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Citizens’ Radio in North Africa and the Middle East: Meaningful Change through Citizen Empowerment? – An Experience from Tunis

Stefanie Groth | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract:Fostering a participatory political culture is a crucial part of the on-going transformation processes which we witness across North African and Middle Eastern countries since 2011. This paper considers which role participatory communication plays in these processes, by examining the potential of citizens’ radios to accompany Tunisia’s transition at a grassroots level. Analysing the case of Radio 6 Tunis – a local, non-commercial Internet-radio founded by Tunisian journalists under the rule of Ben Ali in 2007 – citizens’ radios are discussed as sites of political contestation and cultivation of critical consciousness. While they empower citizens to reclaim both their voice and public space, their influence is however limited. The manifold challenges which citizens‘ radios face in the transitional context of post-autocratic Tunisia, may well impede nascent democratisation dynamics.

Changing Revolutions, Changing Attention? Comparing Danish Press Coverage of the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Syria

Mikkel Fugl Eskjære | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: The Arab Spring has generated unprecedented attention to the Arab world in Western news media. This paper presents a comparative study of Danish press coverage of the uprisings in Tunisia and Syria during the early months of the Arab Spring (January-March 2011). The study is based on a mixed quantitative and qualitative content analysis aimed at identifying patterns of news reporting of the Arab Spring. The investigation looks into whether temporal developments of the Arab revolutions, the level of journalistic presence in the region, and national differences influence Danish press coverage of the Arab Spring.
The findings indicate that media coverage of the Arab Spring points in different directions. On the one hand there has been a remarkable increase in media attention to the Middle East in purely quantitative terms. On the other hand the study finds that a number of traditional media patterns persist, not least in relation to media perceptions of Islam and democracy, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the ability to reform the Arab world from the inside.

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