For my final four classes in international communication law at Kennesaw State University, I’m assigning readings and videos for the students. If you’d like to follow along, here are the assignments:
- NY Times public editor
- Barrett Brown
- Does the US press side too much with the government? Defend your answer.
- Here are some questions on the readings.
- English legal system: “The World of English Freedoms”
- Amartya Sen: Press freedom and civil society
- NPR story on “Innocence of Muslims.”
- Video: Hamza Yusuf discussing free speech and the right to offend.
- How does Yusuf’s talk compare/contrast with the readings?
- Questions to answer before coming to class.
These are my slides from the AUSACE conference I’m attending in Tangier, Morocco. It’s a summary of my Jadiliyya article on the subject.
Emirati charged with spreading ‘false news’ released
A few tweets about the news that Abdalla al Hadid has served his sentence for tweeting updates about the sedition trial in the United Arab Emirates.
Did you find this story interesting? Be the first to
like or comment.
Tangier, Morocco — Three journalism professors will offer tips on integrating “Social Media in the Newsroom” during a three-hour workshop in Tangier, Morocco on Nov. 14.
The presentation will focus on real-world applications and demonstrate how the top media outlets are incorporating relevant social media features.
Examples will include Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and lesser-known social media tools such as Ushahidi crowd-sourced maps.
“The social media landscape is changing,” Marty Steffans, a professor at University of Missouri, said. “We’ll tell you want you need to know about social media news gathering and news promotion, and what you’ll need to know in the year ahead.”
Steffans will be presenting the workshop along with Kim Fox of the American University of Cairo and Matt Duffy of Kennesaw State University. The workshop will serve both practicing news media professionals and university professors interested in keeping up with the latest social media usage.
AUSACE, the Arab-U.S. Association for Communication Educators, is an academic group dedicated to improving journalism instruction in the Middle East and in the United States.
The new issue of the Journal of Middle East Media features my peer-reviewed article: “‘Cultures of Journalism’ in Arabic- and English-language Newspapers within the United Arab Emirates.” The study examined news coverage in the English-language newspaper The National and the Arabic-language Al Ittihad. It finds that journalism differs greatly between Arabic and English content. Here’s the abstract:
This article examines the “cultures of journalism” at two newspapers in the United Arab Emirates, the Arabic-language Al Ittihad and English-language The National. Founded in 2008, the latter newspaper promised to bring Western-style journalism to the Middle East, so the analysis helps to examine whether it reached this goal. The author and an Arab-language researcher used a “frame analysis” to examine a sample month of coverage (April 2011) during the “Arab Spring.” The researchers looked for examples of four main concepts based on Kovach and Rosenthiel’s Principles of Journalism: Verification and commitment to truth-telling, holding those in power accountable, providing a space for public criticism and compromise, and comprehensive and proportional reporting. The analysis found that the English-language paper covered the news according to those principles far more than the Arabic-language outlet. But The National deviated from these principles when covering “sensitive” subjects such as actions taken by the nation’s security forces. The author concludes with questions about how the different approaches of the English and Arab press may affect the audience’s culture.
Read the whole thing here.
Really enjoying the recently published “New Ethics of Journalism.” Below is a good bit from Clay Shirky on the nature of public argument and debate. Many cultures in Asia and the Arab world are struggling as the Internet forces governments to concede to these public arguments.
Argument, of course, is the human condition, but public argument is not. Indeed, in most places for most of history, publicly available statements have been either made or vetted by the ruling class, with the right of reply rendered impractical, illegal, or both. Expansion of public speech, for both participants and topics, is generally won only after considerable struggle, and of course, any such victory pollutes the sense of what constitutes truth from the previous era, a story that runs from Martin Luther through Ida Tarbell to Mario Savio, the drag queens outside Stonewall, and Julian Assange.
Important to remember the struggle takes time.
Here’s what Sir William Blackstone said about the free press in 1769.
The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state: but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public: to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press: but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous, or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity.
Sometimes we forget that a “free press” does operate with some limits. But those limits are narrowly drawn and a premium is placed upon political speech.
The government watchdog group Judicial Watch has obtained and posted Gen. Al Sisi’s thesis presented to the U.S. Army War College in 2006. The conclusion presents some interesting insights into the general’s opinions on “Democracy in the Middle East.”
To sum up Al Sisi’s main points:
1) The Middle East needs to shift from state-controlled government to people-controlled government.
2) The media must serve the state to help prevent extremism.
3) Religion and politics can be tricky. People must learn to accept the validity and perspectives of other religions.
4) The Arab region should bind together like the European Union. Free-market trading can lead to democracy development.
5) Arabs should ask other countries to come in and promote democracy through educational programs.
Here’s his complete conclusion:
Conclusions and Recommendations
Education and the media will be key enablers towards the establishment of democracy. There must be a shift from state-controlled means to population-controlled means. As media means, such as the internet and television become more prominent, their ability to influence education from the bottom up will tend to energize the masses. Clearly, the extremists understand the power of the media and are attempting to gain influence through their use. To be successful, the media must show that the moderate lifestyle is a better way.
The role of religion in government will be a key issues among many. The moderate view is that there is a place of Islamic beliefs. Historically, for democracies including religion has been a challenge; yet this does not mean the Middle East won’t succeed. A common religious understanding among all ethnicities and cultures must exist and there must be consideration given to non-Islamic beliefs.
The Middle East must view itself much in the same manger as the European Union. They represent various countries and cultures that have varying standards of living, but yet see the need to organize for the betterment of Europe—economics, security and international influence. For these same reasons, the Middle East should organize as a region. This will help galvanize the Middle East as a region and may foster free-market interaction which is conducive to democratic development. And finally, as the Middle East develops the rest of the world should seek ways to assist in promoting democratic values and means. Investing in educational means would be a good starting point.
Despite its age, professor Hussein Amin’s journal article published in 2002 still provides some fantastic insights into the problems of Arab journalism. Give it a read:
Here’s the abstract:
This article examines the development of freedom of the press and censorship in Egypt and the Arab world. Further, it discusses patterns of influence on freedom of the press and their impact on Arab journalists. It finds that press freedom in Arab countries and the performance of Arab journalists are still threatened by a censorial political culture, one that develops in an environment usually dominated by a single political party. Overt censorship and self-censorship are commonplace in the Arab news media today and journalism education programs, just as the media themselves have, in fact, been recruited into a national enterprise for the production of propaganda. The technological changes sweeping the world will increase the pressure for change and make issues of censorship obsolete as journalists find outlets for reporting among transnational media.
Here’s a little clip from a panel at a journalism conference that shows the continued importance of the inverted pyramid in the digital age.
The 2.5-minute clip features three editors — from Buzzfeed, the Huffington Post, and Roll Call — talking about the need to put the most important information at the top of the story. They note that some young journalists thrown into online reporting have missed that lesson.
The Huffington Post’s Jennifer Bendery also makes a fantastic point about the importance of talking with someone else before starting to write the story.