New book focuses on changing Arab media landscape

February 19, 2014 - 5:01:48 am

Dr Khalid Al Jaber

DOHA: Dr Khalid Al Jaber and Mokhtar Elareshi delve into the changing Arab media landscape in their new book The Future of News Media in the Arab World. 

Focusing on the media situation in Arab countries in recent times, the authors encapsulate in 232 pages the role media institutions have played and their impact on changing the media scene in the Arab world.

Through a careful study Dr Al Jaber presents quantitative and qualitative data on changes that took place in news media on the eve of Arab Spring and sheds light on their impact on the media and media interaction. 

Dr Al Jaber conducted field research and opinion polls to collect data and feedback from the public about the development of the media in these countries and to know who follows up and why, when, where and how. 

He analyses the data taking examples of the output and impact of some satellite TV channels like Al Jazeera, BBC, French-Arabic TV channels, Al Arabiya and Al Hura, in addition to new media and social websites.

Through the book, the authors assert that the Arab media is playing a more effective role and gaining momentum particularly in raising sensitive issues such as corruption of regimes, exchange of information and news important to the public. They show the emergence of a new media vis-à-vis the official media which continues to project a good image of government activities and promote its achievements.

As TV channels are being streamed online and with the dominance of new platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter in which news can be shared instantaneously, news and information reach audiences worldwide swiftly. News is also reported directly from remote locations facing war and crises by ordinary individuals using social media. With the latest means of delivering information, public opinion on urgent concerns can reach more people fast and people are no more waiting for traditional media, radio, newspaper and TV for updates.

This is an era where every individual becomes a journalist and war correspondent while journalists wait to receive emails and tweets ordinary citizens send through their smartphones. Thus, the game of media is turned upside down and cannot anymore be judged according to traditional standards and criteria.

Citizen media has eliminated the role of gatekeeper and no one can control the constant flow of news and information.

The book is a result of collaboration between Qatari publishing house Dar Al Sharq and German publishing house Lambert Academic Publishing. This is seen as a way of narrowing the information gap between the West and the Mena region and creating links and cooperation between university research institutions. 

Dr Al Jaber said the next step will be to attract more researchers and academic specialists to publish joint research and studies on political media and issues related to Arab world to be published in other languages. The authors are media professors. Dr Elareshi teaches at Tripoli University, while Dr Al Jaber teaches at Qatar University and is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Al Sharq newspaper.The Peninsula

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