Index Introduction 2 1. Arab Spring: The Revolution and Its Impact 4 2. Arab Spring and the American Media 8 3. Arab Spring and the British Media 19 4. Arab Spring and the Arab Media 27 5. Arab Spring and the Role of Social Media 49 Conclusion 51 Bibliography 53
Photo Gallery Introduction ? About The Topic The??Arab Spring??(literally??the Arabic Rebellions??or??the Arab Revolutions) is a??revolutionary wave??of??demonstrations??and??protests??that has been taking place in the??Arab world??since 18 December 2010. Prior to this period,??Sudan was the only Arab country to have successfully overthrown dictatorial regimes, in 1964 and again in 1985. To date, there have been revolutions in??Tunisia??and Egypt;??a??civil war in Libya;??civil uprisings in??Bahrain, Syria,??and??Yemen; major protests in??Algeria,??Iraq, Jordan,??Morocco,??and??Oman, as well as on the??borders of Israel;??and minor rotests in??Kuwait,??Lebanon, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia,??Sudan,??and??Western Sahara. In this project we have focused on the recent uprisings in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and Morocco. ? Our Objective For Taking Up The Issue The revolutions in the Middle East countries aim at attaining freedom and building up a democracy. It is of great interest to nations worldwide to observe how and when they attain freedom and whether they are able to successfully run the country. Media has played a very significant role in the projection of these issues and in shaping public opinion.
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Media of all countries are covering it, forming different perspectives. Our main objective is to study all the different sides of the story media has been managed to portray. ? Our Area Of Research The Arab Spring includes the revolutions of a number of countries. In this project we have focused on the media coverage of the uprisings in four Arab countries: Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and Morocco. ? Our Approach In this project we have looked at the media of three different regions-US, Britain and Arab. The project includes the analysis of editorials to explain the stand of newspapers of every region.
We have made an attempt to understand the perspective of leading columnists and journalists through their articles on various issues. We looked at the prominent role played by social media. ? Chapters In The Project ??? The first chapter “Arab Spring: Revolutions in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and Morocco” presents all that you need to know about the revolutions in these four countries. ??? The second, third and fourth chapters look at the coverage of the Arab Spring by the American, British and Arab media. The fifth chapter throws light on the role of social media in mobilizing people of the Arab world. ??? The last chapter is a conclusion of the project which presents our views. Arab Spring: The Revolutions and Its Impact The ‘Arab Spring’ refers to the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests that begun in the Arab world since December 2011. ‘Arab Spring’ may also be referred to as the “Arab Awakening”??or “Arab Uprisings”. So far demonstrations in two countries have yielded successful results: Tunisia and Egypt.
Tunisian President??Zine El Abidine Ben Alifled to Saudi Arabia on 14 January following the??Tunisian revolution??protests, and in Egypt,??President??Hosni Mubarak??resigned on 11 February 2011, after 18 days of massive protests, ending his 30-year presidency. The most recent waves of demonstrations that swept the Arab world have been in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen. These are the countries where revolts have received the maximum coverage from the media. A summary of the protests in these countries as well as those in Morocco which is a part of our study of media coverage, have been given below. Syrian Uprising of 2011 The Syrian revolution is known for its bloody nature. It is the most violent of all the revolutions in the Arab world with the death toll reaching over 1500. In Syria, protests began in January 2011, and by??March 2011, took the proportions of an uprising. The uprising is??Syria has been described as “unprecedented. “??Like the revolutionary movements in??Tunisia??and??Egypt, it has taken the form of protests of various types, including marches and??hunger strikes, as well as vandalism of government property and rioting of shops.
The Syrian administration led by President Bashar-al-Assad has come under heavy criticism from the international community for letting loose a reign of terror with violence being metted out to protestors by Syrian security forces loyal to the president. The Syrian government’s response to the protests was criticized by The??European Union,??the??Secretary-General??of the??United Nations,??and many??Western governments. ??? Bahraini Uprising of 2011 The??2011 Bahraini uprising is also called the??’Pearls Revolution’. The revolution in Bahrain is of a sectarian nature to a very large extent.
The Bahraini protests were initially aimed at achieving greater??political freedom??and equality for the majority??Shia??population. The Bahraini uprising has not lagged behind Syria when it comes to violence. The police response has been described as a “brutal” crackdown on protestors, including doctors and bloggers, many (though not all) of them unarmed and peaceful. ??? Yemeni uprising of 2011 The Yemen uprising of 2011 calls for the ouster of Ali Abdullah Saleh who has been the president of the country for 30 years.
The people of Yemen have been asking for change. They call for economic reforms and an end to corruption. Yemenis complain of mounting poverty among a growing young population and frustration with a lack of political freedoms. The country has also been plagued by a range of security issues, including a separatist movement in the south and an uprising of Shia Houthi rebels in the north. Besides, there are fears that Yemen is becoming a leading al-Qaeda haven, with the high numbers of unemployed youths seen as potential recruits for Islamist militant groups. . 1 Impact of the Arab Spring Middle East uprising’s effects are not limited to Asia or Africa. Some of the adverse effects of the Arab spring are explained as below- ??? Oil As many of the world’s major oil producing countries are in the Middle East, the unrest has caused a rise in oil prices, causing the??2011 energy crisis. The??International Monetary Fund accordingly revised its forecast for 2011 oil prices to reflect a higher price, and also reported that food prices could also increase.
Additionally, concerns about Egypt’s??Suez Canal have raised shipping and oil prices. The oil supplies have been seriously affected, the unrest has spread and led to regimes willing to use their crude stocks for political purposes. There has been a spike in oil prices, but for the moment that is all it is. The cost of crude oil is almost approaching the record levels of $150 a barrel. ??? Global peace index The GPI is the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness.
