After workshops on mechanisms of censorship (summer term 2011), transnational public sphere(s) (winter term 2011/12), and framing patterns (winter term 2012/13) in the field of Arab media the present workshop (7 February 2014) concentrates on the connection between media and democracy. Of particular interest is the question of the role of the Arab media – or more precisely the transnational and national satellite TV stations – in the process of political transformation; or of the function they are ascribing themselves on the way towards a (more) democratic order respectively.

Based on considerations of media and democracy theories we will discuss the fundamental role media should or actually could perform in existing and developing democracies. The focus here is on debates of the ideal but intricate relationships between (global) markets, (local) governments, societies and media; and on questions such as whether there is an universal concept of the democratic role of media or whether their position varies according to different socio-political contexts.

We will then test these theoretical considerations against the reality of the Arab satellite TV. The Tunisian television station al-Waṭaniyya 1 with a short series on democratic concepts probably offers the best illustrative material in this regard, since the political upheavals of the “Arab Spring” have started here and have developed in a more democratic order than other affected countries.

Everyone interested in Arab media is most welcome to participate in this workshop (no fee), advantageously with some knowledge of Arabic; an informal e-mail to David Arn (david.arn{at}lmu.de) is sufficient for registration.