(Feb. 10, 2012) Journalists across the Muslim world are in need of political and practical support in the face of a backlash from governments struggling to undermine the media revolution sweeping the Middle East, Southeast and South Asia, according to a new report released by The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
The report, which focuses on the intersection of media and policy in the Muslim world, is the product of a retreat which brought together 22 policymakers, ambassadors, journalists, and media development experts from the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia, the United States, and Europe.
“It’s not just about revolutions, governments across the region are recalibrating how policy is shaped and implemented in the face of aggressive scrutiny by this new media landscape,” said Lawrence Pintak, PhD, founding dean of Murrow College, who convened the gathering and supervised a series of surveys of Arab, Indonesian and Pakistan journalists that provided the starting point for the discussions.
Participants at the retreat, held in October 2011 at The Pocantico Center, a conference center on the grounds of the Rockefeller family compound on New York’s Hudson River, discussed ways in which the evolution of media has played a role in shaping policy in the Arab world, Pakistan, and Indonesia. They also compared notes on the various media wars currently underway in the region, from aggressive attempts by the Syrian government to distribute disinformation through social media to the propaganda battle between the Pakistan civilian and military authorities playing out on satellite TV talk shows.
Recommendations from the report include more enriched training for journalists, news organizations, and media advocacy groups, and more locally targeted messaging from Western government officials. The report, which was written by Dean Pintak and Stephen Franklin, a former Chicago Tribune Middle East correspondent, will be used at future international conferences to prompt further discussion.
This report was made possible with support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The opinions and views of the authors do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Fund.