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Covering the Arab Spring: Are the Media Getting it Wrong?


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Speaker(s): Brian Whitaker, Roger Hardy, Marwan Bishara, Dr Ramy Aly
Chair: Dr Myria Georgiou

Recorded on 24 November 2011 in D302, Clement House.

A panel of seasoned journalists who have covered the Middle East extensively during their careers will critically reflect on the media coverage of the Arab uprisings. Why did reporters miss the build-up and tension which led to the Arab Spring? Have news stories exaggerated the role of social media? Are there wider questions that the coverage of the uprisings raise for reporting more generally?

Dr Ramy Aly is lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Sussex and co-founder of the 'Public Service Broadcasting Initiative' (Egypt) and Head of its Research and Editorial Unit. He has contributed research on transnational Arab media and changing political cultures in the EU at the LSE as well as research on Arabic language media at the Open University and CRESC.

Brian Whitaker has been a journalist for the British newspaper The Guardian since 1987 and its Middle East editor from 2000-2007. He is currently an editor on the paper's "Comment Is Free". He runs a personal, non-Guardian-related website, Al-Bab.com, about politics in the Arab world.

Roger Hardy was for over twenty years a Middle East and Islamic affairs analyst with the BBC World Service. He is the author of The Muslim Revolt: A Journey through Political Islam (Hurst, 2010). He has come to LSE after six months in Washington, DC, at the Woodrow Wilson Center, where he was a public policy scholar researching the 'war of ideas' (under the Bush and Obama administrations).

Marwan Bishara is Al Jazeera's senior political analyst. He was previously a professor of International Relations at the American University of Paris. An author who writes extensively on global politics, he is widely regarded as a leading authority on the Middle East and international affairs.

Dr Myria Georgiou teaches at the Dept. of Media and Communications, LSE. She has a PhD in Sociology (LSE), an MSc in Journalism (Boston University) and a BA in Sociology (Panteion University, Athens) and her research focuses on the broader areas of diaspora, migration, media and identity.

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