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New media and Islamism in the Arab Winter: A case study of Huda TV in pre-revolutionary Egypt

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Although Islam promises to play an increasing role in the public life of Muslim societies, scholarly analysis often falls short in comprehending the complex and diverse nature of this revival. As Middle Eastern societies open to wider public participation, the emergence of an active Muslim polity seems irrepressible. Yet onlookers from afar worry that Islam will only find political expression through narrow and intolerant ideologies that subvert democratic principles. This article seeks to understand the complex evolution of Islamism, and explain how its restricted and often superficial expression through media may reflect a stunted beginning rather than a permanent state of regressive fundamentalism. Through a case study of Huda TV in the era immediately preceding the rise of social media, this article shows how the powerfully repressive context of Middle Eastern media ensured the enduring stagnation of a nascent political discourse.

Keywords: Arab media; Egypt; Huda TV; Islam; Islamism; Muslim Brotherhood

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Chicago, USA

Publication date: March 20, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The emergence of satellite TV, the internet and digital technology have dramatically changed the way audiences receive information and interact with the media. The sudden success of Al-Jazeera and other Arab broadcasters have altered the way the Arab world narrates itself and reports news from the region to the rest of the world. The journal aims to lead the debate about these emerging rapid changes in media and society in Arab and Muslim parts of the world.
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