Matt J. Duffy :: Thoughts on Journalism, Culture, and Global Communication

Thoughts On Journalism, Culture, and Global Communication
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Dr. Matt J. Duffy teaches journalism, media ethics and international communication law. His research focuses on journalism and media laws in the Middle East. Duffy's book "Media Laws of the United Arab Emirates" was published in 2014 by Wolters Kluwer. His academic work has been published in the Journal of Middle East Media, the Journal of Mass Media Ethics, and the Newspaper Research Journal. He received a Ph.D. in Public Communication from Georgia State University in the United States where he studied the use of unnamed sources in journalism. Duffy is board member of the Arab-United States Association for Communication Educators, an organization that aims to improve journalism in the Middle East. He currently serves as a visiting assistant professor at Berry College in Rome, Georgia.

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How far can Arab news channels report the news?

posted on May 24, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Interesting coverage from Magda Abu-Fadil on the Arab Media Forum, held last week in Dubai. She provides a nugget of information about the limits of coverage of Arab news channels like Al Arabiya. The network, which broadcasts in Arabic but features an English language website and Twitter feed, is owned by the Saudi television conglomerate Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC). It serves as an alternative to Al Jazeera, based in Qatar.

Abu-Fadil writes:

The lively discussion turned to media freedoms in the Arab world and whether channels like Al Arabiya and Aljazeera were allowed to report on sensitive issues in their home countries.Dubai-based Al Arabiya is Saudi-owned while Aljazeera is based in Doha and funded by the Qatari government.

“We can cover Saudi Arabia, up to a point,” Al Khatib said, noting that media worldwide must operate within certain parameters. “There’s a romantic view that media aren’t courageous enough.”

He also said owners had interests and could take certain risks but that going too far meant jeopardizing advertising revenue and the possible loss of viewers, not to mention journalists losing their jobs if they ruffled the wrong feathers.

Interesting. I’d quibble with the insistance that all media outlets have limits imposed upon them. That’s true to a certain point. However, because of the absence of legal protections for the media in this part of the world, Arab media outlets practice far more self-censorship than in most other regions.

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