22. Name: Ali Abu Salem Title: Pan-Arab Satellite Television Phenomenon: A Catalyst of Democratization and Socio-Political Change - Al Jazeera Case Study Institution: Queensland University of Technology Country: Australia Date: 2007 Language: English Abstract: In less than ten years, Al Jazeera channel has become the most popular satellite news service in the Arab world. Regimes around the region have regarded Al Jazeera as a threat, while the channel has consistently claimed that it is simply reporting the truth. Notwithstanding this, Aljazeera has successfully established its presence in the media world despite the controversies surrounding its professional approach and the hammering criticism that has been directed to it in both the Middle East and the West. This research explores the thesis that Al Jazeera is a catalyst of democratization and sociopolitical change in the Arab world. As a recent media phenomenon, Al Jazeera has been playing a critical role in changing the social and political values of societies in the Arab world and viewers’ perceptions of a range of social and cultural topics relating to human rights, equality, diversity, gender, employment and exploitation. Through its persistent campaigns to raise the awareness of its increasingly broadening viewer base to these issues, Al Jazeera has created a new public sphere in the Arab countries that are traditionally and historically non-democratic.
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