Political academic, media expert discuss how social media redistributes power 

Focusing on the case of Palestine, Birzeit University students and professors discussed perspectives on the changing global distribution of power and the role of the media in transforming the relationship between states. The lecture featured political science and international studies professor Ahmad Hamad and associate professor of media and journalism at the American University of Sharjah Abeer Al-Najjar held a public lecture via Zoom on June 9, 2022.  

The lecture was jointly organized by Birzeit University’s Political Science Department and the Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Institute of International Studies, with moderation by Birzeit University international studies professor Lourdes Habash.  

Drawing on years of experience in online media and conflict communication, Al-Najjar touched on the ability of digital media to transform and distribute power. Focusing on news related to the Israeli occupation, she said that it is important to unite Palestinian discourse and the definitions used in covering the Palestinian context to challenge the Israeli narrative. 

Implementing this strategic discourse and unified narrative can take advantage of the pros of digital media and build sustainable interactions that do not only begin and end with a certain event, explained Al-Najjar.  

Hamad examined the relationship between distribution and redistribution of power within the current changes in media and digital communications. He pointed out that digital platforms are able to challenge the definition of globalization by erecting barriers around people’s freedom of expression through changing algorithms and big data.  

In the Palestinian context, Hamad emphasized the need to use hard and soft powers combined into smart power, including the use of digital communication tools to build and transfer a Palestinian narrative that advocates for Palestinian rights and freedoms.