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Media on Media Roundup (May 17)

[ ["Locky ransomware: source code" by Christiaan Colen; Flickr]

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup covers several important stories affecting the Middle East and North African mediascape. A ransomware cyberattack named #WannaCry, which initially affected European institutions, is allegedly spreading to the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE named as the most vulnerable targets. As Iranian presidential elections near, conservative parties embrace social media platforms in their electoral campaigning and current President Rouhani looks to win a second four-year term, promising to target remaining US sanctions. According to Al Monitor, journalists in Gaza are facing an increased crackdown on their freedom of expression, giving the example of Amer Baalousheh who was allegedly arrested by Hamas-affiliated security for speaking against the party.

On the cultural front, Egyptian filmmakers Marouan Omara and Nadia Mounier released their documentary film “Azziara” online after it was banned from screening at the Cairo Cinema Days film festival.

All these stories and more can be found below.

Media and Politics

Tensions surround Erdogan’s US visit as media call for boycott
Source: Kurdistan 24
As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the US nears, several opposition media outlets in Turkey allegedly called for him to cancel his trip. The recent US arming of Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria caused Turkish officials to reevaluate the US’s use of Incirlik Air Base.

Rouhani vows to target all US sanctions if re-elected
Source: Al Jazeera
The six candidates for Iran’s presidential election squared off in a heated televised debate. President Rouhani, who is looking to win a second four-year term, promised to tackle remaining US sanctions and boost investments in Iran.

“Misunderstanding Terrorism:” How the US vs. Them mentality will never stop attacks
Source: The Intercept
A new book by former CIA operations officer, Dr. Marc Sageman argues that profiling Muslims as a counterterrorism strategy is ineffective “because jihadist terrorism is such a statistically rare phenomenon.”

Syria using "crematorium" to hide mass killing, US says
Source: Middle East Eye
The US State Department claims Bashar Al-Assad built a crematorium near Saydnaya prison in Syria where tens of thousands of prisoners were killed, basing the accusations on a series of satellite photographs.

Media Industries

BBC Planet Earth to make its debut in Dubai and GCC
Source: Arabian Business
BBC Worldwide signed several agreements with broadcasters in the Middle East to showcase its nature program Planet Earth for the first time on regional television.

Chinese gaming firm planning debut in Gulf markets
Source: Arabian Business
Chinese game publisher Shinezone is planning on entering the Middle East market through product agencies, commissioned development, and licensing of intellectual property rights.

Freedom of Journalists/Expression

Cage director risks prison over refusal to disclose password to police
Source: Middle East Eye
Muhammad Rabbani, international director of Cage, is facing a potential prison sentence for refusing to disclose his phone and laptop passwords after being stopped at Heathrow Airport last year. According to the article, Rabbani described his experienced as a “digital strip search.”

Journalists in Gaza face intensifying crackdown
Source: Al Monitor
Amer Baalousheh, a journalist in the Gaza strip, was abducted by Hamas-affiliated security forces and allegedly asked to stop opposing the political group. According to the article, the number of violations against journalists and activists in the Gaza strip is on the rise.

قانون حرية التعبير يُعيد العراق إلى مربع الاستبداد
المصدر: العربي الجديد
رفض أعضاء في لجان :التظاهرية الشعبية" في العراق قانوناً جديداً لحرية التعبير، معتبرين بعض الفقرات "أقسى من قوانين صدام حسين لأنها ستراقبنا في منازلنا".

استهداف «الجديد»: الإعلام اللبناني يدخل مرحلة الخطر
المصدر: الأخبار
تعرضت قناة "الجديد" اللبنانية لاعتدائها الخامس خلال الأشهر الستة الماضية وقعت ضحيتها سيارة البث المباشر للقناة. تقول الكاتبة أنّ حرية التعبير في لبنان أصبحت مهدّدة بشكلٍ أكبر، ممّا يزيد الخوف عند موظفي شركات الإعلام و يعرضهم لخطر ماديّ  ومعنوي. تضيف الكاتبة إلى ذلك عدم المحاسبة و الاهمال الأمني في البلد الذين يتركون  "الساحة مفتوحة أمام تشريع أي عنف بحق مؤسسة إعلامية".

Social Media

Iran hardliners turn to reformist-dominated social media
Source: Daily Mail (via AFP)
Iranian conservatives have embraced social media platforms as part of their electoral campaign. The article gives the example of hardliner Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who used Twitter and messaging app Telegram to release documents accusing rivals of corruption.

Video campaign, "Feed the killers" pizza and support hunger strikers
Source: Middle East Monitor
A new video campaign emerged in response to a Pizza Hut advert in Israel that allegedly mocked Palestinian hunger striking prisoners. According to media consultant Hossam Shaker, the “Feed the Killers” response video accuses Pizza Hut of joining the “killers’ barracks.”

Social media alone won’t improve women’s rights in the Middle East
Source: Kennedy School Review
In this opinion piece, Nabila Abu-Hantash argues that social media cannot improve women’s rights in the Middle East and is a mere tool for activism. She notes that it is up to Arab women to move the fight into “into schools, city centers, court rooms, and mosques.” 

Jordanian in US accused of trying to join ISIS
Source: Asharq Al-Awsat
A Jordanian citizen residing in the US has been accused of trying to join ISIS based on evidence the FBI presented after monitoring of his his moves, phone calls, and social media accounts.

