Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Satellite TV Spurs Evolutionary Democracy in the Arab World

The right of citizens to freely elect representative governments is the hallmark of democratic societies. While this right is not widely enjoyed in the Arab world, democratization in Arab societies has nevertheless taken root — bolstered by media technologies that bypass government control and put the potential for change in the hands of the people.

Along with the Internet, satellite broadcasting has enabled remarkable change in the way that Arab societies, which tend to favor traditional and group-oriented values, engage in discussions about politics and society. Since the early 1990s, satellite broadcasting in the Arab world has proliferated to yield more than 200 channels reaching an audience of approximately 325 million. In 22 countries spanning from Morocco in North Africa to Yemen in the Persian Gulf, this Arabic-speaking audience has a combined population accounting for a quarter of the Muslim world. HERE the whole article

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