Covering Satellite Television in the Arab and Islamic Worlds
Published by the Adham Center, The American University in Cairo, Egypt,
and the Middle East Centre, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Official Publication of the International Division of the Broadcast Education Association

 

 

 

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LETTER FROM THE EDITORS

After thirteen electronic issues, Transnational Broadcasting Studies is publishing its first hard copy edition, in collaboration with the University of Oxford. In a Letter from the Publishers, S. Abdallah Schleifer and Walter Armbrust introduce TBS 14's online version and the new hard-copy edition, which will include a peer-reviewed article on Television and the Ethnographic Endeavor: The Case of Syrian Drama by Christa Salamandra.

To order the print edition of TBS, go to: http://aucpress.com/aucpress02/aucstore.htm
and search for Transnational Broadcasting Studies

CULTURE WARS:
THE ARAB VIDEO CLIP CONTROVERSY



Photo of Ruby courtesy of Sherif Sabri.

According to some, satellite music channels are undermining Arab culture with shocking images of sexy, scantily clad singers. Others beg to differ over the implications of this overwhelming presence on the Arab television screen.

TBS publisher and senior editor Walter Armbrust kicks off the discussion with his article What Would Sayyid Qutb Say? Some Reflections on Video Clips.

In Culture: The Distinguishing Feature of a People, popular Islamic television preacher Amr Khaled calls for an authentic cultural voice to replace that of the "Westernized" videoclip, while in Ruby: The Making of a Star, TBS correspondent Brooke Comer interviews the Egyptian pop star who has been a lightning rod for much of the controversy surrounding music videoclips and discovers Ruby is indifferent to her critics.

In TBS's own pro and con debate, Amina Khairy claims that Arabic Video Clips Flirt with Desires of Egyptian Youth, but Humphrey Davies takes a positive view and insists that Video Clip Venom Must Stop! Finally, Patricia Kubala makes the point that it's not all about sex, and argues that an effort to produce music videos reflecting religious and cultural values forms The Other Face of the Video Clip: Sami Yusuf and the Call for al-Fann al-Hadif.

HEARTS, MINDS, AND THE REMOTE CONTROL:
IS AMERICAN MEDIA DIPLOMACY WORKING?


The Alhurra newsroom in Springfield, Va.


Lieut. Comm. Steve Tatham live from Iraq.

The executive vice president of US-funded satellite channel Alhurra gets the first word in an Interview with Mouafac Harb by Lindsay Wise, who also travelled to the station's studios in Springfield, Va., to take A Second Look at Alhurra over a year after its launch.

In an effort to find out what viewers think of the US broadcasting effort, TBS correspondent Summer Said interviews Egyptians and presents a selection of their opinions in Alhurra on the Cairo Street.

Former US ambassador William A. Rugh questions the US administration's strategy in Broadcasting and American Public Diplomacy, but Walid Phares defends the US-funded channel in Alhurra is at the Heart of the War of Ideas.

Jihad Fakhreddine's concern in US Public Diplomacy: Targeting the Ruled or the Rulers is whether the US has even identified the right audience for its programming, while in Losing the Battle for Arab Hearts and Minds Steve Tatham, Royal Navy spokesman for military operations during the 2003 Iraq War, takes us back to the controversial issues of "embedding" and miscommunication that plagued the Arab-Coalition media relationship during the conflict.

GULF PLAYERS:
THE EXPANSION OF AL JAZEERA AND THE RISE OF AL ARABIYA



 

TBS senior editor S. Abdallah Schleifer reports on the latest developments from Doha and Dubai in Al Jazeera: Once More Into the Fray and Stealth Bouquet: The MBC Group Moves On. Schleifer also sits down with the general manager of Al Arabiya to discuss the channel in A Dialogue With Abdul Rahman al-Rashed.

Michael Hudson reviews the history of changing Western attitudes towards Arab satellite TV news channels in Washington vs. Al Jazeera, while Hugh Miles offers his observations about What the World Thinks of Al Jazeera.

Jon Alterman's The Challenge for Al Jazeera International analyzes the prospects for the station's new English-language channel, slated to begin broadcasting later this year.

THE WATCHFUL EYE:
STATE PRESSURES, CENSORSHIP, AND SCRUTINY


Photo by Daina Moussa.

The relationship between the satellite channels and the politicians has never been simple. Naomi Sakr poses the question: Arab Satellite Broadcasting and the State: Who Curbs Whom, Why, and How? while Joel Campagna discusses the effect of government pressures on the region's television reporting in Arabic Satellite Channels and Censorship.

In Of Bans, Boycotts, and Sacrificial Lambs: Al-Manar in the Crossfire, Stacey Philbrick Yadav traces the process by which al-Manar has helped its sponsor Hizbullah to reposition itself within the rapidly changing configurations of Lebanese politics.

William Merrifield's MED-TV: Kurdish Satellite Television and the Changing Relationship between the State and the Media details the case of the first, short-lived, satellite station in Kurdish and the challenges for nation states posed by new media's "virtual space."

In From All Sides, Mariah Blake looks at the obstacles placed in the way of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya by both the authorities and the insurgents in Iraq.

Arabsats Get the MEMRI Treatment by Brian Whitaker examines how an Israeli Arab press watchdog is extending its remit to include Arab satellite TV.

