63. Name: Tine Ustad Figenschou Title: The South is Talking Back: Al Jazeera English as a Strategic Contra-Flow Institution: University of Oslo Country: Norway Date: 2010 Language: English Abstract: This thesis seeks to define the extent to which Al Jazeera English represents a satellite news contra-flow. Adapting the contra-flow debate to the increasingly complex transnational satellite news landscape and relating the analysis to global power structures, the study examines AJE in relation to the vital contexts of Qatari media system and ownership. AJE’s editorial and production strategies and news output are analyzed. Drawing on extensive content analysis, qualitative interviews, and document analysis, the empirical analysis of AJE examines the points where the mainstream and the alternative converge on each of these levels. The research addresses AJE’s relationship with its Qatari owners and illuminates key structural limitations affecting the channel. AJE is vital in Qatari foreign policy and public diplomacy strategy, and serves as a strategic contra-flow for Qatar. Regarding editorial agendas and production strategies, the thesis examines the channel’s emphasis on its southern presence, the policy of employing local correspondents and its cooperation with the wider Al Jazeera Network. The analysis emphasises the channel’s aim to professionalize an alternative agenda, and highlights the dilemmas and conflicts caused by this inherent structural contradiction.
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