Books in Brief

De Beer, Arnold S. and John C. Merrill (Eds.) Global Journalism: Topical Issues and Media Systems. 4th edition. Paperback.474 pages. Pearson Allyn & Bacon: Boston, 2004. ISBN: 0-8013-3027-0. $66.67.

Reviewed by Ralph D. Berenger

The editors have assembled twenty-eight contributors, all veterans of global media scholarship, in this important collection that concentrates as much on geographical regions as it does on the standard fare found in most textbooks on international communication.

Of particular interest to those concerned with transnational broadcasting issues in the Middle East is Orayb Aref Najjar's meaty chapter on the Middle East and North Africa, a region of growing importance not only to regional residents but to the rest of the world.

In fact, one would be hard put to find a better analysis and a more cogent history of the MENA region than Najjar provides in her forty-one page chapter that details the growth of print, broadcast, and alternative Arab and Israeli media, the latter often ignored in books of this nature.

While the chapter on the Middle East is of particular relevance, those on other regions are equally useful for transnational broadcasters. There are separate chapters on Western Europe, Eastern Europe, sub-Sahara Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Australasia, Latin America, and North America.

John C. Merrill weighs in with two extraordinary chapters on global press philosophies and international media systems, Katerina Tsetsura and Dean Kruckeberg discuss international journalism ethics, Robert L. Stevenson offers a treatise of press freedoms around the world, and David Weaver briefly examines international profiles of journalists.

What keeps this edition of Global Journalism from being an ideal college text or reference book, however, is the inexplicable absence of an index, a decision that should be reconsidered in subsequent printings. Relying only on a table of contents frustrates readers, students, and scholars who otherwise would consider this work a classic resource book. TBS

Nacos, Brigitte L. (2002) Mass-Mediated Terrorism: The Central Role of the Mass Media in Terrorism and Counterterrorism. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN: 0-7425-1083-2.

Reviewed by Rasha El-Ibiary

The spectacular ability of broadcast media to report momentous news in a timely fashion has transformed media's role from that of a watchdog that of a central player in global violence and terrorism, whether led by governments or extremist groups. Live coverage of recent wars and terrorism has been part and parcel of the very planning of such crises.

Brigitte L. Nacos argues that terrorists have recently designed their activities with an eye to the likelihood of their being covered by the mass media, an approach that scholars call "propagation of the deed."

"They execute premeditated terrorism that virtually assures a great deal of news coverage," says Nacos. Such decisive exploitation of the mass media is evidently aimed at communicating their actions and its causes to the largest possible audience.

Nacos analyzes events that gained unusual media coverage, including the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen and the 9/11 attacks. She includes statistics on the volume and frequency of terrorism stories in different news media post 9/11 and their points of emphasis. She also attempts to define terrorism historically and in recent times and to show how prominent terrorists have become renowned media figures. The book also provides an interesting account of e-terrorism and sheds light on the terrorists' uses of the Internet both in publicizing their messages and gaining supporters, and in communicating among themselves and planning their activities. TBS

Rampton, Sheldon and John Stauber (2003). Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq. London: Robinson.

Reviewed by Rash El-Ibiary

Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber present a critical analysis of the United States' latest war against Iraq, and how the mass media have been among the primary weapons it has used to claim a perceived victory. By focusing on the staged fall of Saddam Hussein's statue in Firdous Square surrounded by a crowd of no more than 200 people, the authors develop the charge that the mass media were exploited to serve a strategic war goal by indicating both the end of military operations and the perceived US victory.

The book also tackles the uses of the mass media in preparing the American public opinion for the war or "selling the war," preparations which, according to the authors, included a series of deliberate "true lies," such as the assertion of the linkage between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, which lead the majority of Americans to believe that Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the 9/11 attacks, and the faking of his ownership of weapons of mass destruction,.

Though Rampton and Stauber critically deal with many facets of propaganda before, during, and at the peak of the US-led attack on Iraq, they sometimes appear overly US-centered in their views, and tend to generalize what the US audience was watching to the rest of the world. The authors neglect to mention that there was other audience, in the Arab world, that was exposed to a completely different version of the war, featuring the Arab, and sometimes the Iraqi, viewpoints. TBS

Rugh, William A. (2004) Arab Mass Media: Newspapers, Radio and Television in Arab Politics. Westport, CT: Prager, 259 pages. Hard cover. $59.95. ISBN: 0-275-98212-2.

