A Letter from the Publisher

As anyone glancing at our slightly altered masthead will note, with this issue TBS re-launches as a journal exclusively concerned with satellite television broadcasting in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

In part this is simply recognition of what has become an increasingly de facto situation-not only has our coverage of other regions never approached the comprehensiveness of our reports, interviews, analysis, and research studies of satellite television broadcasting to and from the Arab world, but our most avid readers are all drawn to TBS precisely because of this focus.

Thus Fatima Mernissi, the Moroccan scholar whose books address the issues of Islam, women, and democracy, responded when we wrote asking for permission to print the previously unpublished full version of her essay "The Satellite, the Prince and Sheherazade".

"I would be more than happy to have you publish my 'Satellite and the Prince' piece in TBS; you could easily guess from my heavy quoting of your website that I do consider you one of the most avant-garde information sources on the Arab media revolution."

Accepting his appointment to our editorial advisory board, Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East Department at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said:

"TBS is truly unique. It thoroughly dominates its niche. It has no serious competition and is essential and required reading for anyone interested in satellite TV broadcasting to the Arab world."

Indeed our coverage of the Arab world in particular has been cited in numerous on-line encyclopedic regional websites as well as by specialized journals such as the Arab Information Project at the Center for Contemporary Arabic Studies at Georgetown University. Dr. John Anderson, then director of AIP (and at present chairman of the Anthropology Department at The Catholic University, Washington DC) wrote:

"For any scholar interested in the new Arab media, the coverage of Arab satellite broadcasting provided by TBS is of extraordinary value and greatly welcome."

The second reason for the relaunch is that the field of satellite TV broadcasting in the Arab world has reached such density that the field demands even more attention than TBS has managed to provide in the past. According to the Arab Advisors Group's comprehensive report on "Satellite TV in the Arab World "distributed to subscribers in October 2003,* there were then more than ninety satellite channels broadcasting in and to the Arab world; by now the number is well over one hundred, with new channels launching nearly every month.

We have included the Islamic world (non Arabic-speaking countries with predominant or at least large Muslim populations), firstly because of geographical overlap. Thus, programming for the Indian sub-continent offered by such Pay TV platforms in the Arab World as Showtime and ADD (which includes the Star network) is also promoted to the millions of expats from the subcontinent working in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates. In addition, there are at least two Pakistani broadcasters - one a network of entertainment channels and the other a predominantly news channel-transmitting to both the Gulf and the subcontinent from Dubai.

We are also pleased to note the presence in this issue of two contributions from individuals working in Arab satellite TV broadcasting. I refer to the articles "The Future of Al Jazeera" by Wadah Khanfar, the managing director of Al Jazeera, and "Us and Them, the Demise of the Union of World Journalists" by Dana Suyyagh, a senior producer for Al-Arabiya. Since TBS is to an important degree a professional journal read by professionals in the broadcasting industry, we shall encourage more members of that industry to write for us. But TBS is also very much a necessary reference publication for academics—for teachers and scholars in such fields as Middle East and Islamic World studies as well as for mass communication and media studies. In recognition of this special relationship, TBS will resume in forthcoming issues its peer-reviewed Academic Papers section, in which scholarly research will be published. We feel particularly obligated to provide this service in the light of the honor granted TBS by the International Division of the Broadcasting Educators Association of being a BEA official publication.

It will be an interesting year as TBS sharpens its focus and reaffirms its relationship with academic studies. As they say on air, stay with us.

S. Abdallah Schleifer

* For information about the Arab Advisors Group's study "Satellite TV in the Arab World" go to www.arabadvisors.com .

Copyright 2004 Transnational Broadcasting Studies
TBS is published by the
Adham Center for Television Journalism, the American University in Cairo
E-mail: TBS@aucegypt.edu