Third Middle East Social Media Festival concludes in Beirut
Source: Asharq Al-Awsat
The Middle East Social Media Festival concluded its third year in Beirut on 11 May 2017. The event included workshops, talks, and cultural activities that highlighted the role of social media in the world of business.

#سني_شيعي_ضد_التطرف: كيف يُنظر إلى المبادرات السعودية لتقريب المذاهب؟
المصدر: رصيف22
انطلقت حملة سعودية على "تويتر" تحت اسم "سني شيعي ضد التطرف" والتي جمعت عدداً كبيراً من التغريدات تؤكد أهميّة و ضرورة بقاء السعوديين يداً واحدة ضد التطرف الديني.      

Media Practices

#Wannacry: Ransomware attack wave could come to Middle East
Source: The New Arab
A ransom cyberattack called #Wannacry affected several European businesses and is allegedly spreading to the Middle East.  According to the article, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are among the most vulnerable countries.

"وحدة النمر".. اللعب ضد الممانعة
المصدر: المدن
يتحدث الكاتب عن اللعبة الالكترونية "وحدة النمر" و التي تسرد قصة "الوحدة" العسكرية الخاصة، التي أسستها "الجامعة العربية"، أو الدول المؤثرة فيها.  يقول الكاتب أنّ اللعبة تمزج ما بين الواقعي والافتراضي في العالم العربي، مسلطة الضوء على العنف الشديد الذي  "المنطقة"، في حاجة إلى تصريفه، وإنتاجه على حد سواء.

Culture

Filmmakers release film about rural Egypt online after censorship at Cairo festival
Source: Mada Masr
The documentary film “Azziara” (The Visit), which talks about rural life in Egypt, was prevented from screening at the Cairo Cinema Days film festival and no reason was allegedly given by the organizers. The directors are making the film available to watch online for the duration of the festival.

Breaking down cyber barriers
Source: Qantara
According to the article, computer programming classes in Afghanistan are equipping young Afghani women with essential IT skills that empower them.

Palestinian fashion designer breathes new life into tradition
Source: Hindustan Times
Jerusalem-based fashion designer Natalie Tahhan creates digital patterns inspired by traditional Palestinian cross-stitching, which she then prints on silks and satins used to make her garments.  

Divided by a common tongue: exclusionary politics of Persian-language pedagogy
Source: Ajam Media Collective
Aria Fani reflects on the state of Persian literary studies and pedagogy by critically unpacking the notion of “shared literary heritage” that treats three variants of Persian Dari, Farsi and Tajik, as one.

Understanding the Syrian refugee crisis through games and graphic novels
Source: Muftah
Recent initiatives in gaming and graphic novels aim to tell the stories and understand the experiences of Syrian refugees. One such application called “Bury Me, My Love” simulates text messages between Nour and her husband Majd, as Nour flees Syria to Europe.

Saudi Arabia’s “King Of Journalism” Turki bin Abdullah Al Sudairi dies at 73
Source: Forbes Middle East
Turki bin Abdullah Al Sudairi, former editor-in-chief of Al Riyadh newspaper, passed away on Saturday at the age of seventy-three. The article discusses Al Sudairi’s career and lists his most prominent journalistic achievements.

NU-Q to open first digital museum in new media building
Source: The Daily Northwestern
Northwestern University in Qatar is set to open the first digital museum in the country called the Media Majlis, which focuses on media, journalism, and communication. According to the museum’s director, Pamela Erskine-Loftus, the museum’s first exhibition will explore the portrayal of identity in film, animation and video games from the 1870s until today.

From Jadaliyya Media Roundups

Journalist interrogated, accused of insulting "luster" of Supreme Judicial Council
Source: Jadaliyya Egypt Media Roundup
Egyptian journalist Tarek Hafez was released on bail after being interrogated for allegedly insulting the “luster” of the Supreme Judicial Council.

Saudis hire world's biggest PR firm to push "Muslim Nato"
Source: Jadaliyya Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup
An international PR firm is accused of whitewashing Saudi war crimes in Yemen after agreeing to represent a military alliance named the “Muslim Nato.”

Eyebrows raised as Saudi father names newborn after US first daughter
Source: Jadaliyya Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup
A Saudi citizen caused a social media stir for naming his daughter Ivanka after the US first daughter.

[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.]

 

Jadaliyya Features

Egypt Map and Stats

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Population(July 2016 est.): 94,666,993
GDP($US trillions, 2016 est.)$1.105 
Unemployment: 13.1% (2016 est.); Youth Unemployment (ages 15-24): 34.3% (2013 est.)
Internet Users (/million, 2015)31.767 (35.9%)
Exchange Rate(2016 est.)$342.8 billion 
GDP Growth Rate(2016 est.)2.51% 
Military Expenditures(2015)1.73% of GDP 
Health Expenditures (/GDP, 2014)5.6% 
Population Growth Rate (2016 est.):  2.51%
Age Structure (2016 est.)0-14 years: 33.21%; 15-24 years: 19.24%; 25-54 years: 37.47%; 55-64 years: 5.91%; 65 years and over: 4.17% 
Literacy (2016 est.): 73.8%