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Al jazeera channel one of the strong factors and causes of the Arab spring
Al Jazeera is a television channel owned and funded by the government of Qatar and is currently in various regions in the World. Initially launched as an Arabic news channel, Al Jazeera has been an important source of information for most Arab nations in the Persian Gulf since its establishment in 1996 (Hroub, 2011). This channel has grown to become very influential in the Arab World and in fact, it has been a major force in the recent revolutionary wave of protests and demonstrations occurring in Arab countries.
The wave of Arab revolutions (also known as Arab spring) started in December 17, 2010, in Tunisia after a street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire near a government building protesting against confiscation of his wares by the police. This sparked a wave of protests which intensified in January 24, 2011 after the vendor succumbed to fire injuries. Ten days later, Tunisia’s president, Zine ElAbidine Ben Ali, stepped down stepped down and fled out of the country.
According to Hijjawi (2012, p. 2), Al Jazeera had not been allowed in Tunisia for around two years. Though the channel had no established network in Tunisia, it was the first international media to note the protests in streets in the country (Fromherz, 2011, p. 8). During the initial stages of the protests, Al Jazeera relied on bloggers from Tunisia to gather information, which was then compiled to provide accurate and credible news. As the protests intensified, Aljazeera adopted an open cycle in which it broadcasted live news from Tunisia as they streamed online through blog sites.
The local media had also been transmitting news both locally and internationally about unrest in Tunisia. However, according to Hijjawi (2012, p. 2), its popularity had declined among civilians in Tunisia due to lack of adequate coverage of their concerns. As a result, Tunisians citizens increasingly followed their revolution on Aljazeera which was then hosted by friendly local TV stations. During the protests, Tunisians lifted placards praising Aljazeera. With time, Aljazeera became close to the hearts of Tunisians and as they saw it as mirror in which they were being represented. In fact, as (Fromherz, 2011, p. 8) explains, Aljazeera became the closest channel to the hearts and minds of Tunisians. Generally, the channel helped them to believe in the revolution they had embarked on, which they succeeded. One remarkable thing Al Jazeera during the Tunisian case was that it did not create deep awareness or solid political culture in the country. Rather, it allowed Tunisians to have faith in their own thoughts, similar to Egyptian case.
According to Hijjawi (2012, p. 3), prior to the Egyptian unrest, Aljazeera was unpopular among Egyptian households and in fact, it was practically absent in Egyptian screens. This was largely caused by presence of numerous local TV channels which broadcasted local news with great degree of professionalism. TV stations thrived under a high degree of freedom of information that used to exist in the country for a long time. However, the freedom suffered a strong and painful blow from Egyptian government’s security apparatus a few days before parliamentary elections, two months prior to the boycott which began on 25 January, 2010. Local television stations were given strict restrictions regarding the channels to host and information to broadcast. During the period, Aljazeera started gaining some ground in Egypt.
According to Schattle, (2012), p. 53), though Al Jazeera had been absent in Egyptian screens it had had been airing Egyptian features for five years prior to the revolution. The government of Mubarak regularly criticized the channel for airing documentaries of torture acts in Egyptian police departments. It also arranged talk shows regularly attacking Al Jazeera, with intention to discredit it. To be precise, Al Jazeera gave Egypt greatest coverage compared to all other nations in the Arab League. However, given that it was absent in Egyptian screens, it played little role in mobilizing people to the streets. The move to the streets was galvanized by young men and women of Egypt’s middle class who had set January 25 as a date of protest on internet social sites (On Facebook and YouTube).
As protests intensified, the government of Mubarak ordered local television stations to obscure the events of the protests. Aljazeera started broadcasting on NileSat satellite, the only way that t.............
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