AJCS releases its first issue of Al Jazeera for Communications and Media Studies

4 January 2023

Al Jazeera Centre for Studies has released its first issue of Al Jazeera li Dirasat al-Itisal wa al-I’lam [Al Jazeera for Communications and Media Studies], a semi-annual peer-reviewed research journal that is dedicated to exploring and investigating media phenomena, analysing communication issues, and reflecting on their interaction with the variables of the media environment and its social, political, economic and cultural surroundings. The journal focuses on theoretical, applied and comparative studies and predictive research by adopting cross-disciplinary methodological approaches. Moreover, the journal will be a knowledge and scientific platform available to researchers and academics in this field, and a tributary to enrich the theoretical, methodological and applied intellectual production of media and communication, especially in light of the problems that this field is experiencing in the Arab world, the lack of creativity of academic institutions in scientific programmes, and the lack of developmental and future research.

The first issue of the journal includes scientific research and studies immersed in the current debate on media issues that are of wide interest to the research community, and stem from the journal’s aim to expand research on them through a multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary perspective and contribute to the enrichment of media knowledge by approaching the dimensions of research problems that present them. The first study, “The Crisis of the Arab Printed Press and the Difficulty of Transformation in the Digital Environment,” by Nacer Eddine Layadi focuses on understanding the causes of the fragility of the Arab press by highlighting the causal relationships of multiple variables, and analysing the factors of its continued adherence to the traditional model that defines what journalism, the journalist and readers are. The study attempts to answer a problematic question: Why is this press still facing the crisis that American and European newspapers managed to overcome? It converges with many studies that argue that the crisis of the Arab press is of a political and economic nature, as it is due to the absence of democracy in journalistic practice and the difficulty of building an alternative economic model.

The second study, “Towards Total Journalism: Journalism from a Future Perspective, by Sadok Hammami and Abdel Aziz Ktata deals with the developments of journalism in the context of technological transformations and the so-called information disorder. The study examines the most important international reports on global journalism trends, focusing on the problems addressed by eight international reports, such as the decline of the printed press and publicity and investment revenues; the competition of social and digital media platforms; risks to the press as a public facility; the decline of trust in the media; the impact of the continuous spread of fake and misleading news on journalists' role in the public sphere; transformations in the advertising market; the characteristics of new editorial innovations; and artificial intelligence. Ultimately, the study concludes that the approach of “total journalism” takes into account the combination of global normative principles on which the press is based and its political primary roles on the one hand, and the editorial and technological innovations that journalism needs to renew itself on the other.

The third study, “Fake News, Politicians’ Statements on Social Media Platforms and their Role in the Emergence of Fact-Checking Journalism Models in Yemen,” by Abdullah Salem Bakhuraisa investigates the role of fake news and politicians' statements on social media platforms in the emergence of the mechanisms of fact-checking and models of investigative journalism in Yemen. It was conducted on a purposive sample of 120 journalists working in Yemen, using the descriptive method to approach the dimensions of the research problem. Bakhuraisa finds that the spread of fake news and the statements of politicians in Yemen led to the interest of journalists in the process of verifying and investigating information, and that events in Yemen after 2011 helped the vast spread of information, images and videos on social media platforms.

The study conducted by Manal Al-Mazahreh, “The Problems of Arab Media Research and Methods of Developing in light of a New Digital Media Environment: A Critical and Analytical Vision,” seeks to identify the methodological problems faced by Arab media research in the context of the new digital environment based on a qualitative analysis of an intentional sample of Arab media research containing 66 studies, and a critical view that examines the compatibility of traditional approaches and theories with the digital environment and their ability to frame and analyse new phenomena. The study finds that most Arab media research given the new digital media environment relies on the survey method, and lacks diversity in the use of data collection tools. It also faces the problem of applying many of the theories that were used in traditional media research in new media. In addition, many studies are not based on theoretical insights.

In a book review of Media Futures: Theory and Aesthetics by Jens Schröter and Christoph Ernst, Mahmoud Galander approaches the future of media outlets from a theoretical and aesthetic standpoint by referring to imagination regarding the future as indicative of the current reality in the field of media. Therefore, it considers media the element through which the future can be controlled. The authors discuss the theories of imagination and their relation to the future of media, presenting four examples: imaginations related to interactive television and its relation to media art; “ubiquitous computing,” which still exists today; three-dimensional, holographic imagination seen in cinema; and contemporary imagination related to quantum computing and how it has been exhibited in science fiction. Additionally, the book focuses on treating technological developments in the world more than it looks into media outlets, and places more importance on technological aspects than people’s socio-cultural reality. In fact, it does not even address vital issues that are currently some of the most important issues pertaining to media, especially in its evolution towards social media.

Moreover, the first issue of Al Jazeera li Dirasat al-Itisal wa al-I’lam presents the first building block in the Modern Media Dictionary, a cognitive contribution to the lexical industry that achieves an accumulation of media knowledge as a scientific means of documenting the connection to its field of work. This gives readers a deep awareness of how the lexical system expresses the process of phenomena and the issues that it deals with through research on the origins of words, forming vocabulary and concepts, and investigating their historical development. The scientific material was prepared by Kamal Hamidou, former head of the Department of Mass Communication at Qatar University.

Researchers, experts and academics interested in contributing to and participating in the journal’s following issues are invited to contact the editor-in-chief at ajcm@aljazeera.net. The second issue will be released in June 2023. Research must be written in Arabic, original and conducted specifically for the journal. It must not be extracted from a university thesis, published in part or in whole in any paper or electronic publication, presented at a conference or submitted for publication in a periodical. It should also be between 7000 and 9000 words long including endnotes and references.

Click here to read (in Arabic) and/or download the issue.