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[ecrea] CFP_IJoC_ Gulf Crisis

Fri Nov 03 07:06:38 GMT 2017

“The Gulf Information War and the Role of Media and Communication Technologies”

An /International Journal of Communication/ (IJoC) Special Section on the recent Arab Gulf crisis.

Submission Deadline: January 30, 2018.
Guest Editors: Ilhem Allagui and Banu Akdenizli

We welcome submissions on the ongoing Gulf crisis and its sequels in the Gulf and Arab region.

The air and trade blockade on Qatar from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, has entered its fourth month now; experts say that it has been the most severe crisis among the GCC countries so far, and another example of geopolitical/regional union gone astray.

The usual narrative about Arabian Gulf countries has been one of unity, close relationships, and mutual understanding be it on the economic, cultural, or socio-political level. Article 4 of the GCC charter speaks about a cooperative framework of “coordination, integration and inter-connection among the Member States in all fields in order to achieve unity”.

The blockade proves that the aspired unity is probably a myth or … just a narrative. For decades, and especially since Al-Jazeera’s establishment, GCC states have been expressing malaise and criticism towards Qatar urging its leaders to control Al-Jazeera’s coarse voice towards Arab regimes. Qatar’s diverse outreach initiatives, partnerships and alliances as well as its plans of self-preservation put Saudi Arabia’s geopolitics at unease, as evidenced by the punitive Saudi-led coalition against Qatar.

As quite it is often the case, populations trapped in this conflict turned to social media and networking sites to not only show loyalty to their respective leaders but to also engage in heated conversations with their regional neighbors.

Internet access has seen dramatic growth in the Gulf region: according to the ITU (2016) the percentage of individuals using the internet in Bahrain is at 98%, with Qatar closely following at 94%, United Arab Emirates at 91% and Saudi Arabia, 74%. Similarly, the use of social media has increased in the recent years, with now 99 % of individuals using social media in each of Qatar and the UAE, 78% in Bahrain and 59 % in Saudi Arabia (We Are Social, 2017). Qatar leads the penetration of social media on mobile with 95 %, while the UAE records 88, Bahrain 63, and Saudi Arabia 49 % of their populations using social media on mobiles (We Are Social and Hootsuite, 2017). Such high connectivity has the advantage of enabling civic participation especially in times of crisis, but it also comes with prejudice. Hacking represents a significant threat in the Gulf region, as evidenced by the repetitive cyber-attacks on regional financial institutions as well as media institutions including AlJazeera and more recently the Qatar News Agency, which was the spark of the Gulf crisis.

As of this writing, the outcome of this crisis remains to be seen, and its potential aftermath calls for inquiry.   Media and social media played an important role in escalating animosity between the countries’ populations, with some asperity. Bloggers and influencers have been at the upfront of societal conversations and confrontations. Aside from political intermediation, the governments have spent millions on media, lobbyists and consultants to influence the West and polish one’s image or even tarnish the other’s image.  Government agencies and representatives themselves are engaging in public and digital diplomacy efforts to manage their reputation and the crisis. Needless to say, there are many stakeholders when it comes to how the crisis is being played out in the digital landscape.

This Special Section of the IJoC about the Gulf crisis welcomes submissions that focus on any aspect of media, political communication, social media, public relations, or related topics. This is an opportunity to reflect on topics such as information war, public diplomacy, nation branding, political communication and conflict resolution from various perspectives. We are interested in theoretical as well as empirical papers that use comparative approaches, rhetorical analysis, semiotics, critical analysis, and we welcome other approaches as well that attempt to explain and reflect upon the Gulf crisis.

Topics could include but are not restricted to:

  * Media role/use in crisis
  * Social media role/use in crisis
  * Al-Jazeera’s role and impact on the crisis
  * Coverage of Gulf crisis in national and/or international media
  * Public diplomacy
  * Reputation management
  * Nation branding
  * Agenda setting and framing
  * Gulf information war, past and present
  * Public sphere, political participation
  * Identity and representation

The submissions, empirical or theoretical of 5000–7,000 words should follow the APA style (6th Ed.). See the author guidelines at Submissions will undergo double-blind peer review.

Please send submissions by January 2018 to: Ilhem Allagui at (ilhem.allagui /at/ <mailto:(ilhem.allagui /at/> and Banu Akdenizli at (banu.akdenizli /at/ We look forward to your articles for this Special Section.

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