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