Standing Up to Be Counted: The Arab Media Has Come a Long Way ... but It Still Has a Long Way to Go. (the Last Word)

By Darwish, Adel | The Middle East, July 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Standing Up to Be Counted: The Arab Media Has Come a Long Way ... but It Still Has a Long Way to Go. (the Last Word)


Darwish, Adel, The Middle East


They came from the four corners of the Arabic speaking region, glamorous television presenters in their stilettos, editors of Gulf newspapers and magazines in their Armani suits, academics, politicians and former ministers of information disguised as journalists, and--in the minority--the backbone of Arab journalism, the hacks of print media. However, the first Media and Contemporary Challenges Conference held in Kuwait last month (7-9 June), was much more than a PR exercise.

Freedom and democracy were high on the agenda of topics for discussion, while state intervention, censorship and the role of certain ministries of information were roundly condemned for their part in their suppression.

Political arguments over ideology frequently obscured professional judgement, this was particularly noticeable when speakers from the coalition that supported Saddam Hussein, the Marxists, the Islamists, and certain Arab nationalists, took the floor.

There were also one or two 'professional' shells exploded by the tiny minority who managed to get people talking. Veteran Saudi journalist, Othman Al Omair, who started the first serious Arabic Internet site, Elaf, cast the first stone by declaring that the only consistently 'Pan-Arab' feature of the Arabic language media are the Arab ministers of information, who disagree on everything except censoring the media.

The die-hard Arab nationalists with their totalitarian fundamentalist views were having none of this and a lively exchange ensued. Two Nasserite academics from Egypt who believed the state should be in control 'to protect the ethical values of society', scorned the old school of classical journalism that separates hard news from commentary and opinion. They also defended the totalitarian Soviet style argument that 'readers' were not mature enough to understand events when presented neutrally. Thus, they argued, it was the media's 'social responsibility and duty' to interpret events in the news, in order to guide the viewer or reader towards a more mature conclusion.

Al Omair sparked further discussion when he aired his belief that the Internet will be the publishing arena of the future and represents the only hope of escaping censorship and state intervention in presenting accurate news and analysis.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Standing Up to Be Counted: The Arab Media Has Come a Long Way ... but It Still Has a Long Way to Go. (the Last Word)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?