It gauges ongoing domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society and militarization in 153 countries by taking into account 23 separate indicators. The 2011 Index dramatically reflects the impact on national rankings of the Arab Spring. Libya (143) saw the most significant drop ??? falling 83 places; Bahrain (123) dropped by 51 places ??? the second largest margin; while Egypt (73) dropped 24 places. The economic cost of this to the global economy was $8. 12 trillion in the past year. Violence cost the global economy more than $8. 12 trillion in 2011. Reduction in growth The World Bank’s June 2011??Global Economic Prospects??report estimates that the turmoil may reduce??growth in the region by 1 percent??or more, with countries such as Egypt and Tunisia registering growth rates 3 or more percentage points lower than what they would have been in the absence of the crisis. Overall GDP in Egypt is projected to rise 1. 0 percent in 2011. ??? Impact of the Arab Spring on business globally ? More than a fifth (22%) of privately owned companies globally says that the unrest has had a negative impact on their business. This figure is highest in the North America region where a quarter (26%) of businesses reported a negative impact; Turkey was the country most affected (53%). ? In Europe, businesses in Denmark (30%) and Spain (29%) claim to have been most negatively affected, followed by the UK and Ireland (both 24%). ? In the UK, a quarter (24%) of companies say they have seen a negative impact on business as a direct result of the conflict, but just 6% say this will prevent them from doing business with the MENA region in the future. Confidence has been dented in the region, but only 10% globally said they are now less likely to do business there. ? BRIC economies displayed the biggest dip in confidence with 17% less likely to do business in MENA countries; 22% of companies surveyed in mainland China, for example, said they were now less likely to engage. The following chapters look at the media projection of the revolutions in the Arab world. 2. Arab Spring and the American Media The American media has been among the leading international media to have given coverage to the events of the Arab Spring.
They have been constantly following the developments of the revolutions. The U. S. strategic interests in this case are many. This has been reflected in their media content. In the course of our analysis of American media content- news stories, editorials, columns and opinion pieces that appeared in leading national dailies (The Washington Post and The New York Times), contents of magazines such as The New Yorker as well as videos found in the websites of news channels (CNN) – we observed a few trends in the coverage of the uprisings in the Arab world.
In this chapter we have provided the analysis of a few editorials and columns that appeared in two newspapers: The Washington Post and The New York Times. This is followed by reports on coverage of the Arab Spring by The New Yorker and CNN. The chapter ends with a summary of the trends we observed in the coverage of the revolutions in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and Morocco by the American media. 2. 1 Analysis of Editorials Newspaper editorials play a key role in determining which issues require attention. In other words, they perform the function of agenda setting. The editorials largely influence public opinion.
We tried to analyze as to which aspects of the revolution were considered more important by American newspapers. The editorials took an anti- autocracy stand and voted for democracy. A large number of editorials in American newspapers took up U. S. interests in these revolutions and their role to be of great significance. Newspapers, through their editorials condemned the suppression of the revolts by the security forces and voiced their support for freedom and democracy. A few of the editorials have been explained below. 1. Editorials of The Washington Post i) Shameful U. S. naction on Syria’s massacres (April 23, 2011) This editorial is a good example of the tough stand taken by the Washington Post against the Obama administration for being unable to keep his promise of supporting the aspirations of Arabs for greater freedom. They have attacked President Obama for not taking concrete actions in the face of inexcusable repressive measure taken by Assad in Syria. ‘As a moral matter, the stance of the United States is shameful. To stand by passively while hundreds of people seeking freedom are gunned down by their government makes a mockery of the U. S. ommitment to human rights. ‘ The editorial states that there is nothing for it but Assad to go. The expectations of the U. S. that there could be any reform with Assad still in power are ill founded. According to the Washington Post, ‘Mr. Assad will hardly be a credible partner for Israel. And no matter what happens, Syria will not return to the police-state stability it has known during the past several decades. ‘ The newspaper makes its stand clear that the U. S. should withdraw its ambassadors from Syria as is done by Western democracies in cases of large massacres such as those in Syria.
This will send out a strong signal of disapproval which is necessary in this case. On the whole, the Obama administration needs to go beyond merely commenting and denouncing the violence. ii) Preventing chaos in Yemen (June 09, 2011) The Washington Post suggests that Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh should not be allowed to return to Yemen and should be made to step down. This editorial talks about how Saleh should use his medical condition as a platform to make a slow exit. ‘Though unfortunate for the 69-year-old Mr.
Saleh, the relative good news may be that his medical condition could by itself ensure his indefinite exile. ‘ The Washington Post also expresses worry over the fact that there is nobody who seems capable of taking the country forward after Saleh’s exit. The editorial describes the condition of Yemen to be ‘dirt poor’, ‘complex’ and ‘dangerous’. Moreover, the paper talks about the role of the U. S. in Yemen in the post-Saleh scenario, in which it will need recovery on a financial front. Already dirt poor, Yemen will desperately need economic resuscitation when and if the current crisis can be overcome. That should provide the United States a means of leverage with a new regime. ‘ iii) Applying pressure on Bahrain (May 10, 2011) The Washington Post editorial board states that Syria and Libya have put Bahrain out of focus. The paper states that, ‘Bahrain could prove crucial to the outcome of this year’s Arab uprisings ??? and to whether it advances or damages the strategic interests of the United States. ‘ Here again we find the media’s concern of the U.
S. interests. ‘Bahrain is host to the U. S. 5th Fleet, which patrols the Persian Gulf and is vital to the containment of Iran. ‘ The editorial condemns the ruling party al-Khalifa family’s policy of suppressing revolts and gives a clear picture of the extent to which protestors have become victims. ‘Since the crackdown began March 14 more than 800 people have been arrested, mostly from the majority Shiite community; many have been tortured and four have died in custody. More than 1,000 people have been fired from their jobs in a country of 700,000.
Government employees are being pressured to sign oaths of loyalty to the Sunni regime. ‘ The editorial talks about the Obama administration’s need to harden up on the crackdown on protestors in Bahrain. ‘The best way to protect American interests is to tell both regimes that a continued security relationship with the United States depends on an end to policies of sectarian repression and on the implementation of moderate reforms. ‘ iv) Reforming the Arab Monarchies (June 21,2011) In this editorial The Washington Post has expressed its support for the Moroccan reform as proposed by King Mohammed IV.
According to the editorial, although the proposed reform is flawed, it is workable and should be given a consideration. ‘The Moroccan reform, which will be put to a referendum on July 1, could nevertheless be workable if it is accepted by all sides as the beginning and not the end of a political transition. It could also serve as a model for Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, both of whom are considering similar incremental measures. ‘ According to The Washington Post, the rulers should try to arrive at a compromise with pro-democracy movements.
