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In Middle East, people loosing faith in Arabic media

Saturday April 30, 2011 08:40:21 AM, Staff Reporter

Malegaon: Many people in the Middle East are blaming the Arabic media for contributing to the fervor for revolution in the region, adding that they do not trust the media any longer.

According to the Arab News, a recent survey by Grayling Momentum, an independent PR consultancy, confirmed that Al Jazeera is the most watched and trusted source of news in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also lauded the channel for its coverage of events in the Arab world.

However, in spite of the results, many Arab viewers find it frustrating that some revolutions in the Arab world have been under the spotlight, while others have not.

Rima Obida, a Syrian housewife and teacher who lives in Jeddah, feels that the Arabic media is very negative in its outlook.

 

“I can’t believe what the Arab media broadcasts, especially when they depend mostly on videos recorded by ordinary members of the public ... real journalists shouldn’t depend on videos recorded by ordinary people,” Arab News quoted Rima as saying.

“Real journalists should show both protests and government responses … these channels, however, only take their leads from witnesses and don’t ask officials for responses,” she added.

Abdulrahman Hanafi, an Egyptian pharmacist who works in Jeddah, said that during the Egyptian protests, he became confused from where to get news.

 

“At the beginning of the protests I was confused because I know that each channel has its own agenda. I believe that no channel can convey news impartially. I cannot deny the role of the media in covering what happened during the Egyptian revolution. However, they didn’t put the spot light on the number of gangs that appeared during the revolution. They only focused on promoting the revolution without warning citizens about these gangs,” he said.

“Even now, we’re seeing an unfair coverage of revolutions in other Arab countries", he added.

Media experts confirmed that the Arabic media is not credible in covering revolutions, as each publication or channel has its own agenda. “We cannot deny that news channels are the most effective and quickest in broadcasting revolutions and events. Most people refer to channels and ignore newspapers because news is something that develops all the time,” said Mahmoud Al-Wadi, editor in chief of Alam Al-Rajul magazine.

“Each channel or newspaper has its own agenda … people are aware of this, and that is why there’s little trust in the Arab media,” he added.

He also said that the resignation of some journalists from famous news organizations has diminished people’s faith in the Arabic media. “We shouldn’t blame the staff that works for certain organization or newspapers because they have to follow the agenda of the news outlet,” said Al-Wadi.

He added that news is often edited or fabricated to make it sensationalistic.

Dr. Saud Kateb, professor in mass communications and media at King Abdulaziz University, said Arabic channels were successful in covering the revolution but were not neutral.

“Viewers must distinguish information that they receive because the media coverage depends on videos taken from ordinary people on the street. Unfortunately, most of these videos do not originate from journalists or official bodies,” Arab News quoted Dr Saud Kateb.

“Although the media has been successful in covering revolutions, viewers have little trust", he added.


 

 

 

 

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