EXPLORING THE GULF SATELLITE MAP
S. Abdallah Schleifer went to Doha, where he reported on developments at one of the region's major players in Al Jazeera Update: More Datelines from Doha and a Code of Ethics.
Meanwhile, Humphrey Davies was in Dubai, where he met the people responsible for the recent major make-over of Dubai TV and dropped in on CNBC Arabiya to hear about their re-launch. For his report, see Dubai: Watch This Space! He also talked to CNBC Arabiya CEO Zafar Siddiqi about his plans for CNBC Pakistan.
DOMES AND DISHES:
ARAB SATELLITE TV AND RELIGION
Photo by Daina Moussa
Religious programming occupies a significant slot on Arab satellite channels. It has brought fame to preachers and role models, and provided the space for dedicated stations. It may also have changed the discourse.
Lindsay Wise interviews Ahmad al-Farrag, one of the pioneers of religious television programming and the discoverer of Egypt's star TV preacher, the late Sheikh al-Shaarawi. Wise also writes on Amr Khaled, star of the younger generation of Muslim "tele-Islamists," while S. Abdallah Schleifer interviews Yusuf al-Qaradawi, doyen of "Islamist" preachers. Maha Shahba discusses the televised exposure given to charismatic convert Hamza Yusuf, while Amina Khairy's brief report on hip religious singer Sami Yusif demonstrates that even the music satellites give religion its due, at least in Ramadan.
In The Proposed Satellite Television Channel of the Organziation of the Islamic Conference: A Response to Moral Panic?, Ali Al-Hail argues that the 2001 proposal of the Organization of the Islamic Conference mandating the establishment of an English-language Islamic satellite channel (still to be implemented) is fundamentally flawed--a notion implicitly challenged by the late Abdul Qader Tash, whose article Islamic Satellite Channels and Their Impact on Arab Society: Iqra Channel - a Case Study describes the challenges and achievements of the Arabic-language Islamic channel he founded.
THE VIOLENT IMAGE:
NEWS, SENSATIONALISM, OR PROPAGANDA?
As news bulletins report daily on mayhem and terror in Iraq and elsewhere, satellite channels grope to define the thin line that separates the acceptable from the offensive, and the reporting of information from the encouragement of political violence.
In Made for Television Events, Jon Alterman discusses what drives political kidnappers in Iraq, and Simon Buck's The Pressures of 24 Hour News takes the Beslan hostage-taking tragedy as its starting point, while inTo Show or Not to Show? Graphic Images in TV Media Paul Cochrane reviews the principles and praxis of a number of stations.
The section concludes with a plea by Judea and Ruth Pearl, parents of Daniel Pearl, entitled No More Public Murders, which includes an appeal to the media to exercise "responsible judgment" in publishing terrorist messages and imagery.
VOTING FOR PRESIDENTS AND SUPERSTARS
Arab satellite channels devoted considerable effort to keeping their viewers abreast of developments in the US presidential election race and informing them as to the nature of the American electoral system. Lindsay Wise andUsama Najeeb watched and recorded their impressions of Arab Satellite Coverage of the US Elections. They also interviewed Hafiz Al Mirazi, head of Al Jazeera's Washington bureau, on his network's coverage. Though some viewers in the region may feel wistful about their own chances of participation in such a process, they can take their destiny in their own hands when it comes to selecting pop idols at least; in The Best Hope for Democracy in the Arab World? Tyler MacKenzie describes how the residents of Damascus voted for Arab pop's next Superstar.
Panelists at AUSACE Conference in Cairo.
News Xchange '04, Algarve, Portugal
18-19 November 2004 Keynote Address by King Abdallah of Jordan.
The Diversity of Arab Media. Transcript of a panel chaired by Emad Eldin Adeeb with senior analyst S. Abdallah Schleifer, featuring Nart Bouran (Abu Dhabi TV), Joel Campagna(Committee to Protect Journalists), Mohamed Gohar (Video CairoSat), Mouafac Harb (Alhurra), Ibrahim Helal (BBC Trust), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera),Ibrahim Mousawi (Al Manar), Salah Negm (Al Arabiya), Nahida Nakad (TF1), and Hosam El-Sokkari (BBC World Service). Conference Report by Morand Fachot.
The Cambridge Arab Media Project: The Media and Political Change in the Arab World, Moller Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge, UK
29-30 September 2004
Conference Report: Between Theory and Practice by Lindsay Wise. (A revised and extended version of the paper delivered by Wise at this conference appears elsewhere in this issue. See Amr Khaled: Broadcasting the Nahda.)
Keynote Address. Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, reports on findings from his public opinion surveys in the Arab world about viewing habits and their impact on political positions. Thoughts on Arab Satellite Television, Pan-Arabism, and Freedom of Expression. Saad Eddin Ibrahim reflects on what the Arab world as whole, and he personally, owe to the independence of Arab satellites. Remarks in Response to Saad Eddin Ibrahim: Ibrahim Helal, Al Jazeera's former editor-in-chief, provides a frank assessment of what Arab satellite broadcasters can, and cannot, achieve. Arab Satellite Broadcasting: An Alternative to Political Parties? Kai Hafez discusses the potential of Arab satellite channels to act as forces for democracy in non-democratic societies. Arab Women in the New Media: Empowerment or Disempowerment? Shereen Abou El Naga questions whether Arab satellites have managed to find a positive new way to present women. On the Role of Media in the Current Transition Phase in Iraq: Iqbal Hassoon al-Qazwini reviews the status and needs of satellite and other media in Iraq today. The Ninth International Conference of the Arab-US Association for Communication Educators (AUSACE), Cairo
18-21 November 2004
Conference Report by Naila Hamdy International Academy for Media Science (IAMS):
Arab Satellites in a Changing World, Cairo
22-24 June 2004
Conference Report by Ibrahim Saleh.
The 58th Annual Middle East Institute (MEI) Conference: "The Use and Limits of Power in the Middle East,"Washington, D.C.
5-6 October 2004
Media Diplomacy: Who Controls the Control Room?
Conference Report by Derek Hoffmann