Media in the Arab World

Posted by Brian Paris on Jan 12, 2009 in Blog |

Just read an interesting article written by Anne Nelson on the Carnegie Reporter website. It is entitled Arab Media: The Web 2.0 Revolution.

There were a lot of good points brought out in the article. Started off with an overview of what is happening in the Arab world today, then did a good job of telling the history of the region from a standpoint of literacy and media. There was a legacy of oral storytelling but not that of the written word. I was surprised by how late news came to the Mid-East. In some cases it wasn’t until to mid to late twentieth century. It was also interesting to see the reasons for some of the cultural divide that I have seen myself. Some countries seems to have embraced the entertainment aspect of the medium, while others see it as a way to promote their traditional values and religious beliefs.

The article continues on telling about how the satellite TV market has brought about some changes, and some backlash to the Arab world. Al Jezeera is a big part of the transformation. They brought an independent voice to a mostly Saudi controlled conservative agenda. The mention that Al Jezeera doesn’t cover much in it’s home country of Qatar, and the following aside that most people agree that there isn’t much really happening there anyway, made me smile. I am over here and most of the time there isn’t really much going on. I guess the Emir’s statement about the Palestinian conflict has made the biggest headline since I have been here.

The article finishes up by talking about how the web might change the way the media is controlled. Since the barrier for entry is so low, it brings a lot of people into the fray. Young people are taking to blogs, facebook, youtube, and other web technologies to make their voices heard. I wonder how this is going to change the world.

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