Dr Fatima El Issawi

Senior Lecturer
Department of Literature Film and Theatre Studies (LiFTS)
Dr Fatima El Issawi
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 873115

  • Location

    5NW.4.15, Colchester Campus



Dr. Fatima el Issawi is a British Lebanese scholar and journalist and joins the Department as Senior Lecturer in Journalism in 2015. Her expertise in the media industry with a specific focus on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) mixes journalism, public communication, policy, and academia. Fatima has over fifteen years of experience as international correspondent in conflict zones. She has covered conflicts, wars, and crises in Lebanon, Post-Saddam Iraq, and Jordan, for recognized international media such as Agence France Presse (AFP) and the BBC World Service (Arabic Service). Since 2012, Fatima has been leading research projects on Arab media under transition in the context of the Arab Spring. From 2012 to 2014, she led the project “Arab Revolutions: Media Revolutions” funded by the Open Society Foundation (100K) and based at the department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics. The project provided in-depth empirical analysis on the transformations in media practices and values brought by the transitional political landscape to traditional media in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt and the relationship this has to the fragile democratisation processes. Between 2014 and 2017, she led the project Arab National Media and Politics: Democracy Revisited, looking at the intricate links between traditional media and democratization taking Morocco and Algeria as case studies. The project was funded by the Middle East Centre of the London School of Economics and managed by the Centre (70K). The impact of her work extends beyond academic research and reaches civil society groups, non-governmental organizations, and policy makers. The policy reports she produced—some of them in collaboration with Carnegie International—were used by media development agencies in their strategies for the region. She recently received a new grant (14K) from the ESRC Essex Impact Acceleration Account to transform her research findings into policy tools to improve the understanding of the Arab region by policy makers and media development agencies. Her book Arab National Media and Political Change has received positive endorsements from leading scholars in the fields of media and democratization in the UK and US. Professor Silvio Waisbord, editor of the Journal of Communication, has praised the book as “a sober, nuanced analysis of media and political transition in the Arab world”. Fatima is a regular contributor on topics of media and politics in international media outlets including the New Yorker, Al Jazeera, CNN, Bloomberg, and Voice of America. She is also media trainer for journalists in the Arab region and consultant for several media development and international agencies including the European Commission, the Council of Europe, and the Doha Centre for media Freedom. Fatima holds a PhD in journalism from Paris II University. She is fluent in Arabic, French, and English.


  • PhD Panthéon-Assas University


University of Essex

  • Fellow, Human Rights Centre University of Essex ( 2016 - present )

Other academic

  • Senior Visiting Fellow, International Development London School of Economics and Political Science ( 2017 - 2019 )

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Media and Democratization

Arab Media

Journalistic Practices and Models

Media Systems

Media in Transitions

Media Policy

Teaching and supervision

  • Practical Journalism (LT131)

  • Journalism in Practice (LT135)

  • Journalism in the Digital Age: The New Newsroom (LT144)

  • Digital Journalism Today (LT149)

  • Research and Data Handling (LT238)

  • International Journalism and News Reporting (LT242)


Journal articles (6)

El-Issawi, F. and Cammaerts, B., (2016). Shifting journalistic roles in democratic transitions: Lessons from Egypt. Journalism: theory, practice and criticism. 17 (5), 549-566

el-Issawi, F., (2016). Networked publics and digital contention: the politics of everyday life in Tunisia. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 43 (4), 689-691

El Issawi, F., (2014). Women and media: Libyan female journalists from Gaddafi media to post-revolution: case study. CyberOrient. 8 (1)

El Issawi, F., (2011). The Arab Spring and the challenge of minority rights: will the Arab revolutions overcome the legacy of the past?. European View. 10 (2), 249-258

El-Issawi, F. and Georgiou, M., (2010). Media use at the crossroads: Nicosia. Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism. 11 (6), 758-763

el Issawi, F. and Baumann, G., (2010). The BBC Arabic Service: Changing Political Mediascapes. Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. 3 (2), 137-151

Books (1)

El Issawi, F., (2016). Arab National Media and Political Change 'Recording the Transition'. Palgrave Macmillan. 978-1-137-53215-2

Book chapters (6)

El Issawi, F., (2016). 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. Editors: Zayani, M. and Mirghani, S., . C Hurst & Co

El Issawi, F., (2016). A Comparative Analysis of Traditional Media Industry Transitions in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. In: Politics and the Media in the Post Arab Spring Middle East. Editors: Zayani, M. and Mirgani, S., . C Hurst & Co (Publishers) Ltd. 9781849045643

El Issawi, F., (2015). Tunisian media and political polarization: glorifying the self, rejecting the other. In: The Tunisian Media: Between Polarization and Compromise: Arab Media Report. Editors: Longo, P. and Meringolo, A., . Reset - Dialogues on Civilizations. 33- 48. 9788898593088

El Issawi, F., (2014). The role of Egyptian media in the coup. In: IEMed Mediterranean Yearbook 2014. European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed). 299- 304

El Issawi, F., (2012). The Tunisian transition: the evolving face of the second republic. In: After the Arab Spring: Power Shift in the Middle East?. Editors: Kitchen, N., . LSE IDEAS, London School of Economics and Political Science. 18- 22

El Issawi, F., (2001). A female journalist or a woman who happens to be a member of the press?. In: Information and Communication in our Society. Editors: al-Amin, A., Hamadeh, N., al-Kadiri, N. and Nasr, M., . Lebanese Association of Women Researchers

El Issawi, F., (2013). Transitional Libyan media: free at last?

El Issawi, F., (2012). Tunisian media in transition.

Kitchen, N., Dodge, T., Lawson, G., El Issawi, F., Stein, E., Ulrichsen, KC., Alaaldin, R., Phillips, C., Thiel, T., Rafati, N. and Voller, Y., (2012). After the Arab Spring: power shift in the Middle East?

Other (20)

El Issawi, F., (2016).Moroccan media: between change and status quo ? new research report,London School of Economics and Political Science

El Issawi, F., (2015).'I am Charlie' versus 'I am not Charlie',Fadaat Media Ltd

El Issawi, F., (2014).Sex, bombs and no control in Egypt's press,Fadaat Media Ltd

El Issawi, F., Charlton, M., Kageura, A. and Fuller-Jackson, K., (2014).Conference 2014 speaker series: an interview with Fatima El Issawi,London School of Economics and Political Science

El Issawi, F., (2013).Libya: where ghosts, guns and crooked politicians hold sway,The Conversation Trust (UK)

El Issawi, F., (2013).The unbearable lightness of Arab 'liberals',openDemocracy

El Issawi, F., (2013).Egypt's media war,POLIS, London School of Economics and Political Science

El Issawi, F., (2013).Biased media the new norm,Media in Cooperation in Transition, MICT

El Issawi, F., (2013).The nascent professional standards of traditional media in post-Arab Spring countries,Saudi Research and Marketing UK Ltd

El Issawi, F., (2013).Is Libyan media more free after the revolution? (New research report),POLIS, London School of Economics and Political Science

El-Issawi, F., (2013).The painful rebirth of Libya?s mainstream news media (guest blog),London School of Economics and Political Science

El Issawi, F., (2012).In post-revolution Egypt, talk shows redefine the political landscape,Foreign Policy Group

El Issawi, F., (2012).All talk? Egypt's complex media revolution (guest blog),POLIS, London School of Economics and Political Science

El Issawi, F., (2012).The road to professionalism for local Arab media after the Arab Spring will undoubtedly be very long and thorny,Blog post from London School of Economics & Political Science

El Issawi, F., (2012).Tunisia: winter of politics, spring of media?,Middle East Centre, The London School of Economics and Political Science

El Issawi, F., (2012).Islamists of Tunisia: reconciling national contradictions,Blog post from London School of Economics & Political Science

El-Issawi, F., (2012).Islamism in Egypt: The long road to integration,London School of Economics and Political Science

El Issawi, F., (2011).Tunisia's media spring?: new research project,London School of Economics and Political Science

El Issawi, F., (2011).Did the Arab Spring find its roots in the new Iraq?,openDemocracy

El Issawi, F., (2011).Lebanon and the "Spring" of others,openDemocracy

Grants and funding


Media and Transitions to Democracy: Journalistic Practices and Communicating Conflicts: The Arab Spring

British Academy

+44 (0) 1206 873115


5NW.4.15, Colchester Campus