Monday, July 24, 2017

Al-Jazeera’s relationship with Qatar before and after Arab Spring: Effective public diplomacy or blatant propaganda?

Zainab Abdul-Nabi,

Image (not from entry) from, under the headline: "Duke in the Arab World, Summer 2012"
Since its foundation in 1996 until the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, the Qatar-based and funded channel, Al-Jazeera, was considered by many media and politics scholars as a major element of a “pan-Arab public diplomacy” and even a “virtual state.” The main reasons behind Al-Jazeera’s success as an effective public diplomacy tool before the Arab Spring can be attributed to its popularity, credibility, critical coverage, and relative independence from Qatar’s politics. However, after 2011, Al-Jazeera, especially the Arabic channel, has “degenerated to a propagandistic agent” serving Qatar’s policy and agenda. Based on scholarly work and interviews conducted by the author, this article argues that the dramatic change in Qatar’s foreign policy from a neutral mediator to an aggressive militarily interventionist during the Arab uprisings, has been followed by a similar shift in Al-Jazeera’s editorial policy. More specifically, Al-Jazeera’s “dual standard coverage” of the uprisings in Bahrain and Syria has been entirely consistent with Qatar’s propaganda, interests, and politics at the time. ...

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