They should tolerate and not suppress peaceful opposition demonstrations and speech. 2. Editorials of The New York Times i) Syria’s nightmare (June 17, 2011) In this editorial, The New York Times brings to notice the extent of brutality of President Assad’s crackdown on protestors in Syria. ‘ .. reports of Mr. Assad’s savagery are mounting. In the last two weeks, he has sent tanks and troops into the north and east, forcing about 10,000 Syrians to seek refuge in Turkey. Over three months of protests, more than 1,400 people have been killed and 10,000 detained. The editorial sympathises with the protestors lauding them for their courage. ‘Still, thousands of Syrians poured into the streets of Damascus and other cities on Friday in another courageous show of defiance. ‘ It is suggested that the U. S. needs to take a tougher stand on Syria and should campaign hard to ensure that tough sanctions are imposed on Syria by the United Nations Security Council. ‘In his Arab Spring speech, President Obama said Mr. Assad should lead a pro-democracy transition “or get out of the way. ” The Syrian leader has done neither and Mr.
Obama has done too little to rally international pressure to force him to make that choice. ‘ New York Times states that Assad has to step down at any cost. ‘The only way to end Syria’s nightmare is for Bashar al-Assad to go. ‘ ii) They should be condemning Syria (May 09, 2011) The New York Times strongly criticizes the Asian Bloc as well as the Arab nations of the United Nations for not pushing for Syria’s withdrawal from the race for membership of the United Nations Human Rights Council. ‘Mr. Assad knows no shame. But shame on the Asian bloc for not insisting that Syria withdraw.
India, Indonesia and the Philippines would be a lot more credible candidates if they refused to run with Syria. Shame, too, on the Arab members of the United Nations that reaffirmed support for Syria’s election even after Mr. Assad turned his guns on his people. ‘ Syria should not be running for membership in the first place let alone its election. ‘It is outrageous that Syria is even being discussed for membership. ‘ Syria has become an example of gross violation of human rights and its candidature for the membership of UNHRC is the biggest irony that could ever be. On no account should this be allowed. Electing Syria would make a mockery of the Council ??? one from which it might never be able to recover. And it would make a mockery of all the countries that voted for Syria. Syria must be dropped from the slate. ‘ iii) President Assad’s crackdown(April 28,2011) The New York Times takes a hard stance on President Assad of Syria and slams his dictatorial ways. ‘Now Mr. Assad appears determined to join his father in the ranks of history’s blood-stained dictators, sending his troops and thugs to murder anyone who has the courage to demand political freedom. ‘ Obama’s efforts to engage Syria has been said to be insufficient.
According to the New York Times, there should be no time wasted in throwing out Assad. Washington, apart from taking a tough stand itself, needs to convince the Arab league as well as the United Nations Security Council to take a tougher line on Syria. ‘Mr. Obama has done too little to rally international pressure to force him to make that choice… Washington needs to mount an all-out campaign to pass a tough United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Syria and imposing sanctions. . The paper mounts criticism on Russia and China. ‘Russia and China have inexcusably blocked a vote for weeks’. Russia and China, as ever, are determined to protect autocrats. ‘ iv) They are not listening (March 14, 2011) This editorial talks about how Bahrain and Yemen are both important to American strategic interests. ‘The former is home to the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet; the latter is battling, with Washington’s frequent participation, one of Al Qaeda’s stronger affiliates. ‘ This has been said to be the main reason for the Obama administration not taking a strong stand and suggests that with the situation going out of hand in both the countries Washington needs to switch over to another plan.
Quite diplomacy will no longer work. The need for a tougher stand on the part of the U. S. has been reiterated. ‘The Obama administration needs to press both governments a lot harder. The window for encouraging peaceful change is closing fast. ‘ The New York Times emphasizes that the rulers of Yemen and Bahrain need to hold dialogues with the opposition instead of trying to suppress them using security forces and thugs. v) Belated Realism on Yemen (April 6, 2011) The editorial supports the Obama administration’s efforts to ease President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen from office.
But it also states that the efforts should have started weeks ago. Yemen is identified to be of great importance for U. S. strategic interests. In an earlier editorial published on March 14, The New York Times had taken a stand that President Saleh needs to negotiate with his opponents and rein in his security forces and thugs. Within a matter of 15 days, the newspaper has begun hinting that Saleh should resign. ‘Yemen needs to move ahead without President Saleh and with more American support. ‘ 1. Analysis of columns and opinion pieces
In this section, we have looked at the articles written by two veteran journalists- Nicholas Kristof and Thomas Friedman. Both Kristof and Friedman have years of experience in reporting from the middle east and their articles provide in depth knowledge of the state of affairs in the Arab world in a simple and easy to understand style. A few of their articles have been explained here. i) Is this apartheid in Bahrain? (Nicholas Kristof, February 22,2011, The New York Times) In this article, Nicholas Kristof raises the issue of sectarianism- the main cause of Bahraini protests.
He deems it unfair that a minority Sunni should rule over and oppress a majority Shia population. He presents examples to show the plight of Shia at the hands of Sunni. Kristof points out that the sectarian nature of the protests is a worrisome factor. He finds sectarianism dangerous. According to him, the protestors comprising of the majority Shia should reach out to the minority Sunnis and should make sure that if they come to power the minority should not suffer at their hands. ii) Unfit for Democracy? (Nicholas Kristof, February 26, 2011, The New York Times)
In this article, Nicholas Kristof puts forth his views on the question as to whether the Arab world is ready for a democratic administrative set-up. His answer is emphatically in the affirmative. Often several doubts are raised over the ability of the Arab world to handle a democracy. Kristof calls this a ‘crude stereotype’. He cites several examples of countries where revolutions overthrew the autocratic administration to make way for democracy and contends that they are more or less successful. This gives rise to hopes for the countries of the Arab world.
He points out that it is wrong to underestimate the potentials of a people fighting so valiantly for freedom and democracy. iii) Standing Up to the King (Nicholas Kristof, June 18, 2011,The New York Times) In this article, Nicholas Kristof gives credit to Morocco’s King Mohammed IV for trying to put up a tolerant face to the pro-democracy protests. But Kristof calls this wisdom on the part of the Moroccan king ‘a low bar’. This, says Kristof, is something that rulers of other Arab countries should take a cue from.
He opines that Morocco stands out among other countries of the Arab world in the sense that at least people are able to voice their dissent without the fear of being silence or tortured by the establishment. Kristof hopes that King Mohamed IV would have the sense to turn Morocco into a British style limited monarchy giving space to democracy. This would bode well for Morocco as well as the Arab spring as a whole. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (Thomas Friedman, May 21, 2011The New York Times) Thomas Friedman describes the uprising in Syria to be of a completely different nature from those in other countries of the Arab world.
