The spread of Arab satellite broadcasting in the last decade or more, strongly linked to changes in global trends in media and communication, has brought a multifaceted impact on Arab states and societies. It helped raising the ceiling of freedom of expression, breaking through many taboos and creating a wholesale media industry in many Arab capitals. A salient characteristic of much of this broadcasting is the self-presentation of pan-Arab enterprises seeking to attract as many Arab audiences as possible.
The eagerness of broadening the 'catchments area' of broadcasting beyond national borders resulted in a new atmosphere. More than just a higher ceiling of freedom than ever, it created a process of furthering the 'Arabization' of national and regional issues, through the daily broadcasting and debating of a web of inter-Arab issues. From the Gulf region to the Maghreb area, Arab audiences follow those open debates and news coverage at unprecedented pace and depth. In many ways, inter-Arab communication has never witnessed such a degree of live and day-to-day communication between remote Arab communities.
However, the satellite broadcasting has its pros and cons, and hence many angles from which it can be scrutinised. Many of them have already been looked at. In our conference the central theme is to examine whether this trans-border broadcasting furthers inter-Arab integration or enhances fragmentation among Arab societies at political, social, and linguistic/cultural levels. We have sought the contribution of a number of distinguished academics as well as practitioners from the field so that we have a balanced and in-depth treatment of the subject.
A visiting fellow of the Centre of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge, and a Queens' College member; host of a weekly book-review programme on Al-Jazeera; author of 'Hamas: Political Thought and Practice', (Washington DC., 2000, 334 pp.), described by the Foreign Affairs as 'a masterful', and by other critics as '… the most comprehensive and critically documented study of HAMAS published to date'; worked for the Middle East programme of the International Institute of International Studies - London (IISS); obtained his MA in International Relations Theory from the University of Kent, and his Mphil degree in International Studies from the University of Cambridge; frequent writer for Arab newspapers and journals on media and politics; currently involved in a research on globalization and Arab intellectuals; and also the impact of Arab satellite broadcasting on Arab diaspora; his latest publication related to this conference was 'Towards the deconstruction of Arab ghettos in the West after 11 September 2001', appeared in 'Shu'un Arabyya' [Arab Affairs], March 2002, The Arab League journal, Cairo.
Friday, November 1
Saturday, November 2
Sunday, November 3
Arab Party at 21:00