© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI 10.1163/187398608X317423 Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 1 (2008) 60–79 www.brill.nl/mjcc MEJCC Th e Challenges and Limits of Universalist Concepts: Problematizing Public Opinion and a Mediated Arab Public Sphere Mohamed Zayani American University of Sharjah Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Keywords Arab; Public; Sphere; Media; Satellite Television; Public Opinion Despite the existence of discouraging barriers for the development of an institutionalized, free and participatory media in the Arab world, the Arab mediascape at the beginning of the 21st century is often heralded as an agent of change (Telhami 2006; Alterman 2005). Th e general argument is as fol- lows: whereas in the past, information used to be a strict state monopoly, in the age of satellite television it is becoming increasingly hard for governments to control information. In addition, the increase in Arab channels beamed across around the globe is enabling more people to get news and information from sources outside their borders while making governments less certain about their ability to exercise state control, shape what people think and mobilize the masses (Telhami 2003). Not surprisingly, the emergent vibrant Arab mediascape has come to be associated with changing and new socio- political
Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2008
Keywords: PUBLIC OPINION; SPHERE; ARAB; MEDIA; PUBLIC; SATELLITE TELEVISION
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