Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Media Politics and Democracy in Palestine: Political Culture, Pluralism, and the Palestinian Authority by Amal Jamal (Sussex Academic Press)
This book examines the Palestinian process of state formation and the prospects for democracy in a future Palestinian state in terms of the role media institutions play in the conflicting aims of civil organizations and social movements, and the political regime. While the dominant national elite attempt to define the structure of the regime, liberal as well as Islamic social forces promote policies of protest and resistance, through media tools, against the authoritarian policies of the Palestinian Authority. The media is viewed as a public sphere in which these forces compete. Media institutions play an important role in setting the parameters of communication in processes of state building: promoting public debate and forming public spheres influence the modes of state-civil society relations. By combining concepts of political communication with social movement theory, the author examines the extent to which public opinion plays a role in determining the character of the political regime-the rising tension between the Palestinian Authority's attempts to deepen its control over society and to centralize its power, and the reaction to this development by opposition groups. The Islamic movement, the women's movement, and the liberal-democratic intellectual elite are assessed through their media institutions and communication policies, to reveal the character of the emerging Palestinian public sphere. The concept of "media regime" is introduced as an operational model, which enables this study of Palestinian politics to contribute to political communication theory in particular, and comparative politics in general.