What is this Ammar?
Fig. 1. "What is this Ammar?". Courtesy of www.debatunisie.com.

The online journal Arab Media & Society has published its new issue that discusses the role of social media before the Arab Spring and the current state of traditional news media. All included articles are available online or in the PDF format for download. Arab Media & Society, formerly TBS Journal, is a joint project of The Center for Electronic Journalism at the American University in Cairo and the Centre for Middle East Studies at St. Antony’s College, Oxford.

Amy Aisen Kallander: From TUNeZINE to Nhar 3la 3mmar: A Reconsideration of the Role of Bloggers in Tunisia’s Revolution

Amy Kallander delves into the world of Tunisia’s educated and upper-middle class bloggers to reveal a more nuanced picture of their role in the Tunisian revolution. Reviewing the country’s unique history of Internet activism and government censorship, she finds that their impact was not only more limited than western media accounts claimed, but in many ways, more interesting.

Yomna Elsayed: Revolutionary Media on a Budget: Facebook-only Social Journalism

In one of the first studies of Egypt’s Rassd News Network (RNN), Yomna Elsayed explores how this Facebook-based citizen journalism network became the most influential news source during the revolution.  Placing RNN in the context of alternative media launched on social networks, she explores the reasons for its success as well as the challenges that it faces.

Mohamed Ben Moussa: Online Mobilization in Times of Conflict: A Framing-Analysis Perspective

Well before social media’s celebrated role in the uprisings of the Arab Spring, Mohamed Ben Moussa argues, the Internet was shaping collective action and political advocacy in Muslim-majority societies in important ways.  Looking at Moroccan social movements’ framing of the 2009 Gaza war online, Ben Moussa details how the use of the Internet shapes their structure, boundaries and mobilization capacity.

Felix Tusa: How Social Media Can Shape a Protest Movement: The Cases of Egypt in 2011 and Iran in 2009

Focusing on the role of social media as a tool for both framing and offline organizing, Felix Tusa compares the Iranian election protests of 2009 with those of the Egyptian revolution of 2011. Unlike Egyptian netizens, Iranians engaged in far less framing and over-relied on social media for organizational purposes, thus partially contributing to the failure of their movement.

Miriam Berger: Palestine’s Occupied Fourth Estate: An Inside Look at the Work Lives of Palestinian Print Journalists

In a study of three Palestinian newspapers, Miriam Berger identifies both internal and external pressures that profoundly limit the autonomy and development of Palestinian print journalism. In-depth interviews with Palestinian journalists and a focus on their work conditions reveal untold stories about the obstacles and red lines faced on a daily basis.

Noah Rayman: Is the Egyptian Press Ready for Democracy? Evaluating Newspaper Coverage as an Indicator of Democratization

Noah Rayman performs a quantitative textual analysis of pre- and post-revolution news coverage in the Egyptian independent newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm. He finds that the extent and vibrancy of the paper’s post-revolutionary political coverage and social engagement indicate that Egyptian society and media is progressing on the path to democratization, despite the fact that qualitative analysis paints a less optimistic picture.

The latest issue of the Arab Media & Society is available online.