Since December 2010 the world has watched as demonstrations and protests spread across countries in North Africa and the Middle East. These pro-democracy movements rose up against the dictatorial regimes and corrupt leaders that had ruled for decades in some cases. Someone called these revolutionary events “Arab Spring,” and the phrase stuck. The specificity of these Arab revolutions is that they have been popular uprisings, leaderless and uncompromising in demanding total change. Why have the events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, etc. followed such different paths? What are the long-term political, social, and economic ramifications of these revolutions? What are their intended and unintended consequences as countries across the region seek political and social reforms? What's the future of the Arab revolution with regard to the crucial issues of freedom, democracy, fidelity to Islam, secularism, and tribal power? There are a lot of questions and there is much to study in the causes and factors that led to these large-scale movements. This guide will attempt to provide direction to the appropriate source material within the library and beyond.
إذا الشّعْبُ يَوْمَاً أرَادَ الْحَيَـاةَ فَلا بُدَّ أنْ يَسْتَجِيبَ القَـدَر
وَلا بُـدَّ لِلَّيـْلِ أنْ يَنْجَلِــي وَلا بُدَّ للقَيْدِ أَنْ يَـنْكَسِـر
If a people one day wills to live --- fate [God] must answer its call
And the night must fade ---- and the chain must break
(by Tunisian poet Abou el-Kacem al-Chebbi, b.February 24 ,1909- d.October9,1934)
Hend Selim, an Egyptian journalist who works at the Foreign Affairs section of the Al Wafd daily newspaper, has written an exhaustive account of how newspapers in Egypt, the USA and Israel reported the revolution in her country in early 2011.
In her research paper The Coverage of Egypt’s Revolution in the Egyptian, American and Israeli Newspapers Hend carries out extensive content analysis of three newspapers in Egypt (the state-owned Al-Ahram, the opposition Al Wafd, and the privately-owned Al-Masry Al-Youm), two in the USA (New York Times and The Wall Street Journal), and two in Israel (Haaretz and Ynetnews) to address some key questions: Was there a difference in the quantity of coverage of the Egyptian revolution by each newspaper? What were the main sources used by newspapers ? What were the other indicators of bias in the reporting ? Which factors influenced the coverage of the revolution?
Hend backs up her content analysis with interviews with key journalists at the seven newspapers.
As with all Fellows’ research papers, any opinions expressed are those of the author and not of the Institute.
Image: REUTERS/Peter Andrews