Principal Investigator

Dr. Fatima el Issawi is a Reader in Journalism and Media Studies at the University of Essex; her research focuses on the intersection between media, politics and conflicts in transitional contexts to democracy in North Africa. She is the Principal Investigator for the research project “Media and Transitions to Democracy: Journalistic Practices in Communicating Conflicts- the Arab Spring” funded by the British Academy Sustainable Development Programme, looking at media’s impact on communicating political conflicts in post uprisings in North Africa. Since 2012, Fatima has been leading empirical comparative research projects on the interplay between media and political change, funded by Open Society Foundation and the Middle East Centre/LSE, covering Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Algeria.

Fatima’s expertise crosses journalism, public communication, policy and academia. She has over fifteen years of experience as international correspondent in conflict zones in the MENA region. She is the author of “Arab National Media and Political Change” investigating the complex intersections between traditional journalists and politics in uncertain times of transitions to democracy in the Arab region.


  Selected publications

  • Arab National Media and Political Change. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. 

  • With Cavatorta, Francesco (Eds.). The Arab Spring: micro dynamics of revolt between change and continuity. London: Gingko, 2020 (forthcoming).

  • Egyptian Journalists and the Quest for ‘Something Different’ After the Uprising; The Ambivalent Agency in Supporting Change or Status Quo.” International Communication Gazette (Accepted).

  • With Cammaerts, Bart. “Shifting journalistic roles in democratic transitions: lessons from Egypt.” Journalism 17, no. 5 (2016): 549-566.

  • “Arab transitional media: A comparative analysis of Tunisian, Libyan and Egyptian traditional media industries.” In Bullets and Bulletins: Media and Politics in the Wake of the Arab Uprisings, 45-70. Edited by Mohamed Zayani and Suzi Mirghani. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

  • “The role of Egyptian media in the coup.” In IEMed Mediterranean Yearbook 2014, 299-304. The European Institute of the Mediterranean. Barcelona: The European Institute of the Mediterranean, 2014.

  • “Algerian National Media: Freedom at a Cost.” Middle East Centre, London School of Economics. February 2017. Available at

  • “Moroccan National Media between Change and Status Quo.” Middle East Centre, London School of Economics. April 2016. Available at:


                                           Dr Fatima el Issawi’s page at the University of Essex

Media Contribution

  • Quoted in “ Saudi Arabia Sought Vice’s Help to Build a Media Empire” (08.02.2019 – Wall Street Journal)

  • “As an Arab journalist, let me tell you exactly why Al Jazeera's existence is so important” (10.09.2017 – The Independent)

  • Coverage of my policy paper on Algerian Media “Médias algériens : quand le pluralisme n’est qu’une façade” (10.06.2017 - Observatoire Arabe du Journalisme)

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