According to him, the Syrian revolution is capable of having a large impact on the protests in other countries. In his words, ‘Libya implodes, Tunisia implodes, Egypt implodes, Yemen implodes, Bahrain implodes ??? Syria??explodes. The emergence of democracy in all these other Arab countries would change their governments and have long-term regional implications. But democracy or breakdown in Syria would change the whole Middle East overnight. ‘ He points out that basher-al-Assad’s regime won’t last long for the people of Syria have now become fearless.
Friedman argues that though it is debatable as to whether the people of Syria will be able to build a successful democracy after Assad’s downfall there should be no doubt over the fact that people power is supreme and should be heeded on all accounts. 2. 3 CNN coverage of Arab Spring The broadcast media covered the revolutions of the Arab Spring expansively. The revolutions in Syria received the most coverage followed by those in Bahrain and Yemen. Any outbreak of violence in these countries made Breaking News.
Detailed accounts of deaths and injuries were consistently provided by CNN. The fact that CNN has been denied the permission to report from inside the country did not deter them from covering the protests in Syria. The videos and images of the protests shown in the reports of the CNN speak a thousand words. Videos of swarms of protestors thronging the streets carrying flags gave a fair idea of the magnitude of the protests in these countries. CNN reports show videos of horrifying acts of atrocities committed by security forces on protesting civilians.
In a report, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper says, “The regime that doesn’t just torture and murder its own people… doesn’t just shoot them down on the streets.. the regime that continues to arrest its children, torture them and murder them…the regime of Bashar-al-Assad in Syria… They try to hide their crimes by keeping reporters out but the videos continue to emerge. “The videos show Syrian soldiers stomping and kicking helpless citizens after gagging them and tying their hands. Appalling cases of innocent children being tormented by Syrian soldiers were brought to light by CNN.
A CNN correspondent in Bahrain spoke to Nabeel Rajab of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights who said that people are hanged, tortured and sexually harassed in Bahrain. The report stated that most of the sources who agreed to talk to them disappeared. Those close to them said that they had been arrested or gone into hiding after machine gun holding security forces raided their homes and threatened them. Nurses who treated wounded protestors, doctors and lawyers are among those who have been victimized by the forces said the report. This brings out the cruelty of the rulers to the people.
Shocking images of torture and massacre uploaded on Youtube are shown by CNN. If Egypt was dubbed the Facebook revolution then Syria is perhaps becoming the Youtube revolution even as the use of social media becomes more difficult and more dangerous.. it is their last window to the world, said a report on CNN. A point to be noted is that CNN, while showing most of the videos acquired from Youtube and Facebook, mentioned that it was impossible to confirm the authenticity of the videos. Certain videos that the channel showed were too graphic. Several feature stories were done by CNN.
In one such program, Syria’s secret doctors, CNN takes an exclusive look into an underground network of doctors working to save lives in Syria. CNN met some of the victims of the Syrian crackdown. The videos shown were explicit and could be disturbing to certain viewers. However, they aptly brought out the agony of those harassed by the security forces. 2. 4 Major findings The major findings of our study of the American media’s coverage of the revolutions in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and Morocco are summarized below. Trends in American Media ? Arab revolution has received extensive coverage from the American media.
Every aspect of the revolution has been taken up by the media. ? The protests in Syria have been covered most widely followed by those in Bahrain and Yemen. This was evident from the number of editorials that appeared in the national dailies of the United States. ? Not much coverage of other revolting states such as Jordan, Lebanon etc. ? The American media has condemned the violence in states like Syria, Bahrain and Yemen and have taken a pro-agitators stand and a sympathetic approach towards the protestors as against its harsh approach towards the oppressors. The media has lashed out at the autocratic regimes and have clearly stated that the rulers should give in to popular demand and step down. This is necessary for progress of these states. Media has made its support for political reforms clear in no uncertain terms. ? Besides the news stories covering the violence, editorials also give an account of the number of victims and thereby show the extent to which the acts of the rulers are deplorable. ? Major focus has been on the role of the US in the Arab Spring. Editorials have laid stress on the course of action the Obama administration needs to take in countries like Syria, Bahrain and Yemen. Most editorials of newspapers have stated that the Obama administration needs to take a tougher stand on the violence unleashed by the rulers of Syria and Bahrain. There are numerous examples to support this finding. The Washington Post has been extremely critical of the Obama administration’s inaction on Syria’s massacre. The New York Times has not taken as strong a stand against the Obama administration as The Washington Post but has been of the same opinion that Washington certainly needs to do better than what it is doing in support of pro democracy demonstrators and against Assad’s regime. Many editorials identify Bahrain to be of great importance to U. S. interests (Bahrain hosts the Fifth Fleet of United States Navy) and point that out to be a main reason for U. S. cautious approach. ? The American media has been optimistic in its coverage of the Moroccan reforms. They have welcomed King Mohamed IV’s proposed constitutional reforms. It has been stated that the handling of the situation in Morocco should serve as an example for Arab governments in responding to pro ??? democracy protestors. The media calls for greater international pressure from all quarters- the Asian Bloc, the Arab League and the neighbours of the countries in which protests are taking place. ? The media supported the cause of democracy in the Arab countries. 3. ARAB SPRING AND THE BRITISH MEDIA (The main British media analyzed here are ??? BBC, The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph and New Statesman) BRITISH MEDIA has covered the Middle East crisis from the very beginning. It has reported every injury, arrest, rape and death without any inhibitions. Some common trends observed in the British media are- Concentration is mainly on Syria, Libya and Egypt. Major newspapers and magazines have given a significant number of editorials and columns taking their stands based on their issues. Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain etc. have been secondary in terms of coverage. ??? It does not talk majorly of US government and Obama’s response towards every issue. Instead, it is a little more inclined towards the work of UN in preventing violation of human rights in the protests happening in the Middle East. British media have also criticized Russia and China for backing up Syria in UN. Most importantly, almost every British media has made an attempt to outline the future of the protesting countries. They have tried to analyze the political situations of the countries after the overthrow of dictatorship. ??? British Media as a whole has appreciated the role of social media in the Arab springs and specified their appreciation through many articles and news piece. ??? And last but not the least; British Media has supported the protests and the bringing about of democracy in the Middle East countries. It has also criticized the brutalities of the dictators. 3. 1 BBC BBC has been covering every aspect of the Middle East and airing it on their television channel and radio (Radio Live 5). ??? BBC has reported testimonies and individual stories from victims who fled to Lebanon from Syria. In this segment victims talked of rape, murder and destruction. ??? BBC has also framed all the details of the Middle East crisis in chronological order including the reasons for its outbreak, the demands of the people and what the dictators have to say. ??? BBC has also completely profiled the dictators of all five nations. ??? Many feature stories and videos have been uploaded at the official website of BBC. . Feature Story By Frank Gardner (BBC Security Correspondent) Arab Spring: Where It Is Now And Where It May Be Going This feature story brings out a very important side of the Middle East crisis. It explains that there are 22 Arab countries out of which 5 have had uprisings. Some have succeeded and some are yet to run their course. This article explains the differences between the revolts of all 5 countries and their reasons. The media made a mistake by trying to apply a one-size-fits-all template to every Arab country currently experiencing upheaval.
