Al Jazeera: How the Free Arab News Network Scooped the World and Changed the Middle East

Al Jazeera: How the Free Arab News Network Scooped the World and Changed the Middle East

by Mohammed El-nawawy, Adel Iskandar Farag, Adel Iskandar
     
 

Al-Jazeera, the independent, all-Arab television news network based in Qatar, emerged as ambassador to the Arab world in the events following September 11, 2001. Arabic for "the peninsula,” Al-Jazeera has "scooped” the western media conglomerates many times. With its exclusive access to Osama Bin Laden and members of the Taliban, its reputation has been

…  See more details below

Overview

Al-Jazeera, the independent, all-Arab television news network based in Qatar, emerged as ambassador to the Arab world in the events following September 11, 2001. Arabic for "the peninsula,” Al-Jazeera has "scooped” the western media conglomerates many times. With its exclusive access to Osama Bin Laden and members of the Taliban, its reputation has been burnishing quickly through its exposure on CNN, even as it strives to maintain its independence as an international free press news network. Al-Jazeera sheds light on the background of the network: how it operates, the programs it broadcasts, its effects on Arab viewers, the reactions of the West and Arab states, the implications for the future of news broadcasting in the Middle East, and its struggle for a free press and public opinion in the Arab world.

Editorial Reviews

Richard Bulliet
A fair and engrossing look at the...most controversial television news channel in the Arab world.
David Barsamian
An important book chronicling the rise to global media prominence of the Qatar-based satellite station.
Alternative Radio
Library Journal
Most Americans first heard of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite television news network, when they saw the October 2001 broadcast of the Osama bin Laden video. The Al-Jazeera bureau in Kabul gave the network exclusive footage on the war in Afghanistan, and with its access to Arab spokesmen and audiences it has emerged as a powerful player on the world stage. In an entertaining and accessible journalistic style, El-Nawawy, a former journalist in the Middle East and a journalism professor (Univ. of West Florida), and Iskandar, a communications professor (Univ. of Kentucky), examine the history of the network, its operation, and its effects on Arab viewers across the world. The authors also chronicle the negative reaction of Arab governments to some of the political coverage, such as Kuwaiti complaints that the network is too sympathetic to Iraq, and analyze several of the controversial talk shows, including The Other Direction, modeled on CNN's Crossfire, to highlight the radical nature of Al-Jazeera programming in Middle Eastern media history. Given ongoing world events, this timely book will be a welcome addition to academic and public libraries. Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ. Lib., Washington, DC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
New Yorker
Behind the national tragedy of last September's terrorist attacks lay a puzzle of global proportions; a new set of books from the foreign press is helping us piece it all together. The German weekly magazine Der Spiegel, whose editorial offices are in Hamburg, was uniquely positioned to report on the safe houses, cells, and mosques that bred the terrorists. Inside 9-11: What Really Happened (St. Martin's), a reconstruction by the magazine's staff translated by Paul DeAngelis and Elisabeth Kaestner, offers accounts of the terrorists' whereabouts from as early as 1992, stories of improbable escape, and the horrifying flatness of the F.D.N.Y. emergency log: "Female caller reports they are trapped in the elevator … explains they are dying."

Winston Churchill testified to the editorial independence of the BBC when he called it "the enemy within the gates." The BBC Reports on America, Its Allies and Enemies, and the Counterattack on Terrorism (Overlook), edited by Jenny Baxter and Malcolm Downing, upholds that tradition, with essays from an editor who travelled with Tony Blair on his diplomatic mission last fall, a broadcaster whose grandmother was an I.R.A. arms smuggler, and a Jerusalem-based correspondent who writes that after September 11th, the U.S. "became a part of the Middle East."

Al-Jazeera, the Qatari cable station, has been called the Arab CNN and denounced as a mouthpiece for Osama bin Laden, but its roots are pure BBC: state funding, editorial independence, reporters inherited from a defunct Arabic division of the Beeb. Al-Jazeera (Westview), by two expatriate Egyptian professors, Mohammed el-Nawawy and Abdel Iskandar, tells of the reassuringly controversial place the news outlet occupies in the Arab world. (Dana Goodyear)

Kirkus Reviews
Portrait of the Arab world's most widely broadcast TV news station, more visible to the West after September 11th. Committed to the principle of unbiased journalism, or "the opinion, and the other opinion," as their slogan has it, Al-Jazeera ("the island") has broadcast from the tiny kingdom of Qatar since its founding in 1996. El-Nawawy (Journalism/Univ. of West Florida) and Iskandar (Communications/Univ. of Kentucky) here outline its beginnings, programming, philosophy, and audience. In marked contrast to most Middle Eastern television, devoted primarily to entertainment and pro-government propaganda, Al-Jazeera, its staff culled mainly from the collapsed BBC Arabic TV network, is an equal-opportunity offender; the station has been asked to censor its coverage "by everyone from Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell." Though Al-Jazeera garnered pan-Arab attention with its in-depth coverage of the Palestinian intifada and its exclusive coverage of the first days of the war in Afghanistan, it covers major issues across the Middle East, many of them in highly confrontational talk shows. Algerian officials once cut all power to a number of cities in order to prevent citizens from seeing a program about the ongoing civil war. Supported by the Qatari emir, "a maverick by any definition," the station operates mostly with impunity. The authors, both of Egyptian descent, also cover the audience, which has myriad points of view but a generally shared belief in an international Zionist conspiracy. They document how people access the programming: those who can't afford a satellite dish watch at cafes or with friends, or buy a bootleg video. Indispensablefor those who want to understand how news is made in the Middle East.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813340173
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
03/01/2002
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.24(w) x 9.28(h) x 0.92(d)

Meet the Author

Mohammed el-Nawawy, Egyptian born and raised, has worked as a journalist in the Middle East and the U.S. The author of The Israeli-Egyptian Peace Process in the Reporting of Western Journalists, he is an assistant professor of Communications at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. Adel Iskander, an Egyptian-Canadian, is an expert on Middle East media. He has conducted studies on viewership of Arab media and the use of North American media by Arab immigrants. He has lived in Kuwait and in Egypt for many years, and currently teaches communication at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. Mohammed el-Nawawy, Egyptian born and raised, has worked as a journalist in the Middle East and the U.S. The author of The Israeli-Egyptian Peace Process in the Reporting of Western Journalists, he is an assistant professor of Communications at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. Adel Iskander, an Egyptian-Canadian, is an expert on Middle East media. He has conducted studies on viewership of Arab media and the use of North American media by Arab immigrants. He has lived in Kuwait and in Egypt for many years, and currently teaches communication at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >