Arab Mass Media: Newspapers, Radio, and Television in Arab Politics

By William A. Rugh | Go to book overview

5

The Diverse Print Media: Lebanon, Kuwait, Morocco, and Yemen

A third major type of print media system appeared in the Arab world in the second half of the twentieth century. It can be called the diverse press because its most significant distinguishing characteristic is that the newspapers are clearly different from each other in content and apparent political tendency as well as in style. They are all privately owned and reflect a variety of viewpoints. In mobilization or loyalist press systems, by contrast, similarities outweigh any differences among papers within one country, but the opposite is true with the diverse press. The degree and quality of differences among newspapers is difficult to quantify or describe precisely, but regular newspaper readers perceive them quite easily.

Substantial diversity in the press implies that at least some of the newspapers, if not all, print news and opinion that is not supportive of the regime in power. Newspaper readers in this system have access to a greater variety of information than do readers of the loyalist or mobilization press, where all newspapers uniformly support the regime's basic policies and leaders. The diverse press is therefore relatively free, even if individual newspapers may be strong promoters of the regime, because some newspapers are somewhat independent of the regime and because the reader has more information and opinion to choose from.

The clearest and most consistent example of this type of press system has been seen in contemporary Lebanon. Kuwait, Morocco, and Yemen have also developed press systems which in many respects follow patterns similar enough to put them in this general category, too, although with

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