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Most Arab countries also have press laws, which impose boundaries on what can and cannot be said in print.
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Censorship plays a significant role in journalism in the Arab world. Censorship comes in a variety of forms: Self-censorship , Government Censorship governments struggle to control through technological advances in ex.
Because Journalism in the Arab world comes with a range of dangers — journalists throughout the Arab world can be imprisoned, tortured, and even killed in their line of work — self-censorship is extremely important for many Arab journalists. A related point is that media owners and patrons have effects on the values of their outlets. Newspapers in the Arab world can be divided into three categories: government owned, partisan owned, and independently owned.
Newspaper, radio, and television patronization in the Arab world has heretofore been primarily a function of governments.
Arab states are intimately involved in the economic well-being of many Arab news organizations so they apply pressure in several ways, most notably through ownership or advertising. Some analysts hold that cultural and societal pressures determine journalists' news output in the Arab world. For example, to the extent that family reputation and personal reputation are fundamental principles in Arab civilization, exposes of corruption, examples of weak moral fiber in governors and policy makers, and investigative journalism may have massive consequences.
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In fact, some journalists and media trainers in the Arab world nevertheless actively promote the centrality of investigative journalism to the media's larger watchdog function. In Jordan, for example, where the degree of government and security service interference in the media is high, non-governmental organizations such as the Center for Defending the Freedom of Journalists CDFJ and Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism ARIJ train journalists to undertake investigative journalism projects.
Some Saudi journalists stress the importance of enhancing Islam through the media. The developmental role of media was acknowledged by an overwhelming majority of Saudi journalists, while giving the readers what they want was not regarded as a priority. Patterns of consumption also affect media values. People in the Arab world rely on newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Internet to differing degrees and to meet a variety of ends. For Rugh, the proportion of radio and television receivers to Arab populations relative to UNESCO minimum standards suggests that radio and television are the most widely consumed media.
He estimates that television reaches well over million people in the region, and this number has likely grown since By contrast, he supposes that Arab newspapers are designed more for elite-consumption on the basis of their low circulation. He states, "Only five Arab countries have daily newspapers which distribute over 60, copies and some have dailies only in the under, range. Only Egypt has dailies which distribute more than a half million copies.
Finally, the internet continues to be a fairly common denominator in Arab societies. A report by the Dubai School of Government and Bayt. They caution, however, that while "the internet has wide-ranging benefits, these benefits do not reach large segments of societies in the Arab region. The digital divide remains a significant barrier for many people. In many parts of the Arab world levels of educational attainment, economic activity, standards of living and internet costs still determine a person's access to life-changing technology. They state, "Modern international telecommunications services now assist in the free flow of information, and neither inter-Arab conflicts nor differences among groups will affect the direct exchange of services provided by global cyberspace networks.
In most Arab countries, magazines cannot be published without a government-issued license.
Magazines in the Arab world, like many of the magazines in the Western world, are geared towards women. However, the number of magazines in the Arab world is significantly smaller than that of the Western world. The Arab world is not as advertisement driven as the Western world. Advertisers fuel the funding for most Western magazines to exist. Thus, a lesser emphasis on advertisement in the Arab world plays into the low number of magazines. There are 90 private radio stations throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Arab radio broadcasting began in the s, but only a few Arab countries had their own broadcasting stations before World War II. After , most Arab states began to create their own radio broadcasting systems, although it was not until , when Oman opened its radio transmissions, that every one of them had its own radio station. Among Arab countries, Egypt has been a leader in radio broadcasting from the beginning. Broadcasting began in Egypt in the s with private commercial radio. In , however, the Egyptian government declared radio a government monopoly and began investing in its expansion.
By the s, Egyptian radio had fourteen different broadcast services with a total air time of 1, hours per week. Egypt is ranked third in the world among radio broadcasters. The programs were all government controlled, and much of the motivation for the government's investment in radio was due to the aspirations of President Gamal Abdel Nasser to be the recognized leader of the Arab world. Egypt's "Voice of the Arabs" station, which targeted other Arab countries with a constant stream of news and political features and commentaries, became the most widely heard station in the region.
