The MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region is in a critical moment in its information and news ecology, exhibiting signs of pretruth and posttruth syndromes. Between the “pretruth” and “posttruth” there is a gap that circumvented “truth.” The state of information in the MENA region brings back the dystopian Orwellian notion of the “Ministry of Truth.” A poetic term in anticipation of this moment of the crisis of truth. Sharing the latter with the rest of the world, the pretruth moment is engraved in the region's history of precarious political and religious authoritarian control and manipulation of information and news and low press freedom. In the region, truth is told, hidden, distorted, and manufactured by a blend of humans and bots, where both artificial intelligence and social humans are involved in this process of multipolarized disinformation operations with multifarious sponsors, actors, and beneficiaries that have distinct and often clashing agendas and interests. To understand the ecology of truth, facts, news, and information in the Middle East, studies ought to be situated within the ecosystem of information and media technologies in the globalized national and transnational societies of the region and consider both the role of the regionally oriented neoauthoritarian regimes and that of interested rising and established global powers. Central to this ecosystem is the dynamic interaction among three actors: communication technologies (the focus here is on the Internet); media, public, and activists' use of these technologies to mobilize, inform, and present alternative narratives, and to resist or confirm state narratives; and the authoritarian political regimes and their containment strategies for legacy media (particularly television) and the Internet.
Al-Najjar, A. (2021), "The Pretruth Era in MENA, News Ecology, and Critical News Literacy", Grech, A. (Ed.) Media, Technology and Education in a Post-Truth Society (Digital Activism and Society: Politics, Economy And Culture In Network Communication), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 55-72. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80043-906-120211005
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