The crisis of contemporary Arab television: Has the move towards transnationalism and privatization in Arab television affected democratization and social development in the Arab world? | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1751-9411
  • E-ISSN: 1751-942X



The Arab media have witnessed a radical shift starting in the 1990s with the emergence of a wide range of private satellite-TV channels. These new TV channels, such as MBC (Middle East Broadcasting Center) and Al Jazeera have rapidly become the leading Arab channels in the realms of entertainment and news broadcasting. These transnational channels are believed by many scholars to have challenged the traditional approach of their government-owned counterparts. Alternatively, other scholars argue that despite the easy flow of capital and images in present Arab television, having access to trustworthy information still poses a challenge due to the governments’ grip on the production and distribution of visual media. This article brings together these contrasting perspectives, arguing that despite the unifying role of Arab satellite TV channels, in which national challenges are cast as common regional worries, democratization and social development have suffered. One primary factor is the presence of relationships forged between TV broadcasters with influential government figures nationally and regionally within the Arab world. I have also based my findings on personal communication with TV professionals at the second Moroccan satellite TV channel known as 2M.


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