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Al Jazeera: How the Free Arab News Network Scooped the World and Changed the Middle East Hardcover – April 2, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Most Americans first heard of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite television news network, when they saw the October 2001 broadcast of the Osama bin Laden video. The Al-Jazeera bureau in Kabul gave the network exclusive footage on the war in Afghanistan, and with its access to Arab spokesmen and audiences it has emerged as a powerful player on the world stage. In an entertaining and accessible journalistic style, El-Nawawy, a former journalist in the Middle East and a journalism professor (Univ. of West Florida), and Iskandar, a communications professor (Univ. of Kentucky), examine the history of the network, its operation, and its effects on Arab viewers across the world. The authors also chronicle the negative reaction of Arab governments to some of the political coverage, such as Kuwaiti complaints that the network is too sympathetic to Iraq, and analyze several of the controversial talk shows, including The Other Direction, modeled on CNN's Crossfire, to highlight the radical nature of Al-Jazeera programming in Middle Eastern media history. Given ongoing world events, this timely book will be a welcome addition to academic and public libraries. Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ. Lib., Washington, DC
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"A fair and engrossing look at the...most controversial television news channel in the Arab world." -- Richard Bulliet, Columbia University

"An important book chronicling the rise to global media prominence of the Qatar-based satellite station." -- David Barsamian, Alternative Radio
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Edition edition (April 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813340179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813340173
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,025,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Collaboratively written by Egyptian born Middle East journalist Mohammed El-Nawawy and Middle East media expert Adel Iskandar, Al-Jazeera: How The Free Arab News Network Scooped The World And Changed The Middle East is a fascinating and informed history. This is a superbly presented account of Al-Jazeera, a modern, independent, entirely Arab television news network based in Qatar, which since the September 11 attacks, gained high profile prominence through daily exposure on CNN. This is also the compelling story of Al-Jazeera's struggle to keep its independence as an international news network, beholden to none. Overall, Al-Jazeera is an engaging, unique, detailed study of the origin of the Al-Jazeera network, its broadcasts, its effect on Arab viewers, and its struggle for a free press. Al-Jazeera is very highly recommended for Journalism Studies and Mideast Studies supplemental reading lists and academic reference collections.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Arthur on September 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
All the reviews I've read for this book have been unequivocally complimentary. One newspaper said it should be required reading for Bush's entire cabinet! Quite bold, but rightly so. After reading this book, I came to the realization that everything Al-Jazeera is courageous enough to air, my own country's media is petrified of. I wonder why our government is so afraid of a democratic Arab world? While the dozens of titles coming out on the Middle East are regurgitating the same history and concepts, this book is a refreshing new look at a MODERN Middle East, not a primitive and orientalized one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Lappen VINE VOICE on January 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Al-Jazeera is the all-Arabic TV news channel which burst on to the international scene in the wake of September 11 and the war in Afghanistan. Its unfettered access to that country during the war and its showing of the bin Laden tapes made it an automatic force on the world stage.Based in the Gulf state of Qatar, it came from the remnants of the BBC Arabic TV service. With the help of startup money from the Emir of Qatar, Al-Jazeera was to have complete editorial independence.In a part of the world where the press is usually government controlled, Al-Jazeera is not afraid to get specific and name names. At one time or another, it has been criticized or condemned by seemingly every government in the Arab world, for broadcasting things that the local government would prefer not be broadcast. Every local editorial of condemnation and every denial of press credentials to Al-Jazeera reporters just increases its audience all over the world by satellite.One of the things that Al-Jazeera is most known for is its talk shows, especially a nightly, two-hour show called The Opposite Direction. Two guests appear on the show, with totally opposite opinions on a certain issue, and with help from live phone calls, the sparks fly. Even by American TV standards, things get pretty loud and lively. Arab governments have noticed, and have begun imitating the format on their tame and boring government TV channels.Even though Al-Jazeera is an Arab TV channel, it has tried very hard to be impartial, hosting members of the Bush Administration, after September 11, and government officials from Israel.For those who want to decide for themselves if Al-Jazeera is a legitimate news broadcaster or a terrorist mouthpiece, this book is highly recommended. It's comprehensive, clearly written and is quite enlightening.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr Bassil A MARDELLI on October 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Al Jazeera is giving us a vivid and moving picture of a New Arab World in the making. There is no way to go back in times. This media channel is succeeding to keep one step ahead of many others advancing, foreign or local, TVs.

Live transmissions are notably courageous in their way struggling so hard to persuade local (and influential) governments to let them work into the `heart' of the stories being anchored, against the background of petty local political bickering and futility.

It is not easy, but the beauty about it is that it is also challenging, and a source of pride to millions of Arabs
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marty S.T. on April 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Since September 11, I've been looking for any book out there to tell me about Arab audiences and what they watch. With the pervasive power of modern communication, media are helping shape the way we see ourselves, others and conflict. I found what I was looking for in this book. A well-written and courageous review of the hottest and most contested TV network on earth, this book leaves no stone unturned. I commend the authors particularly for their critique of the "Clash of Civilization" which seems to have taken over all our debates on the Middle East. I recommend this book for anyone who is confused about the turmoil in the Middle East and wants a refreshing optimistic view of how communication can bridge gaps rather than create them
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