While the events of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ constitute movements of vast social significance within the Arab world, they have at the same time raised as many questions as they have hopes and expectations. Among the most pressing causes for concern and further research are the roles that Arab audiovisual media and satellite broadcasting have played in not only covering events, but also in possibly even fomenting them through selectivity, timing, high-technology decoupage of images culled from the internet and new forms of social media, as well as the introduction of themes and slogans into various Arab public arenas even before the locals have taken such up themselves. The connection of Arab media to the political agendas of their sponsors as in the case of Aljazeera, for instance, has also been brought to the fore and writ large, leading to questions over whether or not media discourse is dialogic and genuinely responsive to multiple voices in the sense envisioned by Habermas or whether it is a Machiavellian enterprise directed towards very specific political ends. The political role of the media and individual newscasters has assumed new dimensions during the course of the upheavals of the ‘Arab Spring’ where it has been difficult if not impossible to characterize the media as strictly a passive observer of events and not also an active participant in initiatives for ‘democratic transition’ and other. Finally, while previous incarnations of state control and censorship of Arab media have been diminished or shed outright in a number of Arab countries – including Egypt and Tunisia – there are questions about what sort of conditionalities new corporate sponsorship may evolve. This article examines the philosophical and sociological dimensions of the Arab media of the ‘Arab Spring’, which like the events that it has covered have taken the Arab world into uncertain and uncharted territory.
Research Article| October 01 2011
The ‘Arab Spring’: breaking the chains of authoritarianism and postponed democracy
Contemporary Arab Affairs (2011) 4 (4): 463–483.
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Mohammed Noureddine Affaya; The ‘Arab Spring’: breaking the chains of authoritarianism and postponed democracy. Contemporary Arab Affairs 1 October 2011; 4 (4): 463–483. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/17550912.2011.632229
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