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Communicating with Power


Edited By Cherian George

Communication is ubiquitous and information is abundant. Political and economic markets are more open than they have ever been. Yet, there is no escaping the fact that communication continues to flow across fields where power is distributed unevenly. This collection of articles analyzes and responds to asymmetries of power in a diversity of contexts. They are drawn from presentations at the 2016 Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, held in Fukuoka, Japan. The conference theme presented an opening for scholars from various disciplines and academic traditions to engage with the questions of power at different levels of analysis—from micro sites of power like a doctor’s consultation room, to the geopolitical arenas where nations wage war, make peace, and spy on one another. The resulting collection straddles different methodologies and styles, from survey research to essays. Leading scholars and junior researchers have combined to create a volume that reflects the breadth of communication scholarship and its contemporary concerns.

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Chapter Three: The Politics of Recognition and the Safety of Syrian Media Practitioners (Omar Al-Ghazzi)


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The Politics OF Recognition AND THE Safety OF Syrian Media Practitioners


Syrian media activist Khaled Al-Issa was killed by a bomb that detonated outside his place of residence on 24 July 2016 in Aleppo. It targeted him and another opposition activist. He passed away days later in a Turkish hospital—demonstrating once again the courage and sacrifice of many Syrians putting their lives on the line in support of the Syrian uprising and in order to get the word out on atrocities happening there. Khaled was one of 16 Syrians I interviewed as part of a larger research study I am conducting about what Syrian opposition media activists think of their media activity in relation to their understanding of journalism. Fundamentally, the project is about plotting the power configurations that impact the reporting of Syria from the perspective of media practitioners. More specifically, the theme of safety will be the focus of this essay. I have sought to comprehend how Syrian media practitioners conceive of the power structures and manifestations that impact the risks of their work and what they think can be done to make it safer.

Based on the interviews I have conducted so far, this essay highlights the discursive and the physical power dynamics that impact the safety of media practitioners. It suggests that media activists, whose lives are constantly threatened, are also expected to engage in the discursive labour...

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