Volume 5, No. 2
Peer Reviewed Articles
Media Accountability Online in Israel.
An application of Bourdieu’s field theory
(article in English)
Hitler and Humor: Coming to Terms with the Past Through Parody
(article in English)
Transformation der Mediensysteme in fragilen Staaten am Fallbeispiel Afghanistan (article in German)
From the Field
As if they do not exist. Images of (be)longing and of owning Palestine
(article in English)
Blum, Roger (2014): Lautsprecher & Widersprecher. Ein Ansatz zum Vergleich der Mediensysteme (review in German)
Due to structural changes in journalism, such as deregulation, privatisation and the influence of new technologies, it has become increasingly important to study media accountability (MA). By applying Bourdieu’s theory of social fields, this paper proposes a new approach to do so: MA is defined as a function of both journalistic autonomy and influence in the media field. Here, online communication potentially widens the scope of action for media’s transparency, responsiveness as well as the articulation of media criticism by a variety of actors. In Israel, media criticism is driven by the agent’s struggle for interpretive authority over public discourse in a politically polarized society. Semi-structured interviews with Israeli journalists, media activists and experts suggest that journalistic agents who have yet to earn credibility and reputation exploit online communication to its full potential, while agents in the field of power tend to dismiss online criticism. The influence of the audience’s media criticism is not solely dependent on the technical ability of connecting and hearing the voices of the masses; it has to be in combination with symbolic or political capital. However, the demand for media’s social responsibility is also related to being more careful and less critical, which is very evident in Israel. Thus, it is important to critically reflect on what happens when media accountability practices become more efficient and a stronger sense for “being watched” develops.
Recent developments in German television programming represent Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime through comedic entertainment. While these programs do not poke fun at the Holocaust itself, they are utilizing the image of Hitler for parodistic purposes. Similar to existing foreign media depicting Hitler as a foolish ruler with farcical mannerisms, newer programs such as the comedy show Switch Reloaded and the movie Hotel Lux show a clumsy and gullible Hitler. This essay argues that these recent representations of Hitler are contributing to the ongoing cultural conversation of the Holocaust, while also encouraging new ways in how Germans can culturally cope with their recent past. Drawing on parody and cultural trauma research, this essay offers evidence from German national media reviews and newspaper articles.
In diesem Beitrag wird die Transformation der Mediensysteme in fragilen Staaten analysiert und gefragt, ob die Liberalisierung und Kommerzialisierung der Mediensysteme in fragilen Saaten im Interesse der Staatsbildung ist. Dazu wird das Fallbeispiel Afghanistan betrachtet. Die Liberalisierung des Medienmarkts hat, wie man in Afghanistan sehen kann, auf unterschiedliche Weise eine starke Fragmentierung des Mediensektors zur Folge. Daraus wird die These entwickelt, dass die „Power to the market“-Strategie im Mediensektor der fragilen Staaten zwar eine Vielzahl an Medientiteln, aber selten qualitative Medienvielfalt hervorbringt. Dazu kommt, dass die Medienlandschaft von oligarchischen Tendenzen geprägt ist. In diesem Kontext entwickelt sich ein Journalismus, der von Polarisierung und Boulevardisierung gekennzeichnet ist.
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.