are they really charlie
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Arabization of the International Media
Islamification of the International MediaAre they really Charlie?
If the attacks on the offices of Charlie Hedbo and the Hyper Cacher kosher market in Paris were a wake-up call as many in the mainstream media are calling it then it is a wake-up call that is twenty years late.
The Wake-up CallWhen Saddam Husseins army invaded Kuwait in 1991, Saudi Arabia kept its population in the dark for three days before grasping the fact that most Saudis had tuned into CNN to learn about what was going on with their Gulf neighbor.Marwan M. Kraidy, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and the Changing Arab Information Order, International Journal of Communication 1 (2007), 139-156, p. 141.This abrupt intrusion of reality caused the House of Saud to change dramatically its media strategy. However, it wasn't just Saudi Arabia that suddenly realized that telecommunications particularly the news media was global; all the Gulf petro-kingdoms came to this conclusion.The Wake-up CallWhat follows is an expos of Islamic ownership of, and influence over, the global news media. It is based on public sources that will be cited throughout.In Western thinking, the news media (and media in general) is still thought of as providing an essential service. It keeps citizens informed, serves as a platform for debate and new ideas, and is a rein on government.Or so we in the West are taught to believe.In fact, this vital role of the news has taken a back-seat to corporate and government interests that seldom have anything in common with truth, facts or freedom of the press.The Wake-up CallHow did this happen?The international reach of news media, and the ability to influence people on a global scale, is a problem that some countries only recently began to grapple with.Yet, CNN and other cable news networks along with established broadcasters and print media were international in their reach long before the first Gulf War.But accomplishing this requires access, resources, investors . . .Saudi Arabia & Your NewsAs a result of the 1991 Gulf War, individuals close to the royal family decided to internationalize the kingdoms media presence, launching the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) in London, backed by the then Saudi kings in-law, Walid Ibrahim.The Arab Radio and Television Network (ART) came hot on the heels of MBC, with a lineup of entertainment, music and sports.ART bought 49% of the Lebanese Satellite Channel, the pan-Arab version of the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.But these were just moves on a local and regional level.
Saudi Arabia & Your NewsIn 2000, Saudi prince Al-Walid Bin Talal bought a major stake in MBC for $100 million.Bin Talal is the Rupert Murdoch of media ownership in the Middle East.He owns the regions largest music label, six music TV channels, and a stake in Lebanese newspapers An Nahar and Ad Diyar.He owns outright the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat.He is the third largest shareholder in Murdochs News Corp., with 5.46% of the voting shares.
Saudi Arabia & Your NewsIn 2001, ART now owned by Prince Bin Talal produced a multi-part television miniseries entitled "Horseman Without a Horse", a dramatization of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.Due to Bin Talals position as Assistant Minister of Defense for Military Affairs, bin Sultans role as a shareholder is significant, as he can be considered a state actor and consequently able to exert certain pressure over all his media interests to pander to the Saudi establishment.
So What?So what? A Saudi princes own some radio stations, some newspapers, some satellite news stations and 5% of Fox News.If this doesn't concern you, stop here.On the other hand, consider what an investigation by the Committee to Protect Journalists in Saudi Arabia said:Government officials routinely dismissed editors, suspended or blacklisted dissident writers, ordered news blackouts on controversial topics, and rebuked independent columnists over their writings to deter undesirable criticism or to appease religious constituencies.The countrys Wahhabi religious establishment acts as a powerful lobbying force against creative coverage of social, cultural, and religious matters. Compliant government-approved editors routinely suppress controversial news, acquiesce to official pressures to tone down coverage, and silence critical voices.http://cpj.org/Briefings/2006/saudI_06/saudi_06_printer.htmlCould Saudi Arabia's media control and censorship become a part of global media practices? If so, what would that mean for keeping citizens informed, serving as a platform for debate and for keeping an eye on government?