The observations are explained below- ??? In Egypt and Tunisia the military backed the protests against the president ??? In Syria the military remained loyal to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad ??? In Bahrain there was a split on sectarian lines ??? In Yemen months of popular street protests by an intensely tribal and complex society was overtaken by a bitter power struggle between the president and his clan. Yemen specifically has some major problems like fast dwindling resources and a dangerous and innovative off shoot of al-Qaeda that is looking to exploit a growing power vacuum In Libya, the conflict is lasting longer than NATO had planned but surely the desertion of elements of Gaddaffi’s army meant he had only weeks left at most However, the writer says that the mould has been broken and what has started to take place in Middle East is irreversible. He quotes “for those at the forefront of change, their message is simple: the mould has been broken and we will not accept a return to the status quo. ” UPRISINGS: COUNTRY BY COUNTRY ??? Ruler Overthrown: Tunisia and Egypt ??? Uprising in progress: Libya, Syria and Yemen Major protests and clampdown: Bahrain ??? Stirrings of Dissent: Jordan, Oman, Morocco, Algeria and Saudi Arabia 2. The difficulty of reporting from inside Syria Editors of BBC have formed an online forum where they express their views on current issues. In one of these editorials, Jon Williams threw light on the troubles that journalists have gone through in order to report Assad’s hostilities on the civilians of Syria. The journalists have been harassed by the Syrian military. They are denied visa to the country, arrested, kidnapped and thrown out of the country.
Many French, American and Arab journalists complained of similar problems. The editor talking on behalf of all the journalists says “There are few more frustrating experiences for a journalist than knowing a huge story is happening, but being unable to cover it. ” 3. 2 The Economist ??? Editorial Of The Economist 1. Who Will Take On Assad? This editorial enlists all the mistakes done by the Syria’s President Bashar Assad. The editor finds similarities between Muammar Gaddaffi and Bashar Assad and terms them as “odious dictators”. He criticizes the killing of protestors by Assad as well as by his father Hafez.
The editor also points out that the violence caused by the dictators has strengthened the revolts. This article explains that NATO was able to control the violence in Libya and save a lot of lives; however, Syria is too big and complicated for any outsider to step in. Syria is making a lot of enemies by being stubborn. Its precious ally Turkey also feels troubled now that a significant number of Syrians are taking refuge there. The editor is very confident that Dictator Assad will be over thrown and thus quoted “If he refuses to budge, the Syrian people will bring him down in the end- on their own and bloodily. 3. 3 The Guardian ??? During the critical hours of the revolt in the Middle East countries, hour to hour updates have been provided on the website of The Guardian. They tried to report as many killings as possible. They practiced bold journalism. ??? As the Libyan government seeked tighter control over how the conflict in the country is reported to the world, the journalists of The Guardian has been expelled a number of times because of their bold journalism. They have maintained absolutely no discretion while reporting the brutalities on the protestors. ??? Editorials Of The Guardian
Syria: Butchery, while the world watches “Bashar al-Assad’s??medical training in London once gave rise to western illusions about him as a potential reformer, but as the northern city of??Jisr al-Shughour??was subjected to an all-out assault yesterday, such hopes were forgotten. ” The editorial begins bluntly by making the above statement. It is a very inspirational editorial for the powerful to read since it condemns violence on the face of it. it appeals to the world to get its response in order and help the innocent people being victimized in Syria. Both the UN and NATO should be taking actions according to the editor.
He also calls China and Russia “a disgrace” for backing Syria. This article demands full range of diplomatic, financial and legal sanctions to come into play. This editorial ends with a warning ???”The world would then pay a high price indeed for having pretended that Assad was somebody else’s problem. ” 1. Democracy yet to dawn This editorial vastly talks of democracy and dictatorship. It starts with encouraging signs of democracy making its way through many countries. Here it talks of developments in Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran and Iraq. While talking about dictatorship, the editor criticizes the very concept of it.
The hold of old political clans and families over a country is disapproved of. The editor says “In the secretary of state’s pledge that the United States will support the democratic aspirations of the people, there is a hint that America will not in future support the manipulations of democratic forms intended precisely to block such aspirations. ” The editorial is concluded with the hope that a democratic era in the Middle East would truly dawn. Syria: the national monologue This editorial is in reference with Bashar al-Assad addressing the nation for the third time since the uprising began in Syria.
Assad had promised “an ambitious and far reaching programme of reform” which obviously went in vague. Instead he ended up naming the dead reformers as “vandals, saboteurs, Muslim extremists, wanted criminals” ??? he added another one: “germs”. He finally pretended to notice some of the problems but the solutions suggested by him sounded like a joke to Syrians and again protests took place and the streets were flooded with unhappy citizens demanding for more. Assad has started to think that his vague promises would change minds but the editor concludes with “The reality is the ironwork is firmly jammed, and will not move again until he goes. 3. 4 The Telegraph From THE TELEGRAPH we have analyzed Con Coughlin’s columns on the Middle East issue. He has played a vital role in dealing with the controversial issues of Middle East peace. His articles gained popularity and were criticized as well. 5 From Arab Spring to boiling-hot summer According to Con Coughlin Arab Spring started with an objective of encapsulating the youthful exuberance of the pro-democracy movements that had sprung up to the Middle East. But after a few months it has turned extremely violent and has taken an ugly turn.
Though Tunisia was quickly rewarded victory, the other countries did not have the same journey. In many countries like Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain the problems have risen and taken a toll on human life. The protestors are having a very tough time and Con Coughlin says “In Egypt and Bahrain, as well as Libya and Syria, the hopes they inspired have been nipped firmly in the bud. ” What makes the subject further more boiling hot is that even countries like Tunisia who managed to gain democracy are now facing problems and are resulting in renewed street protests.
