The Blog Abu Aardvark talked recently about what the popular Arab Satellite networks are actually talking about right now… you know, besides inciting terrorism and violence and hatred against the US.
I was actually going to blog about this a little while ago because I noticed on Al Jazeeras’ website that they had a “special report” dedicated to Arab reform.
Well, Abu Aardvark reports that AlJazeera is still pushing that stream on its’ talk shows and they are very popular among Arab viewers.
So what did the monolithic, America-bashing, Arab problem-avoiding al Jazeera talk about last week? Well, here are the most recent episodes of three of al Jazeera’s most popular talk shows, all aired over the last week:
First, The Opposite Direction (December 28) posed the question of “The Globalization of the Media” to an Iraqi writer and a Saudi academic, and asked whether the Arab media such as al Jazeera was part of the problem or part of the solution to the Arab condition. As Faisal Al Qassem framed the discussion: on the one hand, how could the United States talk about media freedoms given its own attacks on the Arab media, and why are some Arab newspapers more monarchical than the king [i.e. America] in their hostility towards the free Arab media and their incitement against it; but on the other hand, why can’t can’t we admit that some Arab media have used the technologies of globalization to incite terrorism and extremism, and don’t people have the right to fight against that it if it is happening? Fascinating arguments, and not a little self-criticism, ensued.
Second, No Limits (January 2) featured a probing discussion of “Corruption and Unemployment in the Arab World.”
Third, Open Dialogue (January 1) offered a free-wheeling debate over “The Arab Future and the Issue of Reform.”
Please Read the Whole story on his blog.
He goes on to compare it to Al-Arabiya, and the US State Department funded station Al-Hurrah which says.
Independant, and Arab controlled, satellite networks like Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera are very important in the “fight on terror” because they are one of the few independant voices, able to criticize governments and institutions without retribution while still reaching a huge number of Arabs and non-Arabs in the region.
They should not be dismissed as tools of propaganda for terrorists and extremists but used as tools to incite real discussion. I think if the US was smart they’d be asking Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya if they’d like direct interviews with powerful men like Colin Powell, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and the like. Just like the Sunday morning talk shows in the States… I’m sure the Arab public would love a chance to see and talk to the people who affect their lives on a daily basis.