Pan-Arab Satellite Television and Arab National Information Systems: Journalists' Perspectives on a Complicated Relationship

in Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication
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Abstract

Media scholarship has mostly focused on the regional and global dimension of the 'satellite revolution' in Arab news, insisting on concepts such as the 'pan-Arab public sphere' and 'media panarabism.' Taking Egypt as a case study, this article moves from a 'purely' pan-Arab perspective to a broader approach that examines the complex relationship between pan-Arab satellite news media and national media systems. Through a discussion of journalists' representations of their professional community, I investigate how far the coverage and practices of pan-Arab all-news broadcasters have blurred the borders of national media systems, creating new hybrid spaces. My findings show that both satellite broadcast journalists and national media journalists define themselves and their work practices in terms of mutual relationships. The idea of a hybrid space is, at least in the journalists' self-representations, in some way confirmed: a space encompassed by a transnational framework in which 'the national' still maintains its specificities. The article is based on multi-sited research and observation in the headquarters of Gulf-based pan-Arab satellite news media and in Egyptian newsrooms.

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