Covering Satellite Television in the Arab and Islamic Worlds
Published by the Adham Center for Television Journalism
Official Publication of the International Division of the Broadcast Education Association



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Letter from the Publisher:
As anyone glancing at our slightly altered masthead will note, with this issue TBS re-launches as a journal exclusively concerned with satellite television broadcasting in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

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Egyptian-American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim's documentary Control Room, due to be released commercially in mid-May 2004, offers a fascinating glimpse of the inner workings of Arabic satellite channel Al Jazeera during the recent war in Iraq. TBS presents a 5-minute preview from the film plus Danny Schechter's interview with the filmmaker.

copyright Ruth V. Ward

In her essay The Satellite, the Prince, and Scheherazade: The rise of Women as Communicators in Digital Islam distinguished feminist scholar Fatema Mernissi decodes the role of strong women on Arab satellite TV.

Wadah Khanfar
, newly-appointed managing director of Al Jazeera, sets out his vision of The Future of Al Jazeera.

Over the past seven years Al Jazeera has introduced a new culture and a new paradigm into the Arab world. A culture and a paradigm that rest upon the free exercise of journalism and public affairs broadcasting. During the early days of Al Jazeera it was something exciting to have Arab opposition leaders appearing on our screens. It was the first time that the Arab audience would listen to people ready to criticize Arab governments in public....


S. Abdallah Schleifer
visited the Gulf in March, took the pulse of its media and reported on The Gulf Media Mood (As Good As Ever). He also interviewed the editors in chief of the two largest channels: Ahmed Sheikh, of Al Jazeera, and Salah Negm, of Al-Arabiya. Chris Forrester reports on another Gulf success story in Showtime: Profit, At Last.

The US government launched Alhurra channel on Valentine's Day, but got more thorns than roses for its pains. TBS did find at least one person to defend it: the channel's own director, Muafac Harb. David Wilmsen, on the other hand, was unimpressed, to put it mildly, while Willa Thayer, Jihad Fakhredine, and Hassan Barari all took exception to one aspect or another of The Free One's first fling with its audience.


Crown Prince Mohammad Al Maktoum with Zafar Siddiqi of CNBC Arabiya

Business TV is a growing phenomenon in the Middle East. Tara Joseph surveys the field in Stock Market Reporting On-air Now: Business TV Comes of Age in the Middle East and S. Abdallah Schleifer has an up-beat take on CNBC Arabiya's first few months of operation. In Business Unusual: CNBC Arabiya on a Roll he talked with CEO Zafar Siddiqi, chief editor Walid Al Kurdi, and executive producer and presenter Sami Zaydan.

Jihad Fakhreddine

Hussein Amin

Mustafa Kabha

Ahmed Bedjaoui

Ahmed Muaffaq Zaidan

Audiences and Attitudes

Transnational Television and the Arab Diaspora in the United States: Abeer Etefa investigates what Arab-Americans watch.

Who Is Al Jazeera's Audience? Philip Auter, Mohamed M. Arafa, and Khaled Al-Jaber deconstruct the demographics and psychographics of an Arab satellite news network.

Trojan Horse? On the Arab Media as a Portal for Western Goods and Values: Jihad Fakhreddine looks at the advertising on Arab satellite channels.

"Operation Iraqi Freedom" or "Invasion of Iraq"? Injy Galal, Amy Mowafi, and Lama al-Hammouri report on the interpretations of CNN and Al Jazeera coverage of the 2003 Iraq War as reflected in Egyptian discussion groups.

Satellite World

Nile Nilesat: Current Challenges and Future Trends: Hussein Amin reports on a recent study to identify the current status of the region's oldest satellite platform.

Attitudes of Palestinian-Israelis to Arab Satellite TV: Mustafa Kabha surveys the past and present of Palestinian-Israeli viewing habits.

Arab and European Satellites over the Maghrib: Ahmed Bedjaoui recounts the history of satellite broadcasting in Arab North Africa and surveys its current state.

The Warlords' New Weapon: Ahmed Muaffaq Zaidan, Al Jazeera's Pakistan bureau chief, reports on the phenomenon of ethnic TV in Afghanistan.

Iraqi Kurdish Satellite Channels have sprung up to advance to the Kurdish cause and assert Kurdish identity, in Iraq and elsewhere. Shirzad Sheikhani reported for Asharq Al-Awsat.

Arabic News Broadcast: Rasha El-Ibiary reports on the planned launching of a new Arabic-language channel out of London aimed at the Iraqi market.

