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Ed Webb

Why wouldn't people want to reduce inequality? - 0 views

  • a fairly simple concept known as “feedback in opinion formation.”
  • There’s lots of evidence that we are deeply social thinkers, engaging in discussions with family, friends, co-workers and neighbors about all sorts of things that help us to form our own opinions.

    It turns out that this can have a big effect on the incentives of economic elites. Rather than having to reach us all individually, they can work on only some of us. Maybe only a few people will be swayed directly by the media, but those who are will talk to others. And in doing so, these converts will take advantage of interpersonal trust and knowledge of the kind of arguments and appeals that work on friends and family to move their thinking as well.

  • Now — and here’s the feedback — these same people moved by the arguments and appeals will become more susceptible to the media’s message. If they become convinced, they’ll add their voices to discussions among their own friends and family. And so on. Eventually the process can swing public opinion.
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  • this feedback process is easier to get going when you’re advocating against the status quo
    How media can shift public opinion through feedback effects.
Ed Webb

For Afghan Journalists, Election Brings a Sense of National Duty - - 0 views

    Not MENA, but related: role of media in transitions.
Ed Webb

Hamas to launch new satellite TV channel - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East - 0 views

  • The Hamas-led Gaza government is preparing to launch its own Al Ra’i satellite television channel, a new addition to an array of print and electronic media outlets by the same name
  • The Gaza government and Hamas own a number of media outlets, mostly established after Hamas’ victory in the 2006 elections. They include a daily and semi-weekly newspapers, a number of local FM radio stations, a monthly newspaper that deals with social issues, a variety of local news agencies and websites, a media production company and the Al-Aqsa satellite television channel, as well as a few television channels and news sites abroad.
  • The current staff is comprised of approximately 30 employees, some of whom come from various government ministries and possess the required qualifications. We are also collaborating with local media production companies to produce programs at a lower cost, or sometimes free of charge,
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  • According to a number of Hamas officials interviewed by Al-Monitor, the movement felt that it lacked the proper venue on other Palestinian, Arab and foreign media outlets to express its views, because those outlets are biased toward either the Palestinian Authority (PA) or Israel and limit their coverage to exposing the movement’s negative aspects, without any mention of its positive ones.
  • Hamas gives great importance to the media, and has tried on more than one occasion to pressure media outlets into adopting its point of view or political line. Its dispute with Fatah also compelled Hamas to try to control the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in Gaza, where Fatah controlled the majority of board members. Hamas formed its own Journalists Syndicate board of directors in Gaza, composed of journalists affiliated with the movement and Islamic Jihad. But the experiment quickly proved to be a failure when the board announced its resignation several months later.
  • “The channel’s discourse will be different from the one adopted by other Hamas-affiliated media outlets. It will express the point of view of the government and will not be similar to that of the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa satellite channel. We will try to focus attention on the human aspect and the suffering of people, as well as the positive qualities of Palestinian society in the Gaza Strip,”
  • “There was a clear mix-up, in Arab and foreign countries, between the stance of the Gaza government and that of Hamas as a movement, after the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. As a result of satellite channels abroad being agreeable to the Muslim Brotherhood, and our lack of control over their editorial policies, it became necessary for us to have our own television channel that would target Arab and Western audiences and clarify the government’s stance independently.”
  • the Gaza government still bars the distribution of West Bank newspapers in Gaza, in retaliation for the PA’s ban on the distribution of Hamas-affiliated newspapers in the West Bank. Hamas continues to forbid Fatah-affiliated media offices from conducting business in Gaza, but has allowed some of their reporters to file from Gaza, in return for the Ramallah government allowing Al-Aqsa TV and Al-Quds reporters to work there
Ed Webb

Journalists concerned over Qatar's revised cybercrime law - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of th... - 1 views

  • The new law, according to the QNA release, will ban any dissemination via electronic means of “incorrect news” that endangers “the safety of the state, or public order or internal or external security.”

    The law also “stipulates punishment for anyone who exceeds any principles of social values.” The cybercrime legislation would also make illegal the publishing of “news or pictures or audio-video recordings related to the sanctity of the private and family life of individuals, even if they are correct, via libel or slander through the Internet or an IT device.”

  • Observers are worried because tightened cybercrime legislation in the United Arab Emirates has been used to prosecute dissenting speech seen on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube
  • Jan Keulen, the former director of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom, said that enacting the law could “impede the development of online journalism.”

    Keulen told Al-Monitor that Qatar’s new leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani — who took over for his father last July — has never mentioned topics such as democracy, elections or press freedom. Meanwhile, Qatar’s news powerhouse Al Jazeera touts these principles throughout the region.

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  • Despite the presence of Al Jazeera, Qatar’s internal journalism suffers from a lack of protections for journalists, operating under a media law passed in 1979. A revised media law was discussed in 2012 but never passed after criticism that its broad language would stifle good journalism. The advocacy group Freedom House labels Qatar’s press freedom as “not free” and the country is ranked at No. 110 out of 179 in Reporter’s Without Borders’ press freedom rankings
  • Qatar’s Twitter community is relatively robust with many commentators taking to the social media platform to complain about aspects of government services. However, no one has directly questioned or challenged the emir’s rule. Unlike other Gulf countries, the Qatari government has not arrested anyone for their social media speech.
  • Just last week, two Emiratis were convicted for violating a law that made it a crime to “damage the national unity or social peace or prejudice the public order and public morals.” The government also convicted 69 citizens of sedition last year and prosecuted two Emiratis for spreading “false news” about that trial.
  • Qatar’s move to pass cybercrime legislation could also be a nod to assuage security concerns of its neighbors. Earlier in March, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar. They announced that country needed to “take the appropriate steps to ensure the security of the GCC states.”
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