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The use of the expression anti-Semitism to indicate hostility towards the Jews – only the Jews and not as generally thought towards all “Semitic” people – dates back to the second half of the 19th Century, when the word, a neologism derived from linguistics, was spread throughout...

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The Honor Code

Appeals to personal honor often seem to belong to the past, conjuring images of gentlemen in wigs dueling at dawn; or worse, of blood-soaked Achaeans storming the walls of Troy.

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The Mediterranean

Mediterranean: literally the sea in the middle of lands, a bordering sea, and linking these lands. This characteristic makes the Mediterranean a sea that does belong to all the countries overlooking it, but to none in particular, a shared sea, not available for becoming private property..

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It is possible to participate in a brutal event – such as gang rape, lynching, an ethnic cleansing operation – or in a humanitarian event – fund raising, collective adoption, sacrificing oneself in an exchange of prisoners..

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Fundamentalism means the literal and dogmatic interpretation of holy texts (but these may also be secular texts), the prescriptive indications of which are considered the foundations of all action.

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A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding

Media and Communication

Press and tv

Roger Ailes, the hawk who created Fox News, brought down by sexual harassment allegations

Chiara Galbersanini

Sexual harassment allegations by female employees have proved to be the downfall of Roger Ailes, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Fox News. They have resulted in his resignation after 20 years. Sexual harassment had been going on for a long time and, until now, kept under wraps.

Press and tv

Ailes, the spin-man from Nixon to Bush: a war machine takes the stage

Giancarlo Bosetti

Based on the book:Spin.Trucchi e tele-imbrogli della politica by Giancarlo Bosetti, published by Marsilio Editore, 2007.

press and tv

Volume trumps reality: on grievous distortions of reality

Jim Sleeper

We publish the review that Jim Sleeper wrote in 2013 for the Columbia Journalism Review on Zev Chafets's book Roger Ailes Off Camera.When I published Liberal Racism in 1997 (with a chapter on how The New York Times was misrepresenting racial politics under editorial-page editor Howell Raines), I was interviewed on Fox News, which I’d barely heard of, by Bill O’Reilly, whom I hadn’t heard of at all. The encounter was anodyne, but before long I noticed that the network was not. Under its president Roger Ailes, who had pitched his vision of Fox to a receptive Rupert Murdoch only a year before I met O’Reilly, it was rapidly becoming what Zev Chafets calls “transformational” in American media and political culture. By treating journalism as if it’s all about ratings and show, Fox actually makes a profoundly political statement by eviscerating what democratic politics really stands for.


Al Jazeera? Among the last in the ratings for Arab Spring countries

Alma Safira

Al Jazeera has started to show signs of weakness and this has taken place in the network’s own country where the channel expressed offence and amazement when a Doha newspaper dared publish data that did not suit the Emir’s network. According to the most recent report on “Media use in the Middle East” by the Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q), very few countries that experienced the Arab Spring consider Al Jazeera as a real source of information.

Media and intercultural dialogue

MedThinking Out of Mind, MedMedia Out of Sight

Mohammed Hashas

Socio-cultural, economic and political diversity of the Mediterranean (Med) basin does not seem to have been captured by the media. The visibility of Med space is obscured by its classical considerations that still do not think about it as a common space. A common Mediterranean culture is still invisible in mindscapes, though its landscape visibility is evident. Neither the media in the northern shore of the basin nor that in the southern shore has given it its due space. Common concerns of the Med countries and societies do not seem to have attracted media attention though the basin could confidently be called “the middle of the world,” as has the British novelist David Herbert Lawrence named it in one of his poems. The media still does not think Mediterranean.

Media and more

Between Diplomacy and Compromise: Promoting Media Freedom in Qatar

Ernesto Pagano interviews Jan Keulen, Director of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom

The Doha Centre for Media Freedom is an organization founded in 2008 with the political and financial support – a 4 million dollar annual budget – of Mozah bint el Misnid, the Emir of Qatar’s powerful wife. Its objective: to assist journalists whose lives are in danger and promote media freedom from the heart of the Persian Gulf. For two years Jan Keulen is at its head. Dutch, class of 1950 and a life spent as a Middle East correspondent for Volkskrant daily newspaper. 

Media and society

Al Jazeera America: no soft power, just business!

Azzurra Meringolo interviews Stan Collender, Al Jazeera America spokesperson

Time Warner Cable pulled the plug on Nobel Prize winner Al Gore’s Current TV just hours after news of the cable channel's sale to Al-Jazeera became official. After the Arab, English and Balkan channels, Al-Jazeera, which is also preparing to launch a Turkish-language channel, took a major leap into the US cable market on 2 January 2012, acquiring Current TV and announcing plans for a US based news network to be called Al-Jazeera America. Terms were undisclosed, but analysts told the deal could be worth an estimated 500 million dollars. The new channel will be headquartered in New York, but in addition to this existing bureau, others will be opened in Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago.