Thus, the Arab spring has not turned into a boiling hot summer. 6 Yemen and Syria pose a greater threat to us than Libya In this article Con Coughlin writes that unlike Libya both the countries, Yemen and Syria, pose an active and current threat to England. Though he fully concedes that Muammar Gaddafi and his dysfunctional family should be removed from power at the earliest opportunity, but these days they can hardly be said to pose a serious threat to their security, having surrendered their investment in nuclear proliferation and international terrorism many years ago. On the other hand, Syria and Yemen have made arious attempts to court the west. Con Coughlin also brings this issue to the notice of the politicians. 7 Why the Bahrain rebellion could prove calamitous for the West Con Coughlin compares the situation in the rest of Middle East to Bahrain. He says the crisis of Bahrain is different from the rest because they are not demanding for the overthrow of their King. They are not looking for a revolution; they are looking for a reform altogether with respect to sectarianism. Though Saudi Arabia is giving all its support to the King it will be very difficult to avoid the protesters and their demands.
However, Con Coughlin sadly says “But the mood darkened considerably in the weeks after the demonstrators set up camp on Pearl roundabout, not least because of the security forces’ heavy-handed response to the initial protests, which led to several deaths and many injuries” 8 Yemen must reform to counter al-Qaeda threat, Hague warns Con Coughlin talks about William Hague’s warning that Yemen must undertake urgent political reform to counter the mounting threat posed by al- Qaeda militants who are using the country as a base to launch terror attacks against Britain.
This article again, is concentrated towards the safety of Britain. Many of Con Coughlin’s columns on the Middle East issues are in line with the safety of Britain too. Since a power vacuum is developing in Yemen, because of the demand of democracy, there is a very good chance that al- Qaeda will take advantage of the fact and try to consolidate itself there. “The Yemeni government is not taking as effective action as it could against the al-Qaeda threat,” said a senior intelligence official in Yemen. ” 3. 5 The Independent ??? Editorials of The Independent 1.
Endgame in Syria? The editor starts by giving an overview of the Arab Spring and the journeys taken by the protestors in past half year. He analyzes the revolts in Syria to be fierce and the most destabilizing. He talks of the video issued by Assad and the failure of his intention. He quotes “If he wanted to regain the political initiative, he conspicuously failed. And if he intended to extend an olive branch to his opponents this is not the message they understood. ” As a result there was displeasure among the people and they instantly projected by taking it to streets.
The video was the first time Assad expressed regret for the death of protestors and held out prospect of a ‘national dialogue’. But at the same time he also blamed and threatened the opposition. The editor again criticizes the attempt of a balancing act which he says “is unlikely to come to any good end”. 4. Arab spring and the Arab Media The Arab media has evolved and branched out through the years. Across the Middle East, new television stations, radio stations and websites are sprouting like incongruous electronic mushrooms in what was once a media desert.
Meanwhile newspapers are aggressively probing the red lines that have long contained them. Newspapers in the Arab countries can be divided into three categories: those that are government-owned (together with semi-official papers such as al-Ahram in Egypt), those owned by political parties, and the “independent” press. Very few of the privately-owned newspapers can be considered editorially independent; they are often owned by wealthy individuals who have political aspirations or seek to wield influence.
Qatar, for instance, has six newspapers ??? all of them technically independent but??actually owned??by members of the ruling family or businessmen with close ties to the ruling family. Until the 1990s almost all television channels in the Arab countries were government owned and rigidly controlled. These channels still exist but the situation began to change in the 1990s with the spread of satellite television. Privately owned and non-governmental channels introduced livelier programs aimed at a pan-Arab audience and also adopted a more professional approach to news and current affairs.
Social media has taken a centre stage in the Arab world now. Social media is pulling the rug from under traditional media. The Arab Spring has changed the role of traditional media in many ways; where as social media has facilitated the Arab Revolution. Importance of Arab Media’s Projection Arab media’s coverage of the Arab Spring is not only significant at a local level but also on the international arena. It not only communicates the developments of the uprising to the local and universal audience but also plays the role of a catalyst.
It holds true of global importance as the worldly states and leaders form a perception about the countries’ governance, administration, security and other directorial issues based on these projections. In a world of global markets, networks and challenges, the divide between global and local is largely gone. The choices media makes affect broader policies. And the issue of Arab Spring has proven to be a national security implication for various countries. 4. 1 Al Jazeera Al Jazeera English (AJE) is a 24-hour??English-language news and??current affairs??TV??channel headquartered in??Doha,??Qatar.
It is the sister channel of the Arabic-language??Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera English is the world’s first English-language??news channel??headquartered in the Middle East. It is owned by Qatar Media Corporation which is a??Middle Eastern??multimedia corporation based in and owned by??the state of??Qatar??and is the parent company of??Al Jazeera??and most of the domestic media of Qatar. Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani is the chairman of the organization. Since its inception in 1996, when the emir of Qatar took over the BBC’s failing Arabic television service,??Al Jazeera has evolved into the most otent catalyst for change across the Arab world. Today, AJE can be seen in 220 million households around the world, via a network of 15 satellites and countless cable companies serving viewers in 120 countries from Albania to Zambia. AJE provides an in depth analysis of each of the Arab uprisings in the form of videos, opinions, features, spotlight coverage, briefings, public opinion, interactive discussions and story-telling in the form of pictures only. It is the only media outlet to have covered the Arab Spring as a whole, as extensively as it has.
Al Jazeera is the primary source of news for and about the Arab world. The recent Arab uprisings have mostly reconfirmed the channel’s distinctive position. The channel is seen by both the protestors and the regimes themselves as vital for disseminating real-time information about the riots. But it is also being accused of incitement as it inadvertently becomes sympathetic to the rioters. In the absence of independent local media, the channel tries to be the independent source of information. But because of its pan-Arab reach, it is turning localized unrest into a pan-Arab revolution. 4. 1. Exceptional Coverage of Egypt and Tunisia ??? The Al Jazeera Moment When the Arab Spring started, AJE did a creditable job of reporting the oppression and violence that the pro-democracy protestors experienced in Egypt and Tunisia. While other news organizations scrambled to book flights, Al Jazeera’s crews were in the thick of the Arab world uprising, transmitting live footage of frenzied protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. And even though some of its journalists were banned or imprisoned in Tunisia and Egypt, it continued broadcasting images of demonstrators killed and injured by government security forces.
