Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research
Fig. 1. Courtesy of the Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research.

The Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research released its new issue (Vol. 7, Issue 1, 2014), edited by Noureddine Miladi from the Qatar University. The issue focuses on representation of Muslims in the British media and the future of traditional media in the Middle East region.

The articles are available to buy online.

Abdul-Karim Ziani & Shahira Fahmy & Khalid Al-Jaber & Mokhtar Elareshi: Young adults’ perceptions of satellite TV news services in Bahrain

This article investigates the relationship between university students’ consumption of satellite TV news services and their perceptions of news issues. It examined students’ general news consumption habits and their motives for the choices they make as well as the gratifications they obtain. A survey was administered to a random sample of 325 university students to determine the varying gratifications associated with satellite TV. The findings showed that time spent watching local TV channels was affected by the use of international TV services. Respondents received fewer programmes than they desired from local TV. The data also revealed that entertainment and surveillance needs were the most important gratifications obtained from satellite TV. Interestingly, students have abandoned Al Jazeera TV programmes in favour of other TV services. These findings are discussed in relation to the growing impact of satellite TV services and the emergence of new niche markets in news in Bahrain.

Orayb Najjar: AmmanNet (Al-Balad) Internet radio in Jordan and the West Bank: or, ‘I have seen the future of radio, and it is AmmanNet’

Arab states have used terrestrial radio for nationalist mobilization and development extensively in the 1950s and 1960s. However, government restrictions, combined with the high cost of terrestrial broadcasting, kept radio out of private hands. After discussing the technological context that made digital radio possible in Jordan and the West Bank, I trace the development of the first Internet radio station in the Arab world, AmmanNet, and describe its developmental local programming as an example of a new type of media that digitally savvy youth are broadcasting. However, because some of the funding comes from NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and foreign governments, Arabs face a dilemma: accepting such funding provides them with equipment and training they may not otherwise have, but accepting it sometimes restricts their programming choices to discussions of local problems, rather than problems created by the Israeli occupation. Yet foreign funding also provides opportunities to discuss taboo social issues that state media rarely consider airing.

Mohammed el-Nawawy & Sahar Khamis: Governmental corruption through the Egyptian bloggers’ lens: A qualitative study of four Egyptian political blogs

Corruption was among the most serious problems under the rule of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Egyptian political bloggers played a critical role in reporting about the regime’s corrupt policies which were among the main factors behind the 2011 Revolution. This study analysed a number of threads selected from four prominent Egyptian political blogs that dealt with the issue of corruption. The analysed threads were divided into three main categories based on the primary function they attempted to perform: public mobilization, documentation or deliberation. Findings showed that political bloggers have played a critical role in enriching, revitalizing and mobilizing the Egyptian civil society, particularly in the prelude to the 25 January Egyptian Revolution. Still, this study showed that the role played by digital media platforms, such as political blogs, in promoting civic engagement, boosting democratization, and aiding political change should not be exaggerated or overstated. In other words, there has to be caution in assessing these new media technologies’ potential impact on reshaping the process of communication and democratization in the age of cyberspace.

Pina Sadar: Exotic beauties, victims and terrorists: Representations of veiled women in the British press (2001–14)

This article aims to analyse media representations of veiled women in British online and printed press between 2001 and 2014. Using discourse analysis (CDA) as an analytical tool, the article seeks to demonstrate how enduring repetitions of essentialized media rhetoric – manifested in the topic selection, language and visuals – generate and naturalize racist sentiments towards veiled Muslim women. The findings of the study indicate that veiled Muslim women are commonly represented as the ultimate British others; they continue to be observed through the lens of beautified otherness and are caught in the paradox of being seen as on the one hand invisible victims of patriarchal oppression and on the other hand a visible danger for British security and identity. A nascent trend of counter-hegemonic discourses on veiling is also acknowledged and documented. The outcomes of the media analysis are combined with brief fragments from the interviews with British Muslim women, thus challenging the prevailing media myths and ensuring an emic perspective on the topic.

Muhammad Jameel Yusha’u: Nigerian or British: Muslim identity and the framing of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the British press

The story of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s alleged attempt to blow up a US airliner on 25 December 2009 received a lot of attention in the media. As the story developed it appeared that Umar Farouk studied in the United Kingdom and was resident in the country. Although Nigerian by birth, he received his education either in Britain or in British institutions. The nature of his upbringing and education raises questions about his identity. So how was the story framed in the British press? How was the story reported in relation to the representation of Muslims in the British press? This article studied the representation of the Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab story in four British newspapers: The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and The Independent. These newspapers are among the quality press in the United Kingdom, and are read not only in the United Kingdom but across the world. Using the framing theory to provide a critique of the coverage of this story in the British press within the context of representation of identity, the research found that although there are ideological differences between the liberal and the conservative press in Britain, they share similarities when it comes to reporting stories that relate to Muslims. The findings of this research suggested that there are three key frames that shaped the reporting of the story in the British broadsheets. The frames are Muslim identity, Nigerian citizenship and British education. All the newspapers under study paid significant attention to these frames, while being silent on the main causes of radicalization. A common feature from the newspapers under study is the commonality in reporting between the conservative and the liberal press.

The latest issue of the Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research is available here.