Media News & Content
Grassroots Arabic Media Break Taboo on Talking Queer PDF Print

Date: 13 September 2018

Region: MENA, Jordan, Qatar, Tunisia

By Mikhail Yakovlev

Image_1Despite changes around the world, most recently in India, queer issues remain taboo in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). “The official fiction that gay people don’t exist to any great extent in Muslim countries” – explains Brian Whitaker, the author of Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East. In keeping with this fiction, mainstream media in MENA either bypass queer issues altogether or present queers in a negative way.

The case of Qatar’s Al Jazeera is particularly revealing in this respect. As “the first independent news channel in the Arab world dedicated to providing comprehensive news and live debate,” Al Jazeera’s stated aim is to be “a voice for the voiceless.” The network’s London-based English Service certainly gives queers a voice. A quick search of the English website reveals many sensitive well-researched articles, some of them by Arab writers. In contrast, the Arabic website has a single bizarre op-ed provocatively titled ‘The Lie of Scientific Justification for Homosexuality’.

 
Boris Johnson's Degrading Article about the Burka PDF Print

Published: 7 August 2018

Country: UK

By Eline Jeanne

BoJoArticleBoris Johnson, the UK’s former foreign secretary, wrote a piece for the Telegraph about Denmark’s recent burka ban, and whether we should adopt the same laws in the UK. Upon reading the title of the piece, which claims that Demark has “got it wrong”, you might be cautiously optimistic. Maybe this piece will show a different side to Boris – you start to think – a side that is willing to listen to Muslim women and recognise the burka ban as demeaning and oppressive. Sadly, this is not the case. The piece spreads degrading messages about women who choose the wear the niqab and the burka, and compares women who wear these Muslim garments as looking like letter boxes and bank robbers.

 
Social Media Matter PDF Print

Published: 3 August 2018

Countries: UK and USA

By Angelo Boccato

Black_Lives_Matter_Black_and_WhiteWould Me Too and Black Lives Matter movements reach the same audience if they were not supported by the widespread use of hashtags on social media? Also, how important and significant is the online space provided by social media for marginalised groups?

The Pew Research Center published a report “Activism in the Social Media Age” claiming thatroughly half of black social media users say these platforms are personally important to them when it comes to expressing their political views or getting involved with issues they feel are important”. The publishing of the report coincided with the fifth anniversary of the use of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.

 
Serbian Tabloid’s Editor Guilty of Hate Speech PDF Print

Date: 30 July 2018

Country: Serbia

Serbia_Informer_Vucicevic“Informer” is a pro-government, pro-Putin tabloid that breached the Code of Ethics many times, as well as some basic rules of decency and good taste. Its editor Dragan Vucicevic was found guilty of hate speech after an NGO, Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR,) filled a lawsuit. The court decision warning Serbian media to sustain of spreading hate speech represents an important step, said the Media Diversity Institute (MDI) Western Balkans that has been running several projects on how to tackle hate speech.

 
Lesbian Batwoman Adds to Diversity on Screen PDF Print

Published: 27 July 2018

Region: Worldwide

By Angelo Boccato

BatwomanThere have been many TV and cinema comic-book adaptations featuring members of marginalised groups in lead roles. “Black Panther” movie based on Marvel Comics character of the same name, featuring predominantly black cast, “has demonstrated the strong economic power of diversity and inclusion on screen.” But will “Batwoman” prove that a lesbian superhero can be a commercial and critical success?

When it comes to on-screen adaptations, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and the DC Extended Universe seem to be competing on introducing new leads in terms of race and gender.

 
How a Bag Showed Lack of Diversity in the Newsroom PDF Print

Published: 13 July 2018

Country: UK and US

By Eline Jeanne

Kate_SpadeThe tragic death of Kate Spade ignited some to discuss the topic of newsroom diversity, specifically when it comes to those of a lower socio-economic background. Farai Chideya, American journalist and author, shared her thoughts of Twitter, expressing that she felt that Spade’s death was reported on with “class-based assumptions”. She references a specific newspaper lead, by the New York Times, which reads: “Buying a Kate Spade bag was a coming-of-age ritual for a generation of Americans.”

According to Chideya, the assumption that a whole generation of American’s was in the position to buy a Kate Spade bag, which average’s around $200 per bag, is a clear sign that the writer of the piece is not fully in touch with those who live in lower socio-economic brackets. Chadiya concludes: “Again, this is not about Kate Spade herself. It's about the signaling of privilege in news that should be for all. I am not against covering her death, but the paper might want to run an analysis on how this was covered and how it excludes audience.”

 
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