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Satellite channels and the Arab Society

Satellite channels and the Arab Society

Since the inception of television in the Arab world half a century ago, there have always been increasