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As if they do not exist. Images of (be)longing and of owning Palestine

Irit Neidhardt | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: Films from or about Palestine are frequently programmed at international film festivals. They are sometimes released in cinemas and quite often presented in special screenings at various institutions all over the Western World. Due to the scarcity of screens and the boycott of Israel, they are seen to a lesser extend in Arab countries. Compared to screenings of other Arab films or the presentation of movies from other former colonies and mandatory territories, Western audiences often react highly emotional to the images from Palestine. In debates questions for a better understanding of the films’ subject or context are barely ever asked. Rather the foreign spectators seem to have a sense of belonging and to claim the right for co-determination. Where do these emotional ties originate from?
In recent years a large number of films shot in Palestine during the late Ottoman period and the British mandate were made accesssible online, mainly by the Steven Spielberg Film Archive in Jerusalem and the British War Museum in London. Libraries like the Library of Congress in Washington digitized parts of their photographic collections. Based on them as well as on the films I work with as distributor and programmer for Arab film series, in this article I look at images on and from Palestine and ask for what purpose, in which context and by whom they were made and distributed.

Assessing the Impact of TMF on the Tanzanian Media: A Practical Approach

Sanne van den Berg | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: The Tanzania Media Fund (TMF) supports individual journalists and media institutions to produce quality public interest and investigative journalism content that better informs the public, contributes to debate and thereby increases public demand for greater accountability in Tanzania. TMF has used lessons learned from its first phase (2008- 2012) to develop a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework that captures TMF’s achievements in phase 2 (2012-2015) and beyond. This article provides an overview of the practical implementation of the M&E framework, and challenges encountered during implementation.

In Search of Evidence: Media and Governance in Fragile States

Nicole Stremlau | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: This article reflects on efforts to identify evidence about the role of media in fragile states. It explores and compares findings from two research projects and focuses on some of the lessons that have emerged from these exercises as well as on the relevance of the findings for media development. While we know that media matters in areas such as conflict, reconciliation and peacebuilding, neither of the reviews of the literature found substantial evidence supporting some of the widespread claims about the importance of media, suggesting how elusive this evidence can be.

The Failure of a Success Story: Reforming Georgia’s Public Service Broadcaster

Marek Bekerman | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: Georgia’s “Law on Broadcasting” was passed in 2004 to provide, among other things, a legal framework for the transformation of the country’s state broadcaster into the public service media provider. The law itself has been praised internationally for its progressive nature and presented as an example for other post-Soviet countries to follow. A decade later, and after a number of amendments, it is no longer seen as effective in ensuring that public service broadcasting in Georgia provides the expected quality and range of services, or can be immune to political interference. Since its birth, GPB has suffered from continuous crises and scandals, and has never been a major player in the Georgian media. There have been several attempts involving international organisations and institutions to reform and improve GPB, to elevate its status and increase its market share, but none of them have succeeded. Most of those efforts have been supported by the European Commission and the OSCE, with participation from such media organisations as the BBC, which had run a series of training and monitoring programmes until 2011. A comprehensive programme of editorial, managerial and structural reform at the Georgian broadcaster developed in 2011-12 was shelved ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections, and GPB has been in a state of semi-paralysis ever since. The article examines the state of public service broadcasting in Georgia and what could be done to improve it.

Windows of Opportunity – The Transformation of State Media to Public Service Media in Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Moldova and Serbia

Jan Lublinski, Erik Albrecht, Petra Berner, Laura Schneider, Merjam Wakili & Jackie Wilson
| PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: The transformation of state media to public service media (PSM) is one of the most ambitious endeavors in the field of media development. Not many efforts to free the national media from government control have succeeded in the past decades. In this paper the comparatively promising cases of Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Moldova and Serbia are discussed. The PSM in these countries all have a new legal basis, including a public service remit and a relatively independent governing body in which civil society is represented. The services delivered to the public by these media are analyzed according to a number of societal functions which are assembled under two general headings: “creating a public sphere” and “supporting integration”. Based on this analysis, a differentiation between “PSM in initial transformation” and “PSM in advanced transformation” is suggested. In all cases studied, different actors successfully used windows of opportunity: general political agendas to reform the media, a specific engagement from the management as well as support from the population and civil society. Media development actors here helped to advance the processes of change in different ways. Recommendations for future media development include strategic planning, inclusion of local actors, the pooling of legal expertise as well as structured processes of organizational development and capacity building.

From the Field: Building on Area Studies Expertise – The Arab-European Association for Media and Communication Researchers (AREACORE)

Jassim M. Jaber & Carola Richter | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: This short article introduces the new Arab-European Association for Media and Communication Researchers (AREACORE) as the manifestation of the necessity to strengthen area expertise in communication studies. The reasons for founding this association fit into the broader framework of de-westernization attempts, while also allowing for dialogue to take place on an equal footing. The authors invite all interested communication researchers to join the network and build up an Arab-European network of communication studies expertise.

The State of Environmental Journalism in Germany and Russia

Angelina Davydova | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: In the last few years I have been intensively reporting on all major UN Conferences on climate change/green economy/sustainable development issues both in Russian and German media. This type of reporting, which connects themes about the environment, politics and business might be rather new to a Russian readership, as environmental journalism is just beginning to take root in the Russian media landscape.
The challenges I faced confirm this assumption and include the following issues: the distance and abstractness of global issues, lack of strong political decisions and commitments, problems referring to future issues which might seem less relevant at the moment, turning complex and diverse information into linear stories, contradictory scientific research data, and many others. At the same time, in many ways, environmental journalism in Germany is quite different than in Russia – not only because media landscapes and media markets differentiate (including political and economical prerequisites), but also because the theme of sustainability has a completely different meaning and importance in political, business and social contexts.
In this article I will compare environmental reporting, mostly on UN-related events, in Russian and German media, in an attempt to outline both similarities and differences between the two media markets.

Researching Media Assistance as a Tool of Democratisation and State building in Post Conflict Societies– Lessons from the Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Nidzara Ahmetasevic | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: This paper aims to give insights into my research on media assistance and its effects on democratisation and state building processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia). I try to analyse a process which lasts more than 15 years, and includes different aspects, from law making to establishing new media. I argue that most of the measures have been carried out in a state of imposition, in a semi-protectorate, that is Bosnia after the war. This period of post-war reconstruction in Bosnia is difficult to research for many reasons, starting from the obvious fact that processes are still going on, to the fact that different international players who were involved in the process over the years, hardly left archives available to the public to be analyzed, or what is left sometimes does not give a complete picture. I will present different methods I have applied in order to overcome these difficulties, and try to give some recommendations for other researchers working under on similar topics.

Co-Producing the Memory. Cinema Production between Europe and the Middle East

Article From the Field by Irit Neidhard | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: Over the past ten years an increasing amount of films from the Middle East have entered the international film festival circuit. Some major works like Paradise Now (Al-Jana Alan, Hany Abu Assad, NL/D/F/IL 2005), Caramel (Sukr Banat, Nadine Labaki, F/LB 2007), or Waltz With Bashir (Waltz Im Bashir, Ari Folman, IL/D/F/USA/B/CH/AUS 2008) also get theatrical releases in Europe and the USA. There they are often read as documents and authentic insights into a foreign culture.

At the same time German funds boasted about the Oscar nominations for Paradise Now and Waltz with Bashir. Michael Schmid-Ospach, then head of influential Filmstiftung NRW was quoted in a fund’s press release of February 2nd 2006: ‘I keep my fingers crossed that Paradise Now will also take the Oscar to NorthRhine-Westphalia’, and the daily newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt stated on March 16th 2009 that Waltz With Bashir was ‘besides Uli Edel’s The Baader Meinhof Complex and Werner Herzog’s documentary Encounters at the End of the World yet another German iron in the award-fire’.

Due to very high production costs of cinema movies, and a lack of funding in the region of origin, most of the financing for films from the Middle East is provided by European public funds. As ownership of a film is bound to financing, Paradise Now and Waltz With Bashir are indeed German movies.

In this article I aim to look at the effects of co-production between Europe and the Middle East on the processes of production and the reception of the films. A short overview of public film policy in Arab Middle Eastern countries and Israel, as well as an example of European public media interventions in the Middle East, introduce key aspects of production and ideas behind European approaches to film-making in the region.

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The German Edition is edited by Prof. Dr. Carola Richter and Dr. Christine Horz and hosted at Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Erfurt.

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