FULLY BOOKED On the media: what does the future hold for Arab state media?

Talk April 13, 2011 7:00 PM

Videos that were circulated after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak showing state TV bosses being chased out of their offices and journalist strikes appeared to herald a new era in Egypt.

In Libya, hackers have attacked the state broacaster’s website and scenes of people throwing their shoes at the screen in a mark of disrespect are reported to have taken place in Libya as they did in Egypt and other countries where the media is regarded as an instrument of government.

The state-controlled TV channels, radio, newspapers and magazines were re-casting themselves as champions of radical change, while just days before the protestors in Tahrir Square had been ignored or denounced.

But can a leopard change its spots? Already there has been criticism of Egyptian broadcasters and newspapers for stirring up xenophobia and for remaining hostile to the pro-democracy movements.

What is required in order that a genuine revolution takes place in the media – not only in Egypt but in other countries where autocrats have used it to bolster their power? What happens in countries such as Iran where control of the media remains absolute?

Join us at the Frontline Club when we will be discussing what the future holds for state media, the impact of channels such as Al Jazeera and BBC Arabic, and the ways that people are using the internet and other social media to circumvent that power.

The discussion will be chaired by author and broadcaster Tom Fenton.


Faisal J. Abbas, London-based journalist, blogger and social commentator. He writes regularly for Huffington Post on Middle Eastern affairs and has worked with several leading Arab media outlets such as Asharq Al Awsat, where he established and edited the paper’s weekly ‘Media Supplement’, Al Hayat and Future Television of Lebanon;

Dina Matar, senior lecturer in Arab Media and Political Communication at SOAS;

Hugh Miles, award-winning investigative journalist specialising in the Middle East and North Africa, author of Al Jazeera: How Arab TV News Challenged the World and Playing Cards in Cairo and contributing editor of the American University in Cairo’s Centre for Television Journalism media journal;

Ayman Mohyeldin, Middle East-based correspondent for Al Jazeera English.


Picture credit: BRQ Network