Constructive Journalism in Arab Transitional Democracies: Perceptions, Attitudes and Performance

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Journalism & Mass Communication Department

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Rasha Allam

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Research Article

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Journalism Practice/ Routledge

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In the Arab region, unexpected political changes have influenced the media scene; political and commercial pressures exercised over media entities have affected their credibility and created a crisis of trust. This study focuses on Egypt and Tunisia as the first two Arab countries who experienced political uprisings in 2010/2011, and endured 30-year presidencies. It examines the role that constructive journalism can have during transitional periods given the critical role of media in transitional countries, highlights the possible challenges within the given political, economic context and changes in the media landscapes, and proposes a model of implementation. A total of 21 Egyptian and Tunisian journalists were interviewed for this study. Among the main identified roles of constructive journalism during transitional periods are: regaining audience trust and engagement, fighting terrorism, serving the public interest and reviving the economy of the mainstream media. Interviewees pointed to political power structures, private ownership and the possible negative connotations of the term constructive as the main challenges. An integrated strategy between the mainstream media and social media platforms based on the concept of “constructive-interactive” was proposed by the interviewees as the optimum model to pave the way for a reconciliation between media entities and their audiences.

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