importance of the media in informing the world, as well as in shaping
rapidly changing events in the Muslim world and beyond, was the subject
of a timely and lively conference at the Institute for the Study of
Muslim Civilisations’ (ISMC) and Graduate School of Media and Communications’ (GSMC) conference on 3-4 November.
around 40 papers presented and over 100 participants, the conference
brought together academics, journalists and other media practitioners at
the Aga Khan University’s UK campus.
A broad range of topics,
such as satire online and in publications such as Charlie Hebdo was
discussed; as were subjects like the representation of men versus women;
government control of the media; and the changes in social media and
their impact. The conference was both topical and insightful, exploring
recent and historical events in various countries with Muslim societies,
from Kenya to Egypt and from Syria to Pakistan.
Among the many speakers, were:
Marwan Kraidy, author of The Naked Blogger of Cairo: Creative
Insurgency in the Arab World Christa Salamandra with her paper ‘The Past
Progressive: History and Belonging in Syrian Social Drama’ David
Harrison from Al-Jazeera presented ‘Muslims and Media Freedom: Friends
or Foes?’ drawing on his experience of training journalists abroad and
the obstacles faced by the media in some countries Hafez Al-Mirazi, a
broadcaster on numerous outlets including the BBC, Al Arabiya and Dream
TV, presented ‘Image Wars: Arab Media Dilemma Abroad and at Home’ Bahaar
Joya, a specialist on women’s rights in areas of conflict and a BBC
journalist, spoke about how social media helped to reduce violence
against and exploitation of women in a talk entitled ‘Impact of Social
Media on Afghanistan’s Social Taboos’ “Discussing and understanding how
the media functions in Muslim societies and in the world at large; as
well as the transformations in media and in society are an important
part of our work at the ISMC,” said Dr David Taylor, director of the
“We are in a unique position in the UK to bring together a
broad range of expertise and invite people to understand the
relationships between digital, print and broadcast media and the
perceptions of those within and outside Muslim societies and contexts.”
western countries, particularly, there is a tendency to see Muslim
societies as somehow one-dimensional – where they might stand on a scale
of global extremism. In fact, Muslim societies are as diverse as any
other and their media perhaps even more so. At the Aga Khan Graduate
School of Media and Communications in Nairobi, we not only recognise
this diversity, but celebrate it,” commented Michael Meyer, founding
dean of the GSMC.
Recordings of each presentation can be viewed here.
Look at the eventprogramme, speaker details and abstracts.