AJE took these images from social media such as YouTube, Facebook and even Flickr. It also provided up-to-the-minute Twitter feeds on the situation. The 24 hour live feed by AJE of crowds gathering in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that ultimately lead to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak, earned the channel laurels for its bold coverage. This is being hailed as the ‘Al Jazeera Moment’ just as coverage of the 1991 Gulf war by an upstart cable channel is said to have been the ‘CNN moment’ that transformed American news. Article: Obama, Clinton among millions watching Al Jazeera Date: April 15, 2011 Source: Arab News (Newspaper) The article published in Arab News, the Middle East’s leading English daily, talks about the success of AJE in covering the Arab Revolution. It includes quotations from significant world leaders citing their views on the role of AJE in the revolution. “Viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it’s real news. It is real news instead of a million commercials and arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news.
Like it or hate it, it is really effective. ” – Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State “Al Jazeera is an be essential viewing for anyone wanting to know what is being discussed on the Arab Street. ” – David Cameron, British Prime Minister “Senior aides to Prsedient Barack Obama told us that during Egypt, AL Jazeera English was all they watched to try to make sense of what was going on. ” – Abderrahim Foukara, Washington Bureau Chief, Al Jazeera “Al Jazeera’s strength has been that it ‘owned’ the Tunisia story. Others had to catch up and try and ride its coat-tails. ” Firas Al-Atraqchi, ex-editor and currently a professor at American University in Cairo It mainly reflects how the perception of US about the channel and its projection policy has undergone a major transformation. This is all a far cry from the years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks when the Qatar-based network was seen by many in the Bush administration as the enemy. Donald Rumsfeld, then Pentagon chief, scathingly said in 2004 that the network’s coverage of civilian casualties during Operation Vigilant Resolve in Fallujah were “vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable. Rumsfeld described it as tantamount to an arm of Al-Qaeda, and accused the network of being “a mouthpiece of Al-Qaeda” and “inexcusably biased. ” But today, Al Jazeera’s English-language network, formed in 2006, is deemed so essential that it is beamed directly into the Oval Office of the US President Barack Obama. The impact of Al Jazeera in English in the US in the past two months has been all the more remarkable because, despite huge public demand, it can only been seen on cable in a few cities: Washington DC; Toledo, Ohio; Burlington, Vermont; and, for part of the day, Los Angeles.
Millions of Americans, however, are now watching the channel live-streaming on the Internet and Al Jazeera has received tens of thousands of e-mails praising its coverage. The article emphasizes on how the Obama administration is courting the pan-Arab television network Al Jazeera in an attempt to improve a history of testy relations with one of the most influential news outlets in the Middle East. 4. 1. 2 Criticism of Al Jazeera Before the Arab Spring, Al Jazeera’s motto was “The opinion and other opinion” ??? a simple way of saying that it aimed to provide different views on important issues.
The news network’s talk shows and news coverage followed this motto by hosting officials representing Israel as well as “Forces of Resistance” or “Qowat Al Mumana’h” – Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah – groups or governments that are officially at war with Israel and oppose Western policies in the Middle East. At the time, it was criticized for giving a platform to Israeli officials. It also was accused of being biased towards these forces of resistance. But Al Jazeera justified its position by citing the need to give a voice to all political views, including those who were traditionally shunned by the Arab and Western media.
By doing so, Al Jazeera gained a great deal of legitimacy and popularity in the Arab world. Al Jazeera English was hailed by no less a person than U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for providing “real news. ” Viewership of the Los Angeles public television station, KCET-TV, increased by 135 percent after it started??broadcasting Al Jazeera English. However, Al Jazeera has been strongly criticized for the way it has been covering the Arab Spring. Many Arab journalists accuse it of providing inconsistent and biased coverage, saying that it is harsher on some Arab leaders than on the others.
Al Jazeera’s coverage of Bahrain and Syria, in particular, has come under fire. – Drastic Changes in the Network In February, Al Jazeera dropped its top-rated talk shows, including: – The Opposite Direction – Without Borders – From Washington – In Depth – Shari’a and Life These shows used to cover taboo topics and give a platform to guest speakers who bluntly criticized U. S. war policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the undemocratic policies of Arab regimes. Arab journalists were shocked by Al Jazeera’s decisions, and some even wondered whether the news outlet could maintain its popularity.
The channel’s director general, Waddah Khanfar defended the changes, saying Al Jazeera had to stay competitive by providing continuous live coverage of the Arab uprisings. Al Jazeera’s motto, “the opinion and other opinion,” which appeared under its logo for the past 16 years, was replaced with a new one: “Continuous Coverage. ” – Filling in the Programming Gap With the gap in programming created by the elimination of the popular talk shows, Al Jazeera now simply repeats its news programs over and over again. And these programs tend to focus only on the demonstrations in some countries.
Before the Arab Spring, Al Jazeera news programs were diversified, and followed the news wherever it happened; but no longer. (i) Unequal Coverage of Bahrain Uprising Qatar-based Al Jazeera, the leading Arabic language network, was pivotal in keeping up momentum during protests that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, both entrenched rulers who were no friends of Qatar’s ruling Al Thani dynasty. But for viewers watching protests spread across the region, the excitement stopped abruptly in Bahrain. Scant coverage was given to protests in the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council member. Sometimes we look to Al Jazeera for the news about big demonstrations in Bahrain, but we can’t find them, so we are forced to look at other channels such as the Tehran-based channels Al Alam or Press TV. ” – Abddalah Edwan, producer of the Peabody-award-winning show Mosaic: World News from the Middle East. Al Jazeera stopped giving equal coverage to Bahrain once they felt that the demonstrations are spreading too close to home. If the Bahraini monarchy is toppled, what is there from spreading it to Qatar? Qatar has been ruled as an??absolute monarchy??by the??Sunni family, Al Thani, since the mid-19th century.
Al Jazeera, being funded by the same family, chose not to cover the Bahrain uprising with the same amount of intensity as in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, in the fear of similar demonstrations toppling Qatar, and thus putting their own existence at risk. On June 21, 2011, Al Jazeera news that was repeated on a loop many times to fill the gap created by cancelled shows, consisted of the following: ??? The first, second, third, fourth and even fifth news stories were all about the demonstrations in Syria. ??? The sixth, seventh and eighth news story were about Libya. That was followed by a brief report on the bombing in Iraq, which killed 22 people, and a brief news segment on the demonstrations in Morocco. There was not a word on the Bahrain demonstrations. On June 6, 2011, 47 Bahraini health professionals – 23 doctors and 24 nurses – who treated injured pro-democracy protesters during the uprising were put on trial on on allegations that they participated in efforts to overthrow the Al Khalifa regime. Al Jazeera did not report this major incident, giving yet another example reflecting Al Jazeera’s bias coverage of Bahrain.
