Reading Response # 4 - Essay Example

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Either we can see the increasing popularity of beamed satellite TV as a glass half empty or half full. Half empty because if we consider satellite TV to determine the policies that…
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Reading Response # 4
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Teacher The increasing popularity of satellite TV among Arab youths can be treated in different ways. Either we can see the increasing popularity of beamed satellite TV as a glass half empty or half full. Half empty because if we consider satellite TV to determine the policies that would dictate the opinion of the public sphere that would ultimately translate to public policies that will affect the youth and their issues, it would be too much to ask from a television program. I also say half full because if we see this development, along with the internet and other media, from where the Arab countries came from in terms of access to information, the popularity of satellite TV can already be considered as a positive development as it gives them greater freedom in terms of content of the medium.
In a study made by Sakr among the Arab youth, the study reported that most Arab youths spent at least three a hours a day on TV (81). While this may be a spike in terms of the number of hours of exposure to TV among the youth in the Middle East, the figure is not unusual comparing to other youths in the rest of the world. Just like any other kid from the rest of the world, Arab youths also love to watch TV.
Perhaps this concern of increased number of hours of watching satellite TV among the Arab youth came from the perspective that there was no such popularity of TV watching before as the state used to control the content of TV. Satellite beaming changed the media landscape for it rendered authoritarian governments powerless in controlling the content of this media. In turn, its audience, particularly the youth, found a greater sense of freedom in terms of content, hence the extended number of hours watching it.
Freedom may be a given and an overlooked concept in the western world but it is a big deal in Middle East. In a study done again by Sakr (83), the findings showed that the main reason why educated Arabs left and wanting to leave their respective home countries is because of the lack of freedom.
Television may have a powerful influence in a society but it has to be taken in its proper context. TV is just a platform of information and entertainment, and to a certain extent, a medium of public discourse. Compared to a state controlled content, satellite beaming of TV networks such as Dubai-based Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC) Lebanese-based Future TV in 1995, Qatar-based al-Jazeera, Lebanese LBCI, Syrian-owned, London-based ANN etch is way better because there is a degree of freedom over the content that is being shown (Harmon). It cannot be expected that television, although may become a platform for discussion of public sphere, to cover all the pressing issues that compounds the Arab youth. It will be difficult to localize satellite TV to address a specific issue in a specific country in the Gulf region. Nor can it be expected that discourses in TV to be translated to public policy. Just like its counterpart with the rest of the world, TV may be an entertaining source of information but it cannot be expected that policies that affects the lives of the population will be drafted in a television show.
Works Cited
Harmon, Mark D. “Arab youth, television and “affluenza”. Fall, 2008. June 18, 2012.
Sakr, Naomi. Arab Media and Political Renewal: Community, Legitimacy and Public life. I.B. Tauris, 2007. Read More
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