AlJazeera Centre for Studies ended the first day of the 8th AlJazeera Forum by officially launching its new Media Studies unit during a gala dinner at the St. Regis in Doha. Dr. Salah Eddin Elzein, the Centre’s Director, and Dr. Mohamed Zayani, an Associate Professor of Critical Theory at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, preceded the dinner with remarks on the importance of such a research unit, not only for the Centre and for AlJazeera Media Network, but also for the Arab world at large.

Dr. Elzein opened the program by explaining how the media studies programme began at the Centre as well as its importance to the future of AlJazeera and media in the Arab world. “This program is a product of AlJazeera Centre for Studies’ recognition of the evolving dimensions of communications processes and the accelerating trend towards modern means of communication and new media, as well as the implications of the relationship between the media and its audiences”, he said.

In his talk titled, “The Question of Change and Permanence in Arab World Media”, Dr. Zayani focused on the importance of  Media Studies in a changing Arab world, particularly given the media’s role in change movements across the Arab world. He said the media in general, and social media in particular, continue to play an important role in the Arab world’s uprisings. Dr. Zayani also suggested that rather than split the Arab world into what is fixed and what is mobile, it would be wise to study stages of media change before and after the Arab Spring revolutions.

The Centre’s Media Studies unit will have several goals over the next few years: expanding the Centre’s scope of research; implementing strategic goals, including adding new units of study as well as supporting AlJazeera Media Network’s quest to remain abreast of the latest developments in media studies; and enhancing cooperation between the network and the academic community.