19. Name: Maha Bashri Title: The Opinion and the Other Opinion: A Seminal Study of Al Jazeera’s Agenda Setting Effect in the Arab- Islamic Public Sphere Institution: University of South Carolina Country: United States Date: 2007 Language: English Abstract: Any form of communication is a cultural construction. The same should hold true for communication theories; agenda setting being a leading one. Today, there are more than 350 agenda setting studies, some examining non-Western cultures. These studies are based on contingent factors that are in most cases unique to Western societies. Cross- cultural studies rarely try to adapt the theory to the cultural, political and social variations in different societies. The idea that news networks set the agenda in politics and diplomacy is not a new one. However, some networks have greater influence than others. CNN is one of those networks that has risen to global prominence because of its coverage of the first Gulf War. It is the network that sets the agenda for the public, hence the CNN effect. Today scholars claim that Al Jazeera yields the same influence in the Arab-Islamic world. However, this claim does not rest on any empirical data. This dissertation examines the agenda setting that role Al Jazeera plays in the Arab-Islamic world. It looks at the contingent factors for agenda setting theory in the Arab-Islamic world.
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