Why Jordan's banning of Mashrou' Leila is problematic
Within hours of reports that the Governor of Amman, Khaled Abu Zaid, had, at the behest of a member of parliament – cancelled the much-anticipated concert of the Lebanese band, Mashrou’ Leila, due to the band’s work being “incompatible” with Jordanian customs and traditions – waves of dissent echoed through social media.
“If this is about our customs, why do they allow for scanty artists to play in hotels and nightclubs?” asked one citizen. “Culture cannot thrive where ignorance is shoved so far down your throat until you’re forced to call it tradition,” wrote Ban Barkawi. “The issue isn’t just about the lack of respect towards art and music,” said Jordanian musician Yacoub Abu Ghosh, “The issue is about a direct attack on the constitution and law that guarantees freedom of expression.”
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The making of a hasbara superstar, Israel's new ambassador to the UK
I’m not sure Mark Regev is a name Israelis are too familiar with. But around the world he seems to be one of the people most closely identified with this country, and certainly with its recent governments. A Google News search for “Mark Regev” produces only 180 results in Hebrew, but roughly 12,000 in English. Pretty bizarre for a man who worked so closely with Israeli governments over the last decade, yet not too surprising considering the focus of his work.
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Censorship, Iranian style: the working journalist in an atmosphere of terror
When political and cultural battles become intertwined and journalists must engage on both fronts, the media is bound to become a battleground as well. Journalists are sent to prison and the sword seeks to rule the pen by censorship or by force. Along the way, rulers have shut down hundreds of newspapers and magazines, tens of journalists have lost their lives, hundreds of writers have spent years in prisons, and many have taken shelter at home or become exiles.
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