Understanding Emerging Media: Voice, Agency, and Precarity in the Post-2011 Arab Mediasphere

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Understanding Emerging Media: Voice, Agency, and Precarity in the Post-2011 Arab Mediasphere


  • Yazan Badran Echo, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium / imec-SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium


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Abstract:  The decade following the 2010–2011 Arab uprisings saw a flourishing of emerging media organisations across the region. The most recognisable examples of these new independent media actors include Enab Baladi in Syria, Mada Masr in Egypt, and Inkyfada in Tunisia. However, this phenomenon comprises a much more diverse set of actors from small-scale associative radio stations in Tunisia to numerous exilic Syrian media outlets. Building on previous research as well as recent fieldwork in Tunisia and Turkey, this article is an attempt to make sense of the genesis, development, and relevance of this new class of media actors. We argue that these emerging media organisations can be seen to represent specific interventions into the politics of voice in their various national and local contexts, but ones that share similar logics. To elucidate this argument, we propose a multi-dimensional understanding of these interventions that brings together voices (actors, issues, discourses), modalities of voice (organisational models, values, production value), and the underlying political economy of these emerging media (funding, institutionalisation). However, the article also argues that these interventions, and the logics they share, themselves belie a complex interaction between the political and professional agency and precarity of these media organisations and the individuals, and groups, behind them. We believe that combining these two perspectives is a necessary step for a more nuanced understanding of the nature and practice of these emerging media organisations.

Keywords:  Arab uprisings; emerging media; institutionalisation; media development; MENA; politics of voice; professionalisation

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v9i4.4475


© Yazan Badran. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.