Only after the June war , when it was revealed that this station had misinformed the public about what was happening, did it lose some credibility; nevertheless it retained a large listenership. On the Arabian Peninsula , radio was slower to develop. In Saudi Arabia , radio broadcasts started in the Jidda - Mecca area in , but they did not start in the central or eastern provinces until the s. Neighboring Bahrain had radio by , but Qatar , Abu Dhabi , and Oman did not start indigenous radio broadcasting until nearly a quarter century later.
Almost all television channels in the Arab world were government -owned and strictly controlled prior to the s. In the s the spread of satellite television began changing television in Arab countries. Often noted as a pioneer, Al Jazeera represents a shift towards a more professional approach to news and current affairs.
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Breaking the mold in more ways than one, Al Jazeera's discussion programs raised subjects that had long been prohibited. However, in , Egypt and Saudi Arabia called for a meeting to approve a charter to regulate satellite broadcasting. The Arab League Satellite Broadcasting Charter lays out principles for regulating satellite broadcasting in the Arab world. Meanwhile newspapers are aggressively probing the red lines that have long contained them".
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Instead, "A desire for political influence is probably the biggest factor driving channel growth. But ego is a close second". Arab soap operas and the emerging popularity of reality TV are evidence of this notion. Star Academy began in in the Arab world. This geo-political crisis environment that currently frames Arab politics and Arab—Western relations is the backdrop to the controversy surrounding the social and political impact of Arab reality television, which assumes religious, cultural or moral manifestations.
Most Arab countries did not produce films before nation independence. Bahrain witnessed the production of its first and only full-length feature film in In Jordan national production has barely exceeded half a dozen feature films. Algeria and Iraq have produced approximately films each, Morocco around seventy, Tunisia around , and Syria some Lebanon , owing to an increased production during the s and s, has made some feature films.
Only Egypt has far exceeded these countries, with a production of more than 2, feature films all meant for cinema, not television. Once this permission is obtained, another official license, a so-called visa, is necessary in order to exploit the film commercially. This is normally approved by a committee of the Ministry of Information or a special censorship authority". The Internet in the Arab world is powerful source of expression and information as it is in other places in the world.
While some believe that it is the harbinger of freedom in media to the Middle East , others think that it is a new medium for censorship. Both are true. The Internet has created a new arena for discussion and the dissemination of information for the Arab world just as it has in the rest of the world.
The youth in particular are accessing and utilizing the tools. People are encouraged and enabled to join in political discussion and critique in a manner that was not previously possible. Those same people are also discouraged and blocked from those debates as the differing regimes try to restrict access based on religious and state objections to certain material.
This was posted on a website operated by the Muslim Brotherhood :. The internet in the Arab world has a snowball effect; now that the snowball is rolling, it can no longer be stopped. Getting bigger and stronger, it is bound to crush down all obstacles. In addition, to the stress caused by the Arab bloggers, a new forum was opened for Arab activists; Facebook.
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Arab activists have been using Facebook in the utmost creative way to support the democracy movement in the region, a region that has one of the highest rates of repression in the world. Unlike other regions where oppressive countries like China, Iran and Burma represent the exception, oppression can be found everywhere in the Arab world. The number of Arab internet users interested in political affairs does not exceed a few thousands, mainly represented by internet activists and bloggers, out of 58 million internet users in the Arab world.
As few as they are, they have succeeded in shedding some light on the corruption and repression of the Arab governments and dictatorships. Public Internet use began in the US in the s. Internet access began in the early s in the Arab world, with Tunisia being first in according to Dr. Deborah L. The years of the Internet's introduction in the various Arab countries are reported differently. Financial considerations and the lack of widespread availability of services are factors in the slower growth in the Arab world, but taking into consideration the popularity of internet cafes , the numbers online are much larger than the subscription numbers would reveal.
The people most commonly utilizing the Internet in the Arab world are youths. Despite reports that use of the internet was curtailed by lack of English skills, Dr. Wheeler found that people were able to search with Arabic. Searching for jobs, the unemployed frequently fill cafes in Egypt and Jordan.
Arabs in the Mirror: Images and Self-images from Pre-Islamic to Modern Imes
They are men and women equally. Most of them chat and they have email. In a survey conducted by Dr. Deborah Wheeler, she found them to almost all to have been taught to use the Internet by a friend or family member.