Covering Satellite Television in the Arab and Islamic Worlds
Published by the Adham Center, The American University in Cairo, Egypt,
and the Middle East Centre, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Official Publication of the International Division of the Broadcast Education Association



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After thirteen electonic issues, Transnational Broadcasting Studies is set to publish its first hard copy edition, in collaboration with the University of Oxford. In a Letter from the Publishers, S. Abdallah Schleifer and Walter Armbrust explain the rationale behind this development and announce a call for papers.


S. Abdallah Schleifer went to Doha, where he reported on developments at one of the region's major players in Al Jazeera Update: More Datelines from Doha and a Code of Ethics.

Meanwhile, Humphrey Davies was in Dubai, where he met the people responsible for the recent major make-over of Dubai TV and dropped in on CNBC Arabiya to hear about their re-launch. For his report, see Dubai: Watch This Space! He also talked to CNBC Arabiya CEO Zafar Siddiqi about his plans for CNBC Pakistan.


Photo by Daina Moussa
Religious programming occupies a significant slot on Arab satellite channels. It has brought fame to preachers and role models, and provided the space for dedicated stations. It may also have changed the discourse.

Lindsay Wise
interviews Ahmad al-Farrag, one of the pioneers of religious television programming and the discoverer of Egypt's star TV preacher, the late Sheikh al-Shaarawi. Wise also writes on Amr Khaled, star of the younger generation of Muslim "tele-Islamists," while S. Abdallah Schleifer interviews Yusuf al-Qaradawi, doyen of "Islamist" preachers. Maha Shahba discusses the televised exposure given to charismatic convert Hamza Yusuf, while Amina Khairy's brief report on hip religious singer Sami Yusif demonstrates that even the music satellites give religion its due, at least in Ramadan.

In The Proposed Satellite Television Channel of the Organziation of the Islamic Conference: A Response to Moral Panic?, Ali Al-Hail argues that the 2001 proposal of the Organization of the Islamic Conference mandating the establishment of an English-language Islamic satellite channel (still to be implemented) is fundamentally flawed--a notion implicitly challenged by the late Abdul Qader Tash, whose article Islamic Satellite Channels and Their Impact on Arab Society: Iqra Channel - a Case Study describes the challenges and achievements of the Arabic-language Islamic channel he founded.


Arab satellite channels devoted considerable effort to keeping their viewers abreast of developments in the US presidential election race and informing them as to the nature of the American electoral system. Lindsay Wise and Usama Najeeb watched and recorded their impressions of Arab Satellite Coverage of the US Elections. They also interviewed Hafiz Al Mirazi, head of Al Jazeera's Washington bureau, on his network's coverage.

Though some viewers in the region may feel wistful about their own chances of participation in such a process, they can take their destiny in their own hands when it comes to selecting pop idols at least; in The Best Hope for Democracy in the Arab World? Tyler MacKenzie describes how the residents of Damascus voted for Arab pop's next Superstar.


Picasso's "Guernica"

As news bulletins report daily on mayhem and terror in Iraq and elsewhere, satellite channels grope to define the thin line that separates the acceptable from the offensive, and the reporting of information from the encouragement of political violence.

In Made for Television Events, Jon Alterman discusses what drives political kidnappers in Iraq, and Simon Buck's The Pressures of 24 Hour News takes the Beslan hostage-taking tragedy as its starting point, while in To Show or Not to Show? Graphic Images in TV Media Paul Cochrane reviews the principles and praxis of a number of stations.

The section concludes with a plea by Judea and Ruth Pearl, parents of Daniel Pearl, entitled No More Public Murders, which includes an appeal to the media to exercise "responsible judgment" in publishing terrorist messages and imagery.


Joe Khalil

Wendy Feliz Sefsaf


Balancing Act: UAE Satellite TV Channels Between National and Pan-Arab Markets: Jihad Fakhreddine analyzes the failure of Gulf satellite channels to maximize advertising revenue.

NourSat, the New Satellite in the East: Chris Forrester describes Mawared Group's attempts to promote a new Hot Spot for Middle East pay-TV channels.

Blending in: Arab Television and the Search for Programming Ideas: Joe Khalil reviews a number of strategies adopted by producers in the Arab World to entertain their audiences, from inspiration and licensing to "cloning."

US International Broadcasting Strategies in the Arab World: An Analysis of the Broadcasting Board of Governors' Strategy from a Public Communication Standpoint: Wendy Feliz Sefsaf critiques the US government's attempts to improve its image in the Arab World by launching its own TV and radio channels.

Streaming Video: A New Era in TV Broadcasting: Usama Najeeb describes a new technology that looks set to revolutionize TV broadcasting.



News Xchange: Eason Jordan queries King Abdallah.

Emad Eldin Adeeb at News Xchange

Salah Negm of MBC Group at News Xchange

Punting in between meetings at Cambridge

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Mohamed Ayish, Ibrahim Helal

Participants listen to a panel at Cambridge.

Panelists at AUSACE Conference in Cairo.

News Xchange '04, Algarve, Portugal
18-19 November 2004

Keynote Address by King Abdallah of Jordan.

