Naomi Sakr is Professor of Media Policy and a former Director of the CAMRI Arab Media Centre.
She was previously a journalist, editor and country analyst. She worked at the Economist Intelligence Unit (1985-97) as a Middle East specialist and managing editor of political risk and economic forecast reports. She has an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies (1974) and another from the Institute of Education (1994), University of London. She left the EIU to research Arab media for a PhD (awarded by the University of Westminster in 1999) and as a consultant to international organisations, including Article 19, Amnesty International and the United Nations Development Programme. She joined CAMRI as a Senior Lecturer in 2004, became Reader in Communication in 2006, Director of CAMRI's Arab Media Centre in 2007 and Professor in 2009. She was Bonnier Guest Professor at Stockholm University in 2012.
Her early published work on Arab television coincided with growing international interest in Al-Jazeera, and her first book, Satellite Realms: Transnational Television, Globalization and the Middle East, which won the British Middle Eastern Studies Book Prize in 2003, appeared at a time of mounting Western concern over the uses of media in Arab states. She is also the author of Arab Television Today, published in 2007, and Transformations in Egyptian Journalism, published 2013, and co-author with Jeanette Steemers of Screen Media for Arab and European Children: Policy and Production Encounters in the Multiplatform Era (2019). She has edited two collections: Women and Media in the Middle East, Power through Self-Expression (2004) and Arab Media and Political Renewal: Community, Legitimacy and Public Life (2007) and co-edited two, Arab Media Moguls (2015) and Children's TV and Digital Media in the Arab World: Childhood, Screen Culture and Education (2017). Her work on media policy, journalism and cultural production in the Arab world has been published in numerous refereed journals and edited books. She edited the Media and Popular Culture Section of the Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Egypt, (2021).
In addition to her consulting work for the international organisations mentioned above and others including International Media Support (IMS), Naomi Sakr has been commissioned to write background papers on aspects of Arab media for UNESCO, the Arab Knowledge Report, the European Parliament, the UK House of Lords, British Council and Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Intercultural Dialogue. She has also mentored academics in Egypt and Tunisia on behalf of Media Diversity Institute.
Under her directorship (2007-15), the CAMRI Arab Media Centre received grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Open Society Institute, Higher Education Innovation Fund and British Academy.
From 2009 to 2012 Sakr was part of the research team on Mediamigraterra, a four-year project on media and migration in the Mediterranean area funded by France's Agence Nationale de la Recherche and led by Professor Tristan Mattelart at Paris VIII. In 2010 she advised on, and introduced, the 'Media Thematic Focus' section of the Anna Lindh Report on Euromed Intercultural Trends 2010. She also contributed to the Regional Report on Reinforcing the Public Service Mission of National Broadcasters in Eight Countries in the Middle East and North Africa, concluded in 2012 by the Institut Panos Paris and Mediterranean Observatory of Communication.
In 2013 Sakr became Principal Investigator on a three-year AHRC-funded research project entitled Orientations in the Development of Screen Content for Arabic-Speaking Children, leading a 5-person team researching production, distribution and reception of media intended for children in Arab countries and the diaspora. She was then Co-I on a one-year (2017-18) AHRC-funded Follow-up Project for Impact and Engagement looking at Children's Screen Content in an Era of Forced Migration.
In 2015 she was contracted as International Expert as part of team chosen by UNESCO and led by International Media Support (IMS) of Denmark to conduct a Media Landscape Analysis and Assessment of Media Development Indicators (MDIs) in Jordan. As such she was sole author of a parallel report on ‘Good Practice in Public Service Media in Europe and Contemporary Practice in Jordan: A Comparative Analysis’, published by UNESCO in September 2015.
Besides research published following the two AHRC-funded projects on children's media, Sakr's most recent work has focused on media and cultural production in Egypt, public interest media in Jordan, the future of Saudi Arabian television, theories of media governance, the evolution of television as a medium in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the history of the IAMCR in the MENA region,