Building Bridges through Meaning Creation: Arab Journalists in Inter-Cultural E-xchange
Presenter: Pawel Krzysiek
University of Westminster
Theme: Cultural Exchange for Tolerance, Understanding and Peace
A failure of bi-polar communication order has paved the way for a new global mediascape in which regional realities have dynamically emerged. An increasing regionalization of these media spheres has determined a necessary demand for intercultural mediators able to face the challenges of growing cultural tensions at the media level. The 2006 cartoon crisis highlighted a communication gap between Arab and Western media. Two years later, discrepancies in media coverage on the conflict in Gaza sadly confirm that this situation has remained unchanged. Drawing on Bourdieu’s notion of journalists as ‘cultural intermediaries’, this paper is based on qualitative interviews with Arab English-language journalists from Jordan, Lebanon and Syria that investigate contribution of these journalists to intercultural exchange of ideas. While expressing their belonging to the Arab world, these journalists consider themselves as ‘intercultural intermediaries’ predisposed to fill the knowledge gap between the Arab and Western cultures. In order to ‘build trans-cultural bridges’, they perform conciliatory functions that help reduce the cultural tensions on the media level. Scrutinizing these journalists’ memoirs, this paper highlights also their expectations towards intercultural exchange thereby drawing up some important guidelines for the future trans-cultural media training programmes.