The World of Entertainment

Showtime and ART Target Lebanon Sat-pirates: Chris Forrester describes the massive piracy of intellectual property rights in Lebanon and how two leading TV entertainment channels are trying to stop it.

Rude Awakening: Dream TV, Egypt's only private channel, gained an early reputation for daring talk shows, and lost it fast. Ahmed Osman talked to some to the main players.

Globalization Stressed at FICCI Frames India 2004: Janet Fine reports on India's largest entertainment media meeting.

Book Excerpt: "Global Media Goes to War"

"Global Media Go to War": TBS excerpts chapters by Muhammad Ayish, Catherine Cassara and Laura Lengel, and Ibrahim Al-Marashi from a soon to be published collection of essays and studies of media coverage of the 2003 Iraq War, with original introduction by editor Ralph D. Berenger and a list of journalists who died during the conflict.


CMEIS conference participants Nabil Khouri, Mohammad Zayyani, and Steve Tatham

BIMA Participants

Arab and Western TV Coverage of the War in Iraq: the Continuing Debate
The Centre of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies of the University of Cambridge
Cambridge, March 19-21, 2004.

Introduction by Khaled Hroub; report by Dana Suyyagh, papers by Li Xiguang and Joanne Tucker.

The 4th Annual Conference of The Beirut Institute for Media Arts (BIMA)
Beirut, March 16-19, 2004.
Report by Iveta Kourilova; interview with BIMA director Ramez Maaluf by Yasmine Shuhaibar; papers by Rawan Damen and Joseph Khalil with Dareen Abu Ghaida.

NewsXchange 2003
Budapest, November 6-7, 2003.
Report by Morand Fachot; transcript of discussion of embedding, moderated by Christiane Amanpour and with contributions by Mark Damazer of the BBC and Bryan Whitman of the US Department of Defense.


Technical Review: TBS introduces a new column on the virtual nuts and bolts of satellite broadcasting as they particularly impact on the region. In his first contribution, Michael Murrie discusses "store-and-forward video," a technology that came into its own during the 2003 Iraq war.

Starting with the next issue (TBS 13, Fall/Winter 2004), Transnational Broadcasting Studies returns to its original practice of devoting a section to peer-reviewed papers. Papers submitted must be products of formal research or scholarship in the field of satellite television broadcasting in and to the Arab and Islamic worlds.

Studies to be considered for inclusion in this section should be sent to Dr. Humphrey T. Davies, managing editor of TBS, at or at TBS c/o Adham Center for Television Journalism (114), The American University in Cairo, 113 Sharia Kasr El Aini, Cairo 11511 Egypt.


A Letter from the Publisher


Book Essay "Watchdogs of War? Books on Media and 'Operation Iraqi Freedom'" by Ralph D. Berenger

Books in Brief

De Beer, Arnold S. and John C. Merrill (Eds.) Global Journalism: Topical Issues and Media Systems.
Reviewed by Ralph D. Berenger.

Nacos, Brigitte L. (2002) Mass-Mediated Terrorism: The Central Role of the Mass Media in Terrorism and Counterterrorism.
Reviewed by Rasha El-Ibiary.

Rampton, Sheldon and John Stauber (2003). Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq. London: Robinson.
Reviewed by Rasha El-Ibiary.

Rugh, William A. (2004) Arab Mass Media: Newspapers, Radio and Television in Arab Politics.
Reviewed by Ralph D. Berenger.

Smalley, Ben (ed.) (2004) Middle East Media Guide 2004 Edition.
Reviewed by Ralph D. Berenger.

Zayani, Mohamed. Arab Satellite Television and Politics in the Middle East.
Reviewed by Ralph D. Berenger.

Film Reviews:

Doyen Arabic satellite channel Al Jazeera has not only caused the emptying of buckets of ink, real and virtual, in the print and other media, it has been the subject of at least three recent documentary films. TBS presents reviews of Jehane Noujaim's Control Room, Tewfik Hakem's Al Jazeera: Voice of Arabia, and Lars Otten's The Media and Democracy in the Arab World.

Satellite Chronicles:

TBS introduces Satellite Chronicles, a new department providing an ongoing month-by-month record of events in the Arab and Islamic satellite worlds, as reported in the press.


Regional Broadcasting Resources

Copyright 2004 Transnational Broadcasting Studies
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Adham Center for Television Journalism, the American University in Cairo