Friday, December 5, 2008

Media changing the Arab World

The Carnegie Foundation published a good article on the role of internet, facebook, satellite media in the Arab World. The books we read on the contemporary Arab World are outdated, my friends, because the young and restless in the Arab World are throwing of the shackles of censorship, oppression, mosque and government. Read HERE. For instance, on Egypt's 'facebook girl'.


Snake Oil Baron said...

I have recently been impressed at how profound the effect of satellite TV has been in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The effect (outside of a few rich people) goes back to the US war to liberate Kuwait since people discovered that some state media like Saudi Arabia's were not even acknowledging that the US was at War with Iraq. The value of access to satellite TV became self-evident. As the cost went down and demand went up, the penetration rate of satellite TV in the MENA area increased in an accelerating manner. Now cell phones and broadband are penetrating as well even if such access is still lower than in many places in the world.

Both Christian evangelicals and political interests have found that the expanding use of the technology makes providing content for these areas in the various languages, dialects and culturally relevant formats worthwhile. More secular entertainment based content providers are also affecting the region since showing content form other regions of the planet to the viewers of the MENA is a cost effective way to win audiences and has the effect of giving people insights into the lives of people in other cultures. I have been told that there were a number of divorces in the MENA region that were blamed on women seeing a Turkish soap opera where one of the main characters is a man who supports his wife's career and treats he as an equal partner.

While many of the satellite news stations have no qualms about giving voice to terrorists, extremists and antisemitic rants, they tend to also provide dissenting opinions and have put enough pressure on state media to actually gain some independence from the governments of the regions to maintain market shares.

The MENA region is being pried open to new ideas and concepts at a pace that is revolutionary. The backlash against apostates and secularists could increase as the orthodox fundamentalist Muslims realize just how dangerous all this is to their dieing worldview.

John Stringer said...

Hello Baron - as far as I am concerned, you are preaching at the choir :-) This blog/website is co-hosted by