Under President Hassan Rouhani, cultural freedoms have continued to expand. Legal Persian pop music is now widespread and pop concerts are regularly held in various cities around the country. However, securing a permit for hip-hop concerts remains difficult. Although the state has taken some steps to release the pressure on rap music, normalization of hip-hop continues to be a challenge.
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Egyptian rap maintained its fervor once the Muslim Brotherhood under Mohamed Morsi came to power in 2012. Artists became more focused on including nuance in their music. However, Everything changed in June 2013, when General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi overthrew Mohamed Morsi. Rappers wrote lyrics about Poverty, police brutality,state corruption and sexual harassment.
An open appeal addressed primarily to the king by journalists, intellectuals and artists sought to calm the situation in the Rif region. The appeal, which was circulated on Facebook, called on the king to intervene ‘directly or indirectly to reassure public opinion, using the language of productive dialogue and positive interaction and to ensure that the promises made are kept.
Still, Shabayek sees some – albeit small – changes brought about by the revolution. Women are more willing to speak out and share their stories; the audience is more open to accepting them. “The revolution has left us feeling empowered when it comes to self-expression. There is a change in people at least, even if the system is the same or maybe worse.”
As a resident of many countries and a visitor to many more, Bawab will always carry several flags, highlighting her international and fluid character. Yet one of these flags will always be Palestinian. She is a tireless advocate for peace, and hopes that through her voice and music, she will be able to shed a light on the part of the world she comes from.
The Palestinian media environment is not conducive to freedom of expression. It is dominated by partisan reporting and undue influence from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, in addition to external interference from Israel. Both in the West Bank and Gaza, ruling authorities maintain close control over the content that is produced. The Israeli military is also able to regulate Palestine’s media output by enacting anti-incitement procedures against outspoken journalists.
In her poem, Tatour praises the Palestinian resistance against Israel. She does not live in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip; she was born in a village near Nazareth, northern Israel. The poem not only criticizes the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, it also questions Israel’s legitimacy. For example, she calls for an ‘Arab Palestine’.
Qatar’s 21st-century media environment has been largely dominated by the growth of al-Jazeera, which consolidated itself as a major international media outlet after securing unrivalled access to war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. The channel established an English-language service in 2006 as it continued to expand, however its popularity has since begun to wane amid accusations of biased reporting during the 2011 Arab uprisings, and due to the competitive pressure exerted by Saudi Arabia and its own pan-Arab news channel, al-Arabiya.
Egypt’s post-2011 media experience both under elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi (2012-2013) and even more so after army commander general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took power in 2013, has been characterized by harsh restrictions upon freedom of expression and a return to a culture of enforced obedience in the print and television industries.