The Diversity of Arab Media. Transcript of a panel chaired by Emad Eldin Adeeb with senior analyst S. Abdallah Schleifer, featuring Nart Bouran (Abu Dhabi TV), Joel Campagna (Committee to Protect Journalists), Mohamed Gohar (Video CairoSat), Mouafac Harb (Alhurra), Ibrahim Helal (BBC Trust), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Ibrahim Mousawi (Al Manar), Salah Negm (Al Arabiya), Nahida Nakad (TF1), and Hosam El-Sokkari (BBC World Service).

Conference Report by Morand Fachot.

The Cambridge Arab Media Project: The Media and Political Change in the Arab World, Moller Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge, UK
29-30 September 2004

Conference Report: Between Theory and Practice by Lindsay Wise. (A revised and extended version of the paper delivered by Wise at this conference appears elsewhere in this issue. See Amr Khaled: Broadcasting the Nahda.)

Keynote Address. Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, reports on findings from his public opinion surveys in the Arab world about viewing habits and their impact on political positions.

Thoughts on Arab Satellite Television, Pan-Arabism, and Freedom of Expression. Saad Eddin Ibrahim reflects on what the Arab world as whole, and he personally, owe to the independence of Arab satellites.

Remarks in Response to Saad Eddin Ibrahim: Ibrahim Helal, Al Jazeera's former editor-in-chief, provides a frank assessment of what Arab satellite broadcasters can, and cannot, achieve.

Arab Satellite Broadcasting: An Alternative to Political Parties? Kai Hafez discusses the potential of Arab satellite channels to act as forces for democracy in non-democratic societies.

Arab Women in the New Media: Empowerment or Disempowerment? Shereen Abou El Naga questions whether Arab satellites have managed to find a positive new way to present women.

On the Role of Media in the Current Transition Phase in Iraq: Iqbal Hassoon al-Qazwini reviews the status and needs of satellite and other media in Iraq today.

The Ninth International Conference of the Arab-US Association for Communication Educators (AUSACE), Cairo
18-21 November 2004

Conference Report by Naila Hamdy

International Academy for Media Science (IAMS):
Arab Satellites in a Changing World, Cairo
22-24 June 2004

Conference Report by Ibrahim Saleh.

The 58th Annual Middle East Institute (MEI) Conference: "The Use and Limits of Power in the Middle East," Washington, D.C.
5-6 October 2004

Media Diplomacy: Who Controls the Control Room?
Conference Report
by Derek Hoffmann



Book Essay

War Correspondent Memoirs Personalize Conflict
By Ralph D. Berenger, Book Reviews Editor

Books in Brief

Al-Jaber, Khaled The Credibility of Arab Broadcasting: The Case of Al Jazeera. Doha: National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage, 2004. Hard cover. 118 pages. ISBN: 99921-25-26-3. No price listed.
Reviewed by Ralph D. Berenger

DeFleur, Melvin L. and Margaret H. Learning to Hate Americans. Spokane, WA: Marquette Books, 2003. 128 pages. Paperback. ISBN 0-922993-05-X. $29.95.
Reviewed by Sahar Sedky

Elasmar, Michael G. The Impact of International Television: A Paradigm Shift. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003. Paperback. 212 pages. ISBN: 0-8058-4220-9. $25.
Reviewed by Lamees M. El Baghdady

Hills, Jill The Struggle for Control of Global Communication: The Formative Century. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2002. 327 pages. Hard cover. ISBN 0-252-02757-4. $39.95.
Reviewed by Aliaa Dawoud

Kilani, Sa'eda Freedom Fries: Fried Freedoms, Arab Satellite Channels Struggle between State Control and Western Pressure. Amman: Arab Archive Institute, 2004. Paperback. 233 pages. ISBN:
892-4-2004. No price listed. Reviewed by Rasha El-Ibiary

Pelton, Joseph N., Robert J. Oslund, and Peter Marshall (eds.) Communication Satellites: Global Change Agents. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. Paperback. 387 pages. ISBN 080-5-8496-29. $39.95.
Reviewed by Effat Khalifa

Sakr, Naomi (ed.) Women and Media in the Middle East: Power Through Self-expression. London: I.B. Tauris, 2004. Paperback. 248 pages. ISBN: 185-04-3545-6. $ 27.50.
Reviewed by Ralph D. Berenger

Resource Documents:
TBS initiates a series of papers from the archives of the industry that cast light on critical moments and themes in its history.S. Abdallah Schleifer's MMDS and the New Satellite Television Technologies: A Media Explosion in the Arab World covers in detail the origins of Arab satellite television.

Technical Review:
In New Generation Camcorders Michael Murrie reviews equipment that may be useful if you are a videographer and have to capture "an expected brief event such as the launch of a rocket or artillery fire."
Iraq-bound journalists read on....

The Far Side of the Satellite:
Two documentary film makers meditate on images of war: Not Every Picture Tells a Story by Errol Morris and The Dark Desert Night is Alight: The Impact of War Visuals on Television Viewers and Print Readers by Shems Friedlander.

Satellite Chronicles:
TBS continues its month-by-month record of events in the Arab and Islamic satellite worlds as reported in the press for the period May to November 2004.

TBS lists conferences and meetings of interest for the coming twelve months, with links.

Regional Broadcasting Resources:
TBS provides links to
regional media websites.

Copyright 2004 Transnational Broadcasting Studies
TBS is published by the
Adham Center for Television Journalism, the American University in Cairo and the Middle East Centre, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, UK