The issue of media and its power in the Arab world is still at its development stages especially when one focuses on the kind of leadership used in the Arab world as compared to other developed countries like Japan and the European countries. The Arab countries are ruled according to the authoritarian form of governance; this makes other countries skeptical of the power of the media in such settings. The process of media development and empowerment in the Arab world has been slow as compared to other countries, but in the past decades, the introduction of satellite media houses has led to the increase in the use of media to empower the locals of the political and economic issues in the region (Sakr 45).
The Arab media tries to empower the citizens through different means for the traditional political Islam setting where people were mobilized through moral vigor. It presents people with a wide range of viewpoints, ideologies, and lifestyle-related issues from different cultures to help them understand the views provided by the media houses. The media is dynamic in nature, and this helps people know about current political and economic issues. The media serves as a platform where people come together and share their views and ideas about governments. It is like a political party where analysts come together and criticize a political party; in the process, it helps empower people with political knowledge useful in making decisions that shape their economic and social lives (Zayani 89). The platform provided by the media helps in creating a public sphere that brings together people and increases the advocacy for political transformation from the authoritarian form of governance to the democratic rule. The Arab media is independent of any political hold as seen in the Aljazeera broadcasts. This is one of the major steps in the transition process form authoritarian governance. The independence of the media acts as a tool for transformation as it maintains an independent stand from political manipulation seen in much authoritarian governance. Many media houses are under the control of the government; it limits their independence to inform the public about the changes and the realities that happen in the country.
Media Presenting the People’s Demands
Media houses have much power at their disposal as they act as a central point where they can influence and manipulate people to believe in certain facts. Therefore, the Arab media has maintained in the past years a strong position in its broadcasts. The emergence of independent media in the Arab world has led to the empowerment of the people (Lahlali 78). It has brought a platform where people can criticize the government and help in the transformation process. This is evident in the number of political issues seen in the print media of the Arab world. Many political issues are tackled in the prints, and the views of the people and their demands are put into writing. The media has provided a platform where the grievances of the people and their demands are heard. This is what happened in Egypt and another Arab world where people have gone to the streets to protest against the ruling regime and the oppression they go through. This could never be possible with a controlled or monopolized media because the grievances of the people could never be heard.
Source of Information
The media also acts as a source of information regarding the rights of the citizens. Media houses take it upon themselves to educate people about their rights and bring them information from other parts of the world that acts as a lesson for the citizens. This opens up the minds of the people as they come to realize that they have been oppressed and that they have a right to demand better political and economic leadership. During the revolutions and the uprising witnessed in the past few years in the Arab world, the role of the media in helping people understand the political power in the Arab world became undeniable (Hafez 89). It provides an insight into the power and authority the government has over the people. This makes it easier to understand how the media can play a role in shaping the politics of a country and helping the people understand the form of governance in play (Machool 87).
The Arab media has a lot of power both economically and politically as it presents the people with information and acts as a central platform where people can present their views and criticism on the government. This gives the media power over political governance as they are able to present the views of the people and show what happens in the country with no sanctions. This shows how the independence of the media acts as a powerful tool where citizens present their points of view. This is evident in Aljazeera where people are given the chance to discuss political issues and criticize the government. The use of media in transforming the political scene is a slow one and is mostly barred by monopoly by the ruling state; the Arab media has, however, gained its own independence and is not under the control of the government. This gives them a good platform to present their issues and help educate people on their rights. This way, it acts as an empowerment tool that is reliable in providing a true picture of what happens in Arab countries (Rugh 56).
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