From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER113

Most readers are only too familiar with the litany of harassments endured by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, from restrictions on personal freedoms to attacks on institutions and confiscation of land. Nonetheless, for the purposes of building campaigns to support Palestinian rights, and for a dearer understanding of the workings of the occupation, it is worth focusing on particular violations that are significant both for the victims and for that much-evoked phantasm, “world public opinion.”

Western Silence on Turkey

by David Barchard
published in MER121

About July 20, 1983, a BBC television news crew filming outside Istanbul’s Metris prison found itself confronted by difficulties which, one of the crew said, he had never experienced even in the Soviet Union. During a subsequent flurry of messages between the crew, the British Embassy in Ankara, and the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the crew learned that they were supposed to work with a Turkish plainclothes policeman permanently at their side (or if they wished, following at a distance). The Foreign Ministry also indicated that the crew might have had an easier time had they not chosen to be accompanied by the present writer, the Ankara stringer for the BBC as well as for other newspapers and broadcasting organizations. The message was duly relayed to the crew.

Title VI and Middle East Studies: What You Should Know

by Bekah Wolf | published November 14, 2014 - 5:04pm

In the past few years, pro-Israel groups have mounted an escalating and concerted effort to set the contours of scholarly debate about Israel on American campuses. This fall, two such organizations, the AMCHA Initiative and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, are lobbying Congress and the Department of Education to punish Middle East studies centers that present alternatives to staunchly pro-Israel viewpoints. The lobbying campaign demands that the Education Department stop federal funding to these centers under Title VI of the Higher Education Act or engage in intrusive oversight of the departments to assure the prevalence of viewpoints more sympathetic to Israeli government policies. The Higher Education Act is up for Congressional reauthorization this year.

The Latest Iranian Distractions

by Norma Claire Moruzzi | published June 9, 2014 - 11:22am

While senior Iranian and US officials are planning bilateral talks over Iran’s nuclear research program, the Iranian and world media are distracted by other issues: young women who post images of themselves without hejab on Facebook, and a video of six well-heeled youths dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy.” The gyrating youngsters were arrested and compelled to issue an apology on state television for what authorities said was a “vulgar clip” th

Benvenisti, Israeli Censorship of Arab Publications

by Sarah Graham-Brown
published in MER136

Meron Benvenisti, Israeli Censorship of Arab Publications: A Survey (New York: Fund for Free Expression, 1984).

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The Mind of the Censor

by
published in MER138

Gaza Ghetto, a documentary film about a Palestinian family in the occupied Gaza Strip by MERIP editor Joan Mandell and Swedish filmmakers Pea Holmquist and Pierre Bjorklund, premiered in Stockholm in November 1984. In January 1985, a Palestinian theater company in Jerusalem, El-Hakawati, purchased a copy and screened it for the press. The theater then presented Gaza Ghetto to the Israeli Council for Censorship of Films and Plays, as required of all films before public screening. On February 6, 1985, the council for censorship banned the film in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Israeli lawyer Avigdor Feldman appealed the ban on behalf of El-Hakawati on April 15, but a lower court upheld the decision.

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Iranian Cyber-Struggles

by Narges Bajoghli | published May 3, 2012

From the Green Movement in Iran in 2009 through the Arab revolts that began in 2011, social media have held center stage in coverage of popular protest in the Middle East. Though the first flush of overwrought enthusiasm is long past, there is consensus that Facebook, Twitter and other Web 2.0 applications, particularly on handheld devices, have been an effective organizing tool against the slower-moving security apparatuses of authoritarian states. The new technology has also helped social movements to tell their story to the outside world, unhindered by official news blackouts, unbothered by state censors and unfiltered by the traditional Western media.

Gulf War Journalism

by Barbara Harlow
published in MER180

John J. Fialka, Hotel Warriors: Covering the Gulf War (Woodrow Wilson Center, 1991).

John R. MacArthur, Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War (Hill and Wang, 1992).

Jacqueline Sharkey, Under Fire: US Military Restrictions on the Media from Grenada to the Persian Gulf (Center for Public Integrity, 1992).

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An Open Letter to a Jailed Iranian Writer

by Andrew Whitley
published in MER191

Dear Dr. Saidi Sirjani:

For almost 20 years now, I have known and admired you and your writings. Whatever your detractors may say, Ali Akbar Saidi Sirjani cannot justly be accused of partisanship. I have known you as a fierce critic of Mohammad Reza Shah’s insufferable pretensions and intolerance of dissent, and later as an equally sharp thorn in the side of the Islamic government. May the nib of your pen never be blunted!

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Satellite Television and Development in the Middle East

by Naomi Sakr
published in MER210

Upon hearing a Dutch diplomat recite a dismal litany of statistics indicating the current social and economic plight of most Middle Eastern states, a Jordanian academic heaved a sigh. “This is a triple tragedy,” she said. “Not only are the figures bad, but they have to be collated by foreign agencies while governments in the region keep people in the dark.”