Saturday, February 12

How Al Jazeera Shapes Political Identities

Excellent coverage on how Al Jazeera is providing an identity to Arabs, something that socialism or even Nasserism couldn't. It all ended up in a sad mishmash of fundamentalist Islam, economic illiteracy and political despotism resulting in horrific unemployment, human right abuses and corruption. I quote:

a respondent who reports watching Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya every day is roughly 15-20 points more likely to identify as Muslim than a respondent who watches these networks between 0-2 days a week. The effects on Arab identification appear somewhat smaller.

In 2006, I wrote a column on this. I quote: (echoing that famous quote, I frequently quote myself, it adds spice to my conversation Smile with tongue out)

Then we have Al Jazeera, the TV channel which burst into view with the closest thing one can think of a nuclear explosion, in the global media environment. I have previously spoken about this channel ( or But with its free speech, passionate panel discussions and open debates, independent views, wide ranging topics (frequently touching very taboo subjects such as religion, politics, terrorism, education, etc.), giving air time to dissidents, Israeli’s, and other people and groups who are normally censored out etc. In particular, it offers a voice for Al-Qaeda’s messages to the wider world in its non-censored full glory. For an Arab world starved of such open discussion, this channel and its participants are one of the most important opinion framers in this part of the world. In particular, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the regular presenters on this Qatar based channel, a graduate of Al Azhar, involved with the Muslim Brotherhood, is a very potent voice through this channel.

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