Dynamics of Change: Media and the Public Sphere in Egypt

Die Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA) hält vom 8.-10. Dezember 2016 eine Konferenz zum Thema ‚Dynamics of Change: Media and the Public Sphere in Egypt‚ ab.

Das Programm:

Thursday, December 8th



Visit of German Media Institutions


die tageszeitung – taz

Venue: DGAP, Rauchstraße 17, 10787 Berlin
19.00-21.00 Keynote Speech

Sahar Khamis, University of Maryland

“Journalism in the Transformative Egyptian Landscape: Changes, Challenges, and Future Prospects”

Comment by Dina Fakoussa, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)

Friday, December 9th
Venue: L 113 Seminarzentrum, Freie Universität Berlin, Habelschwerdter Allee 45
14195 Berlin-Dahlem
09.00 – 10.30 Introduction: Media in Egypt – Academic Perspectives

  • Hanan Badr & Carola Richter, Freie Universität Berlin
  • Gamal Soltan & Yosra El Gendi, American University in Cairo
11.00-12.30 Panel 1: Media Systems in Transformation from a Comparative Perspective

Egyptian media are not the first to be on a shaky transformation path. We will investigate how other media systems have managed transformation and which major challenges are to be faced. Finally, we will ask what can be learned from other experiences for Egypt?

Moderator: Carola Richter, Freie Universität Berlin/ AGYA

  • Fatima El Issawi, London School of Economics: “Perspectives from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia”
  • Judith Lohner, University of Hamburg: “Conflict Journalism in Kenya, Serbia and South Africa: Roles, Challenges, Constraints”
  • Anna Litvinenko, Freie Universität Berlin: „Perspectives from Russia“
13.30- 15.00 Panel 2: Professional Margins and Constraints from within the Journalistic System

Journalism has other constraints beyond the political pressures. This panel wants to focus on various constraints that derive from the audience expectations, financial factors, access to information and finally gender aspects.


Moderator: Hanan Badr, Freie Universität Berlin/ AGYA

  • Ashraf Amin, Al-Ahram newspaper, Cairo: “Challenges and opportunities of being a Science journalist in Egypt“
  • Hisham Allam, Journalist, Cairo: “Constraints of Investigative Journalism in Egypt and the Arab World”
  • Basma Mostafa, Journalist, Cairo: “To publish or not to publish? Gatekeeping processes in journalism inside the newsroom”
15.30-17.30 Roundtable Discussion 1: New spaces in the Public Sphere: Local and Community Media

Local media constitute new communicative spaces at a micro-level. They challenge mainstream mass media by their proximity to the audience and relevance of topics of everyday life. Yet, lack of resources and political pressures pose challenges for independent reporting. This panel scrutinizes the opportunities and challenges of local media in the Egyptian and Tunisian public sphere.

Moderator: May Elmahdi-Lichtsteiner, Journalist Zurich

  • Tarek Atia, EMDP & Mantiqti newspaper, Cairo
  • Naila Hamdy, American University in Cairo
  • Asma Labidi, Journalist, Tunis
  • Peter Trzka, Axel-Springer-Publishing House, Berlin
Saturday, December 10th
Venue: L 113 Seminarzentrum, Freie Universität Berlin, Habelschwerdter Allee 45
14195 Berlin-Dahlem
09.00 – 10.30 Panel 3: State Media or Public Media? Context and Functions in the Public Sphere

Both state media and public media are important players in respective national public spheres. We are going to ask what role these media forms actually play and ought to play in their countries. Which model suits which context?

Moderator: Carola Richter, Freie Universität Berlin/ AGYA

  • Barbara Thomaß, Ruhr-Universität Bochum: “Overview: Public Media in a European Perspective”
  • Nadia Leihs, Technische Universität Dortmund: “Analysing State Media Houses in Egypt”
  • Hisham Kassem, Publisher Cairo: „Do we still need State Media Institutions?“
  • Amr El Shobaki (MP), Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies Cairo: “Functions of the State Media in the Egyptian Context”
11.30-13.00 Panel 4: Civil Society and the Media in Egypt: Actors or Reactors?

We are employing a broad definition of the concept of “civil society” reaching from journalist union’s engagement to youth and their specific usage of new social media to cultural actors and their representation. How are civil society actors coping and working with the current political and media landscape?

Moderator: Anna Antonakis, Freie Universität Berlin

  • Nadine Abdalla, Political Scientist, Cairo: “The Journalists‘ Syndicate as a Contentious Actor: Strategies, Framings and Challenges”
  • Marwa Hafez, Cairo University: “Youth, Social Media and Political Participation after January 25”
  • Ghada El Sherbiny, Goethe Institute Cairo: „Media and Culture: Intertwined Relations in the Egyptian Public Sphere“
14.00-16.00 Roundtable Discussion 2: The Future of Journalism in Egypt: Where is the Profession heading to?

Uncertainty looms over the profession suffering from multiple crises, foremost financial crisis, polarization, waning credibility, ethical challenges, as well as questions of independence. The roundtable discussion sketches out possible developments shaping the media landscape in Egypt. The practice and teaching of journalism is facing serious challenges. What role do public media play in this context? How can Egyptian journalism help society to regulate the social order in peaceful conflict resolution?

Moderator: May Elmahdi-Lichtsteiner, Journalist, Zurich

  • Dina Maher, Freelance writer, Cairo
  • Ezzat Ibrahim, Al-Ahram newspaper, Cairo
  • Khaled El-Baramawy, Egyptian Initiative of Egyptian Editors, Cairo
16.00-16.15 Concluding Remarks

Hanan Badr & Carola Richter, Freie Universität Berlin