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.
by Ralph D. Berenger
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
by Rasha El-Ibiary
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.
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."
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.
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
Sheldon and John Stauber (2003). Weapons of Mass Deception:
The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq. London: Robinson.
by Rash El-Ibiary
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.
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,.
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
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.
by Ralph D. Berenger
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Ben (ed.) (2004) Middle East Media Guide 2004 Edition.
Dubai: Sandstone. 270 pages. Soft cover. $27.
by Ralph D. Berenger
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.
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.
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.
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: www.middleeastmediaguide.com
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
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.
by Ralph D. Berenger
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.
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.
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 http://www.ecssr.ac.ae.