On March 8, 2011, Aljazeera did not report on the hardening of the Bahraini opposition, when the Coalition for a Bahraini Republic called for an end to the monarchy On March 9, 10, and 13, 2011, it did not cover the protests held in Bahrain, the critical days which lead to Saudi Arabia’s decision to send troops into Bahrain. “While Aljazeera English showed pictures of Saudi troops headed across the causeway connecting the two kingdoms, Aljazeera Arabic’s??headline??read “Bahrain’s Government Rejects Foreign Intervention” ??? alluding to Iran! ” David Pollack, scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Article: Why Bahrain could damage Al Jazeera’s image Date: March 27, 2011 Source: Campaign Middle East (Magazine) The article is about the Arab media, Al Jazeera in particular, facing difficulty in one area of coverage: Bahrain. It highlights the fact that how Al Jazeera’s impartiality is being severely tested due to Bahrain’s proximity to Qatar, Al Jazeera’s home base. It also throws light on how the Bahrainis would be raising questions on Al Jazeera’s prioritizing of events and their propagandistic attitude.
The editor has also stated how Al Jazeera could possibly undo the flak received, by adhering and acting to their set of values of “honesty, courage, fairness, balance, independence, credibility and diversity, giving no priority to commercial or political over professional consideration” and cover the uprising with the same intensity as that of Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. It also discussed how 60 to 70 percent of Bahrain’s population is made up of Shia Muslims, while the ruling Khalifa dynasty, which has ruled for over 200 hundred years, is a Sunni Muslim minority.
So wherever you have such a small minority imposing its views on a majority, you have got a recipe for trouble. Anybody could have predicted once the Arab spring broke out in Tunisia that Bahrain would be an early place. The editorial has taken a tough stand against the Arab media and has criticized its uneven coverage of Bahrain. The editorial has put forward a valid point that the media outlet cannot regain its lost reputation unless it addresses its real issue of multiple stakeholders hailing from Qatar and influencing the coverage decision based on their ties with Bahrain rather than the journalistic bias. The Bahrain coverage has been put into question not because of journalistic bias, but because of a complex relationship between the organization’s multiple stakeholders. The sooner Al Jazeera addresses this, the less bumpy it will find the road ahead as it further consolidates its leading position. ” – Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder, partner and director at Cornerstone Global Associates II) Inconsistent Syria Coverage Al Jazeera’s coverage of the demonstrations in Syria has been inconsistent. For years, the news outlet kept from criticizing the Syrian government.
And for the first few weeks of the recent demonstrations, it did not report them. But when the demonstrations spread and became more violent, Al Jazeera started reporting them, focusing on the brutality of the regime against civilians. Analysts believe this was one of the tactics used by Al Jazeera to shift the focus from the criticism their Bahrain coverage had been receiving. But for giving the demonstrators center stage in all its recent reports, a rift has been created between it and the Syrian government, forcing Al Jazeera to scale back its operations in that country.
The Syrian uprising is not leading the hour for the main Arab satellite networks like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, but the Syrian uprising continues apace, while the Assad regime’s countermeasures are becoming increasingly brutal. Given the size of the uprising ??? people are in the streets of every major Syrian city except Aleppo ??? and the bravery of the demonstrators, there’s been little attention paid to it. After all, these are not Egyptian security forces under the command of a U. S. ally like former president Hosni Mubarak. The same Arab media that covered the Egyptian uprising as it unfolded is all but absent from Syria.
The Assad regime has done an excellent job of keeping the curtains closed on events, so that the main source of news coming directly out of Syria is almost exclusively from the Internet, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. The social media galvanized Egyptian and Tunisian protestors, but for the Syrian opposition it is the main source of media they have to show the world what’s happening. “Al-Jazeera, which has been exceptionally silent on Syria, perhaps because of the good alliance between Assad and Al-Jazeera’s owner, the Sheikh of Qatar, Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, has cherry-picked its coverage of Syrian rallies. – Hussain Abdul Hussain, Al Rai (Kuwait newspaper) On April 01, 2011, Syrian protesters had called for a “day of the martyrs,” in honor of those gunned down by the Syrian security forces in Deraa and elsewhere. The demonstrations were to begin after noon prayers, at around 1:30 p. m. ??? Both Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya relegated the Syria story to a brief and distant third in their broadcasts, focusing instead on Yemen and Libya. ??? When the day was over and the bodies had been counted, Syria was still not a priority for the Arab media. Al-Jazeera’s nightly news satisfied itself with showing telephone videos from the protests, with little commentary. On March 15, 2011, a video showing a crowd of Syrians walking in downtown Damascus and shouting slogans against their dictator Bashar Assad was uploaded on the Al Jazeera (English) website. The person capturing the video speaks in an Alawite dialect (Alawite is the minority sect Assad and his regime pillars belong to), and says even Alawites want Assad deposed. The narrator also announces the time and date for a second round of protests.
The video was removed shortly after. The same day, an article about the Assad massacre in Hama in 1982 was posted on the Al Jazeera (Arabic) website. The article too, was removed later. Media analysts view these incidents as clear indications of the channel being in alliance with Assad. But ever since Al Jazeera received major flak for its unequal coverage on Bahrain, the channel began covering Syrian news with the same intensity as the other uprisings. “Al Jazeera chose not to cover the Syrian protests in the first few weeks of its commencement.
But once the demonstrations started spreading far and wide, Al Jazeera showed a radical shift in their coverage. This was to avoid the same blunder and the criticism they had faced for their Bahrain coverage. This has effectively hampered the friendly relations between the Syrian government and Al Jazeera and has led to current tensions between them. ” – Jalal Ghazi, in an interview with Shirin Sadhegi on KAWL 91. 7 Public Radio on June 10, 2011. ? Article: The shameful Arab silence on Syria Date: April 07, 2011
Source: The Daily Star ??? Lebanon (Newspaper) The article reflects the utterly inadequate coverage of the current upheaval in Syria. It gives its view as to why the major satellite stations; Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya have been so profoundly reluctant to highlight the Syrian protests. Due to political pressure and strict press regimes in the nation, the Arab media has lagged behind in covering the uprising, points out the article. It explains the attempt made by the Syrian president, Bashar Assad, to try and keep the media glare away from the nation.
In his speech before the Syrian Parliament, Bashar Assad bluntly accused the Arab satellite stations of inciti