By Ezzeddine Abdelmoula
Al Jazeera and Democratization analyses the expanding position of the media in political adjustments with a unique emphasis at the Arab international. Taking the Al Jazeera media community as a case examine, the writer explains how attractive the general public and supplying systems for open debate and unfastened expression contributed to the emergence of a brand new brilliant Arab public sphere.
The release of Al Jazeera in 1996 was once an important occasion that ended in next adjustments either in Arab media and politics. between those adjustments, the Arab spring is unquestionably the main extraordinary. This unparalleled phenomenon has already ended in political switch in a few international locations and is anticipated to generate a democratizing wave and reshape the face of the sector. The Arab spring presents us with a telling empirical instance the place the interaction among media and politics is appear. the general public sphere that has emerged out of this newly communicative surroundings has definitely performed its function within the present political changes. during this context, Arab democratization is not any longer an summary, it is very a constructing method that wishes our realization and calls for concerted scholarly efforts.
Highly topical, this ebook offers a clean theoretical standpoint on Arab democratization in mild of the Arab Spring, and is key interpreting for researchers and scholars of center East Politics, Media reports and Democratization.
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Extra info for Al Jazeera and Democratization: The Rise of the Arab Public Sphere
Explaining how Al Jazeera was diﬀerent from the rest of the Arab media, Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif believes that it “was a channel, speaking in Arabic, but in a way I had only ever heard people speak in private – away from the censorship and the various state security services that dominate our public discourse” (Soueif, 2001). For his part, Marc Lynch believes that Al Jazeera contributed immensely to the formation of new public opinion and the transformation of Arab politics over the last decade.
Arab democratization is better understood through a bottom-up lens, placing more emphasis on societal dynamics. Here we are presented with a reinterpretation of the rise of Arab electoralism of the late 1980s and 1990s that challenges Lipset’s well-established and rarely contested thesis on the relationship between economic prosperity and democracy. Sadiki argues that social events like the bread riots, which took place in a number of Arab countries in the mid-1980s and later (Sudan, Algeria and Jordan), were at the roots of the rise of electoralism in these countries.
The public sphere in “the world of letters” embraced the wider stratum of the middle class and opened access to an unprecedented mixture of circles including craftsmen and shopkeepers. It was a signiﬁcant shift in the social, economic and intellectual life of bourgeois society where “the mind was no longer in the service of a patron and the opinion became emancipated from the bonds of economic dependence” (Habermas, 1989, p. 33). In these public spaces, a new form of communication and understanding between persons of diverse background began to take shape, transcending the barriers of social hierarchy.