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The Media's Role in Shaping Political Culture in the Middle East and North Africa

The Arab Spring powerfully uprooted several long-standing authoritarian governments in the Middle East and North Africa, led to elections in Tunisia and Egypt and motivated some states to initiate reforms.

A free and responsible media have been and are still crucial in helping the Arab states on their path to democracy. But while social media played an important part in the uprisings, they do not seem to be able to promote active political participation, generate real leadership and form alliances, leaving a gap between the virtually connected youth and the obsolete political institutions.

So what role do both traditional and social media play in the process of shaping a new political culture in the Middle East and North Africa? What needs to change in the political and societal framework so that they can assume their role? What is the perception of Arab media in comparison with Western media in this process? What is different in how social media are used to shape the political culture after as compared to before and during the uprisings? How are the new regimes handling the media? And what effect does the change in the political landscape have on the training of journalists and the quality of news reporting?

Participants representing civil society, politics and the media from Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco (tbc) will discuss these questions and analyze the situation in their respective countries, offering interesting insights and perspectives.

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