ZOOMING IN, ZOOMING OUT:
ARAB SATELLITES TELEVISE 'THE REVOLUTION'

In Assessing the Democratizing Power of Arab Satellite TV, Marc Lynch looks at how coverage of Iraqi elections and Lebanese protests, combined with taboo-breaking talk shows, may be changing the political terrain in the Middle East.

From Beirut, Magda Abu-Fadil describes how the Lebanese satellite channels found new roles for themselves while broadcasting Live from Martyrs' Square in the midst of the country's upheaval.

Charles Levinson's Arab TV on the Campaign Trail in Egypt, Iraq, and Palestine analyzes the different roles of local and satellite media in contributing to a free and fair electorial process in the three countries.

THE MARKET: IS THE ARAB SATELLITE BUBBLE SET TO BURST?


Jihad Fakhreddine

As Arab satellite stations continue to proliferate and grow, are they ignoring basic market issues?

In the Rise and Potential Fall of Pan-Arab Satellite TV, Jihad Fakhreddine asks whether the present boom in pan-Arab TV may not be at the expense of the home-grown variety, and in To Pay or Not to Pay? Free Western Entertainment Channels Seek Pay Package Audiences, Joe Khalil asserts that the Arab viewer currently is in a "state of bliss," but asks, "Will this come at a cost?"


MEDIA WITH A MISSION:
ASPECTS OF RELIGIOUS BROADCASTING ON ARAB SATELLITE TV


Amr Khaled

Arab Satellite TV's contribution to religious discourse in the region is constantly evolving.

In this issue, Maha Shahba talks with Mohammad Hammam, executive manager of the Arab world's longest established Islamic satellite channel in Iqra: Channel with a Mission. Meanwhile, Noha El-Hennawy takes a closer took at at how Women Are Joining the Religious Debate on Satellite TV and interviews controversial female television preacher Malaka Zerar.

Popular Islamic "tele-Islamist" Amr Khaled writes on Arabs' and Muslims' need for culturally authentic and moral arts and entertainment in Culture: The Distinguishing Feature of a People.


ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS

The Day Moroccans Gave Up Couscous for Satellites: Global TV, Structures of Feeling, and Mental Emigration by Tarik Sabry

Three reports by the Arab Advisors Group:
1. Credibility of Satellite News Channels in Greater Cairo,
2. Credibility of Satellite News Channels in Jordan
3. Jordan Media City Update


CONFERENCES

The Arab-International Media Forum
Summaries of Meetings held in (1) Doha, March 2005, (2) London, March 2005, and (3) Sharjah, December 2002.

The Frontline Club, London
Arab Television and News and Al Jazeera, 2 March 2005.


DEPARTMENTS


Books:

Book Essay

Al Jazeera: In Pursuit of 'Contextual Objectivity'
By Ralph D. Berenger, book reviews editor

Book Reviews

Ayish, Muhammad. Arab World Television in the Age of Globalization: an Analysis of Emerging Political, Economic, Cultural and Technological Patterns. Hamburg: Deutsches Orient-Institut, 2003. 121 P. ISBN 3-89173-071-3.
Reviewed by Mohammad Ibahrine

Berenger, Ralph D. (ed), Global Media Go to War: Role of News and Entertainment Media During the 2003 Iraq War. Spokane WA: Marquette Books, 2004. Paperback. 369 pages. ISBN 0-922993-10-6, $49.95.
Reviewed by Naomi Sakr

Hoskins, Andrew. Televising War: From Vietnam to Iraq. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. 2004. Paperback. 148 pages. ISBN: 0826473067 $35.95.
Reviewed by Rasha El-Ibiary

Kamalipour, Yahya R. and Nancy Snow (eds.), War, Media and Propaganda: A Global Perspective. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2004. Paperback. 280 pages. ISBN: 0-7425-3562-2. $27.95.
Reviewed by Rasha El-Ibiary

Mellor, Noha. The Making of Arab News. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. 176 pages. Paperback, 0-7425-3819-2, $23.95; Hard cover 0-7425-3818-4, $69.
Reviewed by Ralph D. Berenger

Nohrstedt, Stig A. and Rune Ottosen (eds). U.S. and the Others: Global Media Images on "The War on Terror." Goteborg: Nordicom, 2004. Paperback. 316 pp. ISBN 91-89471-24-5. $28.
Reviewed by Nadia El-Awady

Resource Documents:

Internal restrictions on national broadcasters are often cited as a reason for their failure to compete successfully with independent channels. TBS continues its series of key documents by publishing The Code of Ethics of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (1989). The ERTU is currently considering the introduction of a new Code of Ethics.

Technical Review:

Cabsat 2005
By Hamid Ouddane, TBS contributing editor

Satellite Chronicles:

TBS continues its month-by-month record of events in the Arab and Islamic satellite world as reported in the press and by BBC Monitoring for the period December 2004 through April 2005.

Calendar:

TBS lists conferences and meetings for the coming twelve months.

Regional Broadcasting Resources:

TBS provides links to regional media websites.


Copyright 2005 Transnational Broadcasting Studies
TBS is published by the
Adham Center for Television Journalism, the American University in Cairo and the Middle East Centre, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, UK
E-mail: TBS@aucegypt.edu