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News media in the Middle East: What is it good for?

08.01.2020 21:51 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

May 26-27, 2020

University of Oslo, Norway

Deadline: January 31, 2020

The role of the media is a contentious issue in the contemporary Middle East. Analysts and actors agree on its overall importance, but how journalism shape political dynamics is a matter of dispute. Some see a positive change in new communication technologies and the multitude of voices. Others lament a combustible mix of lies, instrumentalization and polarization that is turning societies apart. In the political science literature, social media have often been analysed as mobilization vehicles, while mainstream media are primarily understood as instruments of power in the hands of regimes. The recent wave of protests in the Arab world has seen popular anger directed against both media and reporters.

At the same time, some journalists have sided with the street. In this conference, we take a closer look at the interaction between media and politics and the active part that journalists may play. We expand the analytic scope from the media as mobilizers in upheavals to their role as intermediaries between state powers and citizens and interpreters of public affairs. The conference marks the end of a three years’ research project on journalism in Tunisia and Lebanon, evolving around these themes.

Our aim is to broaden the view and draw comparisons across the region. We invite papers that engage with issues such as journalists as power brokers, the tensions between rights and security, religious polarization and electoral mobilization, to name a few. The scope spans from traditional news outlets to digital media and citizen journalism.

Deadline for abstracts: 31 January 2020, full papers by 1 May. The organizers will cover travel and accommodation costs for the selected presenters.

Further information: Kjetil Selvik, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs,; Jacob Høigilt, University of Oslo,



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