Consider the following excerpts from a Wikileaks source, dated 2010.The Saudi regulatory system offers the al-Saud regime a means to manipulate the nation's print media to promote its own agenda without exercising day-to-day oversight over journalists, and Saudi journalists are free to write what they wish provided they do not criticize the ruling family or expose government corruption. In addition, most media in Saudi Arabia--print and electronic--are owned by royal family members, and accordingly self-censorship is the order of the day.In interviews with Embassy and Consulate Jeddah officers before the early December Eid holiday, seven senior editors and satellite TV managers outlined key elements of these trends and explained how the long hand of the al-Saud--motivated by profit and politics--retains a strong hold over media in this sophisticated new environment, through means ranging from refined Interior Ministry procedures for recalcitrant journalists, to directives by King Abdallah himself.https://cablegatesearch.wikileaks.org/cable.php?id=09RIYADH651
Consider the following excerpts from a Wikileaks source, dated 2010.According to Khalid Al-Matrafi, the regional director of the MBC's "Al Arabiya" news channel, the second most popular news channel in Saudi Arabia after al-Jazeera . . . that while MBC is owned by King Fahd's brother-in-law (the non-royal Waleed bin Ibrahim al-Ibrahim), fifty percent of the profits of the MBC empire go to King Fahd's youngest son (and al-Ibrahim's maternal nephew) Abdulaziz bin Fahd. He also said that he speaks daily with Abdulaziz on issues relating to al-Arabiya and other MBC channels. When asked if the thirty-something prince was interested only in the profits of the station, or if he also took an active role in the ideological direction of al-Arabiya, the elderly al-Matrafi, an old-style Saudi editor in his mid-seventies who is said to have close connections to the SAG, whispered with a grimace, "Both."https://cablegatesearch.wikileaks.org/cable.php?id=09RIYADH651
Saudi Arabia the future of the West?Saudi Arabia has been condemned by Amnesty International & Human Rights WatchThere are no jury trials in Saudi Arabia, and the accused are not provided with legal counsel, not permitted to cross-examine witnesses and not permitted to mount a legal defense.Capital punishments is a regular feature of Saudi justice, particularly for homosexuals. In August 2014 alone, Saudi Arabia executed at least 19 people .A UN report on domestic abuse in 2008 noted the absence of laws criminalizing violence against women.TheWorld Economic Forum2010Global Gender Gap Reportranked Saudi Arabia 129th out of 134 countries for gender parity.Saudi Arabias treatment of women, homosexuals and persons accused of crimes fails every litmus test of human rights, as does its respect for freedom of the press.This barely rates a mention from CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NPR or the BBC.This barely rates a mention from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times or Washington Post.WHY NOT?Urgent: Please Help! Raif Badawi To "Be Lashed Severely" Tomorrowby Gatestone Staff andValentina ColomboJanuary 8, 2015
Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger, has been sentenced to 1000 lashes, ten years in jail and a fine of $270,000 for a blog regarded by Saudi Arabia's regime as insulting Islam."My commitment isto reject any repression in the name of religiona goal that we will reach in a peaceful and law-abiding way." Raif Badawi.Badawi was condemned, according to Amnesty International, for having co-founded a website, "Saudi Arabian Liberals," and for having written and publishing on it his blog and other writings, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, -- as well as for other "offenses to Islamic precepts.He criticized and made fun of Saudi institutions such as the Commission for the Promotion of Goodness and the Prohibition of Vice (also known as "the religious police"), the Saudi Grand Mufti, other Saudiulema[religious scholars].
In an interview published in August 2007 by the liberal websiteAfaaq, Badawi stated that "liberals in Saudi Arabia live between the anvil of State and the hammer of the religious police." On that occasion, he described himself thusly: "Raif Badawi is nothing more than a Saudi citizen. My commitment is to the advancement of civil society in my country, to reject any repression in the name of religion, to promote liberal enlightened Saudis whose primary objective is being active in civil society, a goal that we will reach in a peaceful and law-abiding way."Qatar & Al JazeeraOn January 1st, 1999 Al Jazeera started broadcasting 24-hours a day, seven days a week. This satellite-based news channel was founded by the House of Thani, the ruling family of Qatar.On 15 November 2006 Al Jazeera launched a new English-language satellite service calledAl Jazeera International. It has broadcast centers inDohain Qatar, London,Kuala Lumpurand Washington D.C.The channel operates 24/7, with 12 hours broadcast from Doha, and four hours each from London, Kuala Lumpur, and Washington D.C.
Qatar & Al JazeeraThe original Al Jazeera Satellite Channel was launched on 1 November 1996 following the closure of the firstBBC Arabiclanguage television station, then a join