By Naomi Sakr
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21 Daniel Dayan and 30 TELEVISION AND PUBLIC ACTION IN THE BEIRUT SPRING Elihu Katz have also shown how television serves as a medium of national integration. 22 Such events, although organised by the establishment, have the unpredictability that goes with live broadcasts. Yet Thomas Meyer prefers the term ‘pseudo-events’,23 to emphasise the artificial nature of events that are politically staged. In view of such potential contradictions, Margaret Morse’s concept of ‘televisual event’ is useful,24 since it distinguishes between the staged media event and and the televisual event, which is spontaneous.
41 Yet few Arab viewers and journalists regard Al-Hurra as a reliable source of information. The station discredited itself with Arab audiences in its early weeks with items that appeared not to meet international norms of journalism. When the channel interviewed Bush about allegations that US soldiers had tortured detainees at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, Bush ended the interview by complimenting the journalist for doing his job well. Particularly in times of acute crises, Arab and Western satellite newscasters are disposed to open their programmes to governmental PR, apparently considering it a valid journalistic source.
BBC World has operated an Arabic-language website since 1999, which it revamped in 2003, and CNN has done likewise since 2002. AlJazeera added an English-language website to its existing Arabic-language website in 2003. As already noted, Al-Jazeera English started in 2006. 7 This was not the BBC’s first entry into the market for Arabic-language television news. Between 1994 and 1996 it produced such a service under contract with the satellite broadcasting platform Orbit Television and Radio Network in Rome, financed by the Saudi Arabian investor Mawarid Group.
ARAB MEDIA AND POLITICAL RENEWAL Community, Legitimacy and Public Life by Naomi Sakr