Media Freedom

Between Diplomacy and Compromise: Promoting Media Freedom in Qatar

Ernesto Pagano interviews Jan Keulen, Director of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom

The Doha Centre for Media Freedom is an organization founded in 2008 with the political and financial support – a 4 million dollar annual budget – of Mozah bint el Misnid, the Emir of Qatar’s powerful wife. Its objective: to assist journalists whose lives are in danger and promote media freedom from the heart of the Persian Gulf. For two years Jan Keulen is at its head. Dutch, class of 1950 and a life spent as a Middle East correspondent for Volkskrant daily newspaper. This is certainly not a simple task because prior to fighting for journalistic and media freedom in the world, Qatar, Al Jazeera’s homeland, finds itself fighting against its own same contradictions: a forty year old press law, a marked attitude of self-censorship by local media and a closure towards freedom of expression by the country’s more conservative fringes. Unsurprisingly, the Doha Centre’s former director, Robert Ménard, founder of Reporters without Borders was accused by the Qatari press of having invited “the Devil in person”, Flemming Rose, director of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that published the infamous satirical cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in 2005, to Doha. Ménard denied this incident in his book Mirages et Cheikhs en Blanc. According to the French journalist this was just a pretext to be rid of an uncomfortable presence for some elements of the country’s ruling class. In 2009, in fact, little more than a year after the Doha Centre’s inauguration, Ménard handed in his resignations

The opinion

Arab Media, Islamism and Sectarian Hatred Rhetoric

Brahim El Guabli

The Arab media are steering political discourse to a direction totally contradictory to the spirit of the Arab uprisings. Arabs came together, regardless of their religious and ethnic affiliation, to overthrow the dictatorships and establish democratic states where individuals are valued and respected as citizens. They wanted to put an end to the culture of subjecthood. But reality is staggering and disappointing sometimes. What we are witnessing these days is a rhetorical shift from the peaceful revolution, which is a patchwork, made of all Arab social and religious fabric, to the revival of old-fashioned confessional, religious and ethnic discords.

IT AR Arab Spring

Considerations on Publishing in the Arab World

Amara Lakhous

The proliferation of totalitarian regimes in the Arab world has certainly not helped the publishing industry. Perhaps the Arab spring, with the emergence of more democratic political systems, will help overcome censorship. However, the reemergence of the book, being not only a cultural but also a commercial product, will also depend on the fate of the markets.

IT The media's spring

Tunisia, Egypt and Libya: the challenge posed by freedom of the press

Ilaria Romano

For years, in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, television and national newspapers have acted as the loudspeakers for those in power. [...] The risk is that now the protests may mean a transition from total control over information to an indiscriminate and not always verifiable flow of news. Seeing what followed the street protests in the current international intervention in Libya, future leaders in Egypt and Tunisia may not allow the gates to freedom of the press to be opened completely. In Egypt the army has dismantled the Ministry of Information but has appointed a supervisor for radio and television.

IT Interview

The lies of power no longer work

Steven Livingston talks to Mauro Buonocore

"We are all Khaled Said". There was a young 28-year-old man who kept united the protesters filling the Egyptian squares to oppose Mubarak. Tortured and killed by policemen who wanted to search him at an internet café in the suburbs of Alexandria last June, Khaled was at the heart of mobilization. His name united an entire people, who allowed him to speak out with one single voice to say "enough" to the regime’s abuse of power. The images of his tortured body circulated the country and were shared online by millions of Egyptians. Beaten up and killed, probably because he wanted to post online a video showing two policemen involved in drug trafficking, Khaled’s name has been used for the Facebook page around which protesters gathered to then physically take to the streets to oppose Mubarak and his system. Would all this have taken place even without Facebook, Twitter and other social networks? According to Steven Livingston, professor at George Washington University and an expert on the way in which the media influences mechanisms in democracies, the answer is linked to technology, more specifically to multiple technologies, such as mobile phones, computers, satellites and cables for the high-speed transmission of data. All this creates a new environment for news that allows citizens to be more aware of what is happening around them and demand power to be more transparent, open and efficient. This provides an immense opportunity for democracies in emerging countries, as the American professor stated in a recent study entitled Africa’s Evolving Infosystems: A Pathway to Stability and Development. He emphasizes the manner in which digital media increase the possibility of creating health systems, helping the agricultural produce market, setting up banking services as well as improving public security and the very quality of democracy itself.

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