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Shifting Sands: The Impact of Satellite TV on Media in the Arab World

Media in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are freer today than they were a decade ago, with a proliferation of satellite television news channels leading the way. Arab newscasts cover events in real time, sometimes scooping their Western competition with spot news reports about regional conflicts. Government-run media have been forced to compete or lose audiences. Yet most governments in the MENA region have managed to retain a tight grip on media, whether through the arbitrary application of restrictive and vague press laws or limits on media production. A new CIMA report by Deborah Horan, Shifting Sands: The Impact of Satellite TV on Media in the Arab World, explores the media landscape in the MENA region more than a decade after the rise of transnational Arab satellite news channels. Why does the region still lack media freedom? What are the positive effects of satellite television coverage on the media environment in the region? What is the impact of satellite television on the quality of journalism in print, radio, and the Internet?



Featuring

Deborah Horan
Author, Shifting Sands: The Impact of Satellite TV on Media in the Arab World

Charbel Antoun
Alhurra

Moderating and Presenting

Laith Kubba
National Endowment for Democracy


About the Author

Deborah Horan is a former journalist with the Chicago Tribune and the Houston Chronicle. She spent eight years in the Middle East covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the region for the Chronicle before returning to the United States as a 2002 Knight Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan to study the rise of al-Jazeera. While based overseas, she was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists in 1999. At the Tribune, she covered the American Muslim immigrant community and the Iraq war in 2003 and 2004. She is currently based in Washington, where she works as a Middle East analyst. She is also a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Scholar and speaks at liberal arts colleges about Middle East issues.

About the Participants

Charbel Antoun is a producer at Alhurra TV, a U.S.-funded, Arabic language television network which broadcasts to the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa. Antoun began his career in television as an associate producer at the Lebanese Broadcasting Network in 1996 and then became a producer at Murr TV in Beirut, Lebanon in 2001. Additionally, Antoun was an instructor at Balamand University in northern Lebanon for two years from 2000 to 2002, where he taught a course on conflict resolution and negotiation skills and another on writing and producing television talk shows. Antoun provided educational seminars in Beirut, Cairo, Jordan and Cyprus on the subject of the rights of women and children.

Laith Kubba is the senior director for the Middle East and North Africa program at the National Endowment for Democracy. He was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and served as a government spokesman and senior advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari in 2005. Over the past twenty years, Kubba has been a regular contributor to international media as an expert on Middle East politics and cultural issues.