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How the Information Techniques of Al Jazeera helped change Arab Spring and Influenced Presidential Election in Egypt - Research Paper Example

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How the information techniques of Al Jazeera helped change Arab Spring and influenced presidential election in Egypt Al Jazeera is a cable news television launched in 1996 in Qatar by the imperial royal family of Qatar. The network was created to focus on the Arab states and issues facing them…
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How the Information Techniques of Al Jazeera helped change Arab Spring and Influenced Presidential Election in Egypt
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How the information techniques of Al Jazeera helped change Arab Spring and influenced presidential election in Egypt Al Jazeera is a cable news television launched in 1996 in Qatar by the imperial royal family of Qatar. The network was created to focus on the Arab states and issues facing them. Traditionally, Arabs had to depend on their state news service for news, which they felt was biased and supported only by the authoritarian government. The formation of this network began at a time when most of the Arab citizens had lost faith in their local news coverage and were in need of a station that would air and report on happenings in the Arab nations independently and professionally, without interference from the government. The Al Jazeera has become popular worldwide due to its coverage of the American and Iraq war in 2011 and the fight against terrorism by the United States forces in Afghanistan (Inseed, 2010). The Arab Spring uprising, which started in Tunisia, was covered by Al Jazeera and aired live to other Arab states in the region. This coverage attracted many viewers who were interested to follow the happenings in that country. While Al Jazeera covered the first demonstrations and arrests of bloggers in Tunisia, their main aim was just to inform viewers and not exactly to influence uprising. The government of Tunisia closed down their internet site, news transmission, and banished the reporters from working in the country indefinitely. Later, Al Jazeera resumed transmission of services through social networking sites and live streaming on YouTube, which the government could not effectively control (Dabashi, 2012) . Through their news correspondents, who mostly are locals of their host nations, the station was able to air live protests and demonstrations in the Arab Spring countries. Their correspondents and bloggers used internet to transmit their views and information to citizens in the countries and abroad. Al Jazeera again highlighted the issues facing these people through expert interviews and call-in shows that were aired throughout the Arabic region and globally (“Former Al Jazeera head”, 2011). Since the previous decades, the West has been seen as the driving force of democracy in Middle East, and it was not thought that the Arab citizens could themselves be able to overturn regimes and become democratic. This sentiment has since lost meaning, as Al Jazeera used its wide viewership and broad reach to cover issues that affected Arab countries, such as job creation, security, independence, and human rights (Khanfar, 2012). In Arab Spring countries like Egypt, the dictatorial regime was strongly criticized by local correspondents of the network. The cable network took the agenda-setting role, as it mainly concerned itself with highlighting what the government in Egypt was doing and what it was not to be doing. Through the use of opinion leaders, the network actively shed more light on how regimes are misusing state resources to oppress citizens; for instance, Al Jazeera covered the plight of prisoners who were being tortured and the use of force and ammunition by security forces against unarmed demonstrators in the Arab Spring nations, especially Egypt (Hroub, 2011). According to Khanfar (2012), the cable network has an editorial team, which is independent, and their contents and coverage is not subject to censorship. This made news coverage in Egypt and Arab spring countries factual, professional, and representative of happenings there, making people mobilize and demand their rights and change in regime. The Egyptian government closed the site and stopped the transmissions of Al Jazeera, jailing their reporters and prohibiting them to cover news. This only served to increase the credibility of news coverage of the protests and revolution in the country. The Muslim Brotherhood party in Egypt, which was the main driving force of demonstrations, was given the chance to air their policies and changes they wished to see, democracy being among the main one. Souaiaia (2011) writes that the closure of the Al Jazeera sites and termination of transmission rights made them change their transmission techniques, and they began to stream news to mobile phones. Al Jazeera created a virtual reality for the people, depicting how things should be done in the country, especially in Egypt and Tunisia, which were the first to experience Arab Spring. With the shutdown of internet services and transmission rights, Al Jazeera now used mainstream transmission to television sets for their viewers and depended on news from local citizens, as security forces of Arab Spring governments continually harassed their reporters. Their influence has been noticed when their online sites became subject to hackers and constant crashing, caused by an increase in the number of viewers who wanted to get up-to-date information (Souaiaia, 2011). Al Jazeera has received some criticism from analysts reporting that the network has shifted its interests, and is now to a high degree influenced by its Qatar owners. Recent findings from wiki leak a claim that the royal family, which may be having some political interest in other countries, is controlling the network’s editorial team to some extent. Since the network’s inception, in 1996, its members have been credited with high levels of professionalism and credibility by citizens of the Arabic states, and the station should strive to maintain that (“Former Al Jazeera Head”, 2011). References Dabashi, H. (May 2012). The Arab Spring: The end of post colonialism. Al Jazeera News Network. Retrieved from http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/05/201257103157208253.html. Hroub, K. (October 2011). Al Jazeera: The source of Arab spring. ABC Religion and Ethics. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/10/20/3344402.htm. Inseed (2010). Al Jazeera: A Middle Eastern infant goes global. Business School for the World. Retrieved from http://www.insead.edu/facultyresearch/faculty/documents/Al-Jazeera-w.pdf. Khanfar, W. (January 2012). Al Jazeera and the Arab spring. Chatham House. Retrieved from http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/public/Meetings/Meeting%20Transcripts/190112khanfar.pdf. Souaiaia, A.E. (November, 2011). Qatar, Al Jazeera and the Arab Spring. MonthlyReview.org. Retrieved from http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2011/souaiaia171111.html. Former Al Jazeera head on quitting, the Arab spring, and Qatar’s role. (September 2011). The Atlantic.com. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/09/former-al-jazeera-head-on-quitting-the-arab-spring-and-qatars-role/245932/. Read More
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