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Changing Revolutions, Changing Attention? Comparing Danish Press Coverage of the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Syria

Mikkel Fugl Eskjære | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: The Arab Spring has generated unprecedented attention to the Arab world in Western news media. This paper presents a comparative study of Danish press coverage of the uprisings in Tunisia and Syria during the early months of the Arab Spring (January-March 2011). The study is based on a mixed quantitative and qualitative content analysis aimed at identifying patterns of news reporting of the Arab Spring. The investigation looks into whether temporal developments of the Arab revolutions, the level of journalistic presence in the region, and national differences influence Danish press coverage of the Arab Spring.
The findings indicate that media coverage of the Arab Spring points in different directions. On the one hand there has been a remarkable increase in media attention to the Middle East in purely quantitative terms. On the other hand the study finds that a number of traditional media patterns persist, not least in relation to media perceptions of Islam and democracy, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the ability to reform the Arab world from the inside.

The Arab Spring is a Latin American Winter: TeleSUR’s “Ideological Approach” and the Breakaway from the Al-Jazeera Network

Massimo Di Ricco | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: The Arab Spring represents a breaking point in the cooperation between the pan-Latin American satellite television TeleSUR and Al-Jazeera. Even if in February TeleSUR firmly condemned the closure by Egyptian authorities of the Al-Jazeera Cairo offices, NATO military intervention in Libya and the beginning of protests in Syria provoked an important change in TeleSUR coverage of the Arab Spring. This shift coincided with a departure from the Al-Jazeera network, sanctioning the possible end of a collaboration that always had strong political connotations. TeleSUR joined the cause of the protesters in the coverage of the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings, meanwhile it took what we can refer to as an “ideological approach” in the coverage of the uprisings after the international intervention in Libya, implicitly embracing the official media version of the Arab regimes. This stance sparked controversy especially within grassroots Latin American movements, igniting a strong debate mainly visible on the web. At an international level, the undeclared departure from the Al-Jazeera network reflects the future split between leftist Latin American governments, who embrace and fund the multi-state TV network TeleSUR, and the forces that will come out from the Arab Spring. Finally, the Arab Spring represented a missing opportunity for TeleSUR to play an important role in global media, and not only for a national or regional audience. Indeed, TeleSUR gave more importance to the political interests of the channel’s founders, than in pursuing a balanced information out of ideological interests or geopolitical strategies.

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