What's the Line?

Egypt and the Diplomatic Beat

by Peter Hart
published in MER258

Much of what was written from Egypt on and after January 25, 2011 was captivating and intense -- as one might expect from reporters witnessing a democratic movement overthrowing a dictator. But the Beltway reporting that tried to explain US policy was another matter.

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Revolution and Counter-Revolution in the Egyptian Media

by Ursula Lindsey | published February 15, 2011

It took 18 days of mass mobilization, the deaths of hundreds and the wounding of thousands, the crippling of Egypt’s tourism industry and the crash of its stock market, to bring an end to the 30-year presidency of Husni Mubarak. And almost every minute of the revolution was televised.

Tunisia's Post-Ben Ali Challenge

A Primer

by Amy Aisen Kallander | published January 26, 2011

The January 14 departure of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali amidst popular protests was a long overdue demonstration of the possibility for genuine democratization in the Arab world. Mohamed Bouazizi, the street vendor whose self-immolation set off the protests, tapped a deep vein of anger in Tunisian society at police harassment and the general arbitrariness of the state, but also at severe, endemic economic inequality sharpened now by rising global food prices. It remains to be determined, however, to what degree the toppling of Ben Ali will transform Tunisia into a representative democracy whose citizens enjoy greater economic opportunities. Ben Ali was the head of a system of one-party rule, and that system did not board a private plane along with him and his immediate entourage as they headed into exile.

Pushing Back the Limits of the Possible

The Press in Iran

by Zarir Merat
published in MER212

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"The Conservatives Have Misjudged"

A Conversation with Ahmad Bourghani

by Kaveh Ehsani
published in MER212

During his brief tenure as vice minister of Islamic guidance and culture, Ahmad Bourghani oversaw the issuance of hundreds of press permits and the flowering of an independent Iranian press for the first time since 1979.

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Iranian Press Update

by Ramin Karimian , Sha'banali Bahrampour
published in MER212

The press has played a crucial role in advancing Iran’s emerging reformist agenda. Following the initial wave of attacks on the reformist press, which culminated in the closure of Jame’eh and Tous in the summer of 1998, a second crop of independent dailies appeared in late 1998. These papers exposed Intelligence Ministry agents’ involvement in the political assassinations of reformist intellectuals and activists in late 1998.