Middle Eastern Politics in Theory and Practice

Monday, 03. March 2014

by Daniel Davis Wood

Late last year, a number of journalists working for the Al Jazeera news network were arrested and imprisoned in Egypt. Then, last week, Al Jazeera launched a "global day of action" to encourage journalists around the world to condemn the arrests and show solidarity with the prisoners, and students in the Ecole's Middle Eastern Politics course decided to take part.

"A lot of the students felt strongly about it," says Alex Cosh, the course leader, "especially because Al Jazeera is one of the key sources which students in this course use in their research and written work. The idea was that people all over the world tweeted pictures of themselves holding the #FreeAJStaff banner in support of imprisoned journalists in Egypt. It was also a great opportunity for the students to see how social networking can be used to influence politics."

The photograph above shows the class participants standing in front of the #FreeAJStaff hashtag. The white paint symbolizes the silencing of the arrested journalists and calls attention to the consequent infringement on free speech. From left to right: Leo, Hassib (bottom), Eddie, Alex, Sebastian, Julius, Dominik, and Mats.