Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Satellite Television

My Arabic Media Professor sent us a link about how Arabia media has changed as result of Satellite television. How the number of satellite television channels has grown to include channels that air attacks on collation troops in Iraq such as (Al-Zawraa TV). Most people when they think of Arabia media or satellite televsion think of Al Jazeera but now channels like Al-Mansar who are affiliated with Hezbollah are growing in popularity.

In the past television stations were associated with national boundaries and the government put its own spin on things. But now with the use of Satellite television which can be broadcast to the world regardless of national boundaries, its easier for people in the Middle East to receive different perspectives and understandings. The link that my professor sent was a essay piece by Lawrence Pintak He uses the Cedar revolution as an example of television media to rally people and organize which eventually helped in the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. I don't know too much about him or his background on this topic.

He also looks at if the emergences of these different independent satellite television stations help democratize the Middle East, or allow more freedom to journalists.
He presents some interesting ideas such as how Arabs now can in some ways involve themselves in a democratic processes by voting on reality TV shows etc. But then he also presents a counter argument that "As for infotainment and other forms of pseudo-democratic participation, charges of vote-rigging and manipulation on Arab TV reality shows have led some commentators to draw parallels with actual elections in the region, where regimes “cook the results” if they do not like them. “Like al-Jazeera's online polls, reality TV gives the illusion of participation and democracy, but it is easily manipulated and has no real impact on the world.” If it is true that reality TV shows rig their voting to their liking its interesting to draw a parallel to rigging elections. He ends the essay kind of saying that, yes it’s a good thing that all these new satellite stations are emerging but then again they are restricted by corporate agenda and its not truly about informing the public and unbiased analysis.