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The development of pan-Arab broadcasting under authoritarian regimes - a comparison of Sawt al-Arab ("Voice of the Arabs") and Al Jazeera News Channel

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(Thesis) M.A.
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This thesis examines the development of pan-Arab broadcasting under authoritarian regimes in the modern Middle East. It undertakes an historical comparison of radio broadcasting under former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, more specifically the influential radio program Sawt al-Arab ("Voice of the Arabs"), and satellite television broadcasting under current Qatari Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, particularly the renowned Al Jazeera News Channel. While Nasser and Al Thani may have employed their nations' broadcasting apparatuses as means by which to achieve their own ends, contemporary comparisons which imply that these authoritarian leaders have encoded their broadcasting content with similar pan-Arab rhetoric are unfounded. Rather, legitimate points of comparison are found in audience decoding responses, for both Sawt al-Arab and Al Jazeera have demonstrated the ability to transform the interactions of domestic, international and expatriate Arabs through new technological advancements, thus producing increasingly modern variants of previous communal imaginings.
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