

"Racism, like a plastic bottle in the sea…"
Source: Qantara
Journalist Mohamed Amjahid explores the stereotype of the "lust-driven, primitive and dangerous 'Oriental'" in his new book, Among Whites. Amjahid writes about the obstacles he had to overcome and racism he faced as a German of Moroccan origins.

#Banned Literature: The Beauty School
Source: Ajam Media Collective
Ajam Media Collective published its first short story by Iranian-American author Siamak Vossoughi as part of its #Banned Literature project with Elsewhere Lit, bringing stories from the seven Muslim-majority countries targeted by Trump’s ban. The story offers a snippet of the lives of Iranian immigrants in America.

Baddest babes of Iran
Source: Art Rabbit
Writer Tara Aghdashloo focuses on five contemporary Iranian female artists who mix their cultural heritage with multi-disciplinary media and techniques. The article looks to move beyond  clichés on “women” and “Iran,” individually or together.

Exclusive premiere: Hip-hop artist Narcy confronts Steve Bannon and Muslim Bannin’ in auto-tune
Source: The Intercept
Iraqi-Canadian hip-hop artist Narcy released a new song in auto-tune entitled “Fake News,” which addresses the questions of refugees, immigration, Trump’s “Muslim ban” and discrimination faced by various religious and ethnic groups in the West.

Maroc : Fatima Tachtoukt, une « raïssa » du Souss à la conquête de l’international
Source: Jeune Afrique
Traditional Amazigh singer, Fatima Tachtoukt, whose songs in Berber celebrate culture and women, is looking to conquer European music scenes.


NEWTON: Marwan M. Kraidy, "The Naked Blogger of Cairo: Creative Insurgency in the Arab World"
Source: Jadaliyya
Marwan Kraidy discuss with Jadaliyya his new book, “The Naked Blogger of Cairo,” which looks at the main characters that moved the Arab uprisings along.

Mr Gay Syria: "A beauty contest in this crisis? It’s a way of surviving"
Source: The Guardian
Filmmaker Ayşe Toprak’s documentary “Mr. Gay Syria” presents the lives of homosexual Syrian refugees in Istanbul preparing for a beauty contest. The film shows how such an event becomes an essential survival strategy for the refugees.

اللّغة والسّلطة؛ العاميّات والفصحى: آفاق تطوّر العربيّة وتراجعها
المصدر: حبر
يتحدث الكاتب هشام البستاني عن أزمة اللغة العربية، مشيراً إلى دور السلطة والاستعمار والتباين ما بين الفصحى والعامية كأسباب رئيسيّة لها. يعرض الكاتب حلولاً لمحاربة تراجع اللغة العربية في عصرنا هذا، مشدّداً على دور الكتّاب والأدباء في نحت كلمات جديدة وإدخال مزيجاً من مصطلحات فصحى و عاميّة تستطيع إبقاء اللغة مرنة و حديثة.   

 From Jadaliyya Media Roundups

The case for reporting from Assad’s Syria
Source: Jadaliyya Syria Media Roundup
In this op-ed piece, Sam Heller makes a case for reporting from Assad’s Syria as a way to offer discursive analysis of what occurs in regime-held areas, rather than be faced with the alternative of a blank space.

Sun, Sand, Religious Police: Holidays in Saudi May Be Hard Sell
Source: Jadaliyya Arabian Peninsula Roundup
The article examines the difficulty of creating a desirable marketing campaign for tourists visiting Saudi Arabia, given the conservative religious codes the country abides by and the difficulty visitors face in obtaining visas.

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.


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