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. 8, Issue 3, 2015), edited by Noureddine Miladi from the Qatar University. The issue focuses on media representations of conflicts, portrayals of social groups, and social networks advertising.

The articles are available to buy online.

Ruth Sanz Sabido: Palestine in the British press: A Postcolonial Critical Discourse Analysis

This article examines the representations of the Israeli Palestinian conflict in the British press, starting from the premise that media representations in Britain should be analysed in relation to Britain’s role as a postcolonial power. Focusing on Britain’s colonial and postcolonial connection to this conflict, this study is based on the findings of a Postcolonial Critical Discourse Analysis of four British national newspapers (the Guardian, or Manchester Guardian; The Times; the Daily Herald, or the Sun; and the Daily Mirror) at four different points during the history of the conflict. The findings indicate that the classification of Palestine, Palestinians, Israel, Israelis, Jews, Zionists and Arabs as agents of political violence evolved over time, as violent acts and agents were perceived differently according to the dominant political discourse during each period. The contextualization of the conflict also provides insights into how the British press constructed its various ideological positions in relation to the clashes, and the extent to which the British Mandate remained visible in the later coverage of the armed confrontations. The postcolonial approach adopted in this study indicates that the generalized lack of references to the historical facts that underpin Britain’s role in the development of the conflict represents an attempt to move away from the historical responsibilities derived from colonial encounters. This framework therefore helps to restore the largely neglected historical connection of the British Mandate to its proper place in the analysis of these mediated events.

Mazhar Al-Zo’by: Representing Islam in the age of neo-orientalism: Media, politics and identity

The aim of this article is to examine the persistent charterer of orientalist discourse in western mass media narratives by analysing the function of the ‘native subject’ and ‘native attitude’ in the constitution of neo-orientalism. While the classical orientalist representational vision has dominated the western media and popular narratives of Islam and Arabs throughout the twentieth century, it is the contention of this article that new forms and formations of orientalist discourse have emerged corresponding with the West’s new imperial designs in the post-Cold War era and especially during the so-called ‘War on Terror’. The rise of these neo-orientalist strategies in the western media finds its elaborate articulation in the deployment of ‘native subjects’ as specialists who provide a crucial function in facilitating oriental discourse for the service of hegemonic (military and cultural) ideology. Relying on interpretive discourse analysis, this article will illustrate how a serious engagement with current orientalist media ideology warrants a critical examination of the ways its new strategies have mutated to include the native as a source for its ideological narratives. Whereas in classical orientalist narratives the ‘oriental native’ had indispensably occupied central status as the ‘object’ of ‘authentic’ oriental knowledge, in the neo-orientalist discourse the ‘native’ becomes the ‘voice/authority’ of the reorientalized native cultures.

Gulnara Z. Karimova & Daniel A. Sauers & Firdaousse Dakka: The portrayal of people with disabilities in Moroccan proverbs and jokes

The depiction of physical impairments in popular culture reflects as well as moulds public perception and attitudes towards people with disabilities. The vast body of literature has been devoted to the analysis and documentation of images of disabilities on the Internet, literary fiction, films, advertisements and television programming in the western societies, but there has been less attention directed towards exploring the representation of people with disabilities in popular culture in nonwestern societies. This article explores how people with disabilities are portrayed in Moroccan popular culture, especially in jokes and proverbs. The study utilized faceto-face semi-structured interviews for collecting qualitative data regarding the status of people with disabilities in Moroccan popular culture. Convenience sampling was used in the research. Our findings suggest that the dominant themes of Moroccan popular culture replicate stereotypical images of people with impairment in western popular culture as ‘pitiable or pathetic’, ‘sinister or evil’, ‘laughable’, as a ‘burden’, ‘non-sexual’ and ‘unable to participate in daily life’. Although all these themes can be traced in the instances of Moroccan popular culture, the theme of sexuality of people with disabilities seems to prevail.

Ilham H. F. Mansour: Beliefs and attitudes towards social network advertising: A cross-cultural study of Saudi and Sudanese female students

The study aims to investigate the possible differences in beliefs and attitudes towards social network advertising that may exist among women in Saudi Arabia and Sudan and specify the factors that influence their attitude towards social network advertising. Data sets of two samples from Saudi Arabia (169) and Sudan (195) were collected using a survey of female students from both countries. A t-test was then applied on the processed data, together with correlation and regression analysis, in order to answer the posited research questions. The results revealed no significant differences in attitude towards social media advertising between the two samples, although significant differences in beliefs about social network advertising were documented. In addition, the results indicate that five of the individual factors are statistically significant: these are prior web experience, entertainment, credibility and social norms for the Saudi sample and informativeness, entertainment, credibility and irritation for the Sudanese sample. This study provides insights for international marketers in terms of attitudes and beliefs towards social network advertising. The results may offer some valuable information that may aspire to improve marketing-related activities aimed at social media users.

Ayman Mansour Nada & Hesham Mesbah & Lee B. Becker: ‘Don’t know’ responses in American polls about Arab countries: More than just ‘No Opinion’?

This study examines the factors that determine the use of ‘don’t know’ (DK) responses in American public opinion polls about Arab countries. The data show that the American respondents tend to use the DK option more often when asked about their overall attitudes towards these countries. Drawing on a series of telephone surveys conducted by Gallup (2000–2013) that used national samples (N=13,527 in fourteen surveys), the findings show that DK responses are used to conceal positive or neutral attitudes towards Arab countries rather than to express no opinion. The use of DK was significantly related to general favourable attitudes. The respondents who sympathized more with the Palestinian Arabs against the Israelis in the Middle East conflict, and those who had a relatively overall positive attitude towards the Arab world, were more likely to use DK when asked about their attitudes about Arab countries. The findings also show that the use of the news media (following international news) and demographics (age, gender and education) have a significant impact on the probability of providing DK responses. The findings also indicate that respondents’ cognitive sophistication enhanced opinion formation.

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