My research interests lie at the intersection of technology, politics, and the media and are informed by a committment to human rights and social justice. From exploring how cyberactivism and citizen journalism empowered youth movements in the Middle East to interrogating the dramatic impacts of content moderation on the way we understand the evolving socioeconomic and technopolitical effects of technology. I draw on my experiences as a journalist, academic, activist and practitioner to bring a 360-degree perspective informed by a purpose-driven career. Examining how technologically inflected, mediated speech influences policy, activism, and journalism has been at the core of not just my research interests but my professional life as well.
I have delved into the various permutations of content moderation, from how tech platforms deal with the state propaganda to how countering violent extremism developed into an international agenda with profound implications for policymaking, technology and freedom of expression. I have also analyzed how the technological responses to countering violent extremism and combatting disinformation and “fake news” are influenced by national security priorities, and examined what greater transparency and accountability from tech platforms could look like.
My work also focuses on internet governance issues, such as surveillance, human rights, online harassment, and multistakholderism. I was appointed by the U.N. Secretary General to the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and serve as the outreach and partnerships chair of GigaNet, the internet governance network for scholars. My book was published as part of Palgrave Macmillan’s Internet Governance series. I have organized sessions at the UN Internet Governance Forum and U.S. IGF for the past several years, including the first-ever roundtable on the press freedom dimensions of internet governance, and helped establish the Dynamic Coalition on the Sustainability of Journalism and News Media in 2019.
Dynamics of gender, power, and networks are key nodes in my research, whether looking at how online harassment affects journalists, especially women and those with intersectional identities, or examining how young women in the Middle East use social media for empowerment and participation and the implications of this for the contours of the public sphere.
Drawing on my experience as a journalist in the United States and the Middle East, as well as extensive fieldwork in the region, I have explored the structural and environmental factors that influence news production, how Arab journalists construct their identity, and what doing journalism means in the Middle East.
I’m always interested in hearing about interesting research projects and collaborations.