Reviewed by Ralph D. Berenger

The most cited author on Middle East media has issued another classic, Arab Mass Media, an update of his 1985 Arab Press, the favorite for half a generation of Middle East media scholars.

Latter-day Rugh critics of the now somewhat outdated Arab Press will be pleased that the former UAE and Yemen ambassador has re-tooled the previous work to reflect the modern dynamic realities of mass media in the Middle East, especially transnational television.

The author's well-known media functions and structures have been modified since his earlier work. He groups each of the 22 Arab countries of the Middle East into his list of functions. Some of his definitions are comfortably familiar, such as his discussion of mobilization, loyalist and diverse press types. But he has added another category, the transitional press, into which Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia and Algeria are grouped. Scholars fond of citing this aspect of Rugh's work need to study this 2004 effort-which is a completely different publication and not a new edition, in a technical sense to bring themselves up to date.

Perhaps the most interesting addition is a look at the off-shore pan-Arab print media phenomenon (the so-called "Cyprus Press"), and his review of pan-Arab television since the 1990's, which he maintains is both reflective and expansive, and which acts competitively internationally, while adhering to domestic uniformity.

As with his previous publication, Arab Mass Media is a must-have for any academic, personal, and professional library but especially for media scholars and anyone who cares or writes about Middle East media. TBS

Smalley, Ben (ed.) (2004) Middle East Media Guide 2004 Edition. Dubai: Sandstone. 270 pages. Soft cover. $27.

Reviewed by Ralph D. Berenger

Transnational mass media are changing the complexion of the Middle East and Ben Smalley has edited a comprehensive yearbook that is billed as covering "all aspects of print, broadcast and media industries from Egypt and the Levant across the Gulf States and the Arabian Peninsula". The publication more than lives up to its advance billing.

Anyone dealing with Arab media will find this guide book indispensable. It contains the most up-to-date information available in this dynamic region, with invaluable lists of media companies with their contact information and, maybe most importantly, the names of the current players. It examines nearly all aspects of mass media in the region. And it provides brief analysis of the current status of each of the major media sectors.

The guide is divided into four major sections: The Press (which includes newspapers, all types of magazines, and governmental and independent news agencies); Broadcasting (with complete listings for state and independent television and radio stations as well as satellite and cable providers and TV news agencies); Cross Media, which covers public relations and advertising agencies, media free zones, media research and monitoring, media trade groups, and media education and training programs; and, finally, an External Contacts section that contains contact information for various governments and non-governmental media segments, financial institutions, business organizations, and research and think tanks. An index and table of contents helps readers find information quickly.

Getting a copy might be a problem, however, since the slickly produced guide contains no ISBN number. Instead, readers are left to contact the company at its email address: or at its UAE address: Middle East Media Guide, Sandstone F-LLC, Office 119, Building 2, Dubai Media City, PO Box 72280, UAE. Fax +971-4 394 1222. TBS

Zayani, Mohamed. Arab Satellite Television and Politics in the Middle East: The Emirates Occasional Papers, No. 54. Paperback. 60 pages. The Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research: Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2004. ISBN: 9948-00-557-0. $5.50.

Reviewed by Ralph D. Berenger

One of the key unanswered-and perhaps at this stage unanswerable-questions of transnational broadcasting in the Middle East is: so what?
Mohamed Zayani, associate professor of critical theory and media studies at the American University of Sharjah, ponders the political ramifications of Arabic Satellite TV on the Arab viewing public and concludes that the results will be very different than many Western observers are wont to believe.

His main proposition in this tightly woven essay for the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research is that broadcasting will be adding something new to the Arab social-historical experience: a pan-Arab public sphere where critical discussions will emerge for the first time in a culture unused to such openness of expression.

Borrowing heavily from Jürgen Habermas' Frankfurt School of critical analysis, Zayani says transnational broadcasters such as Abu Dhabi TV, Al-Arabiya and Al Jazeera, are contributing to a widening public sphere and hints that Arab public opinion-colloquially known as "The Arab Street"-might well emerge as a political force that will complement, not threaten, as many Western scholars believe, the political bulwarks in the region. He frets that satellite television in the Arab world "is more prone to creating a Tower of Babel than a regional village that mirrors the global village" of Marshall McLuhan, each channel appealing to and influencing a select audience that may be no more unified in its collective thinking than at present, although more vocal and interactive.
For more information on this and other studies, see TBS

Copyright 2004 Transnational Broadcasting Studies
TBS is published by the
Adham Center for Television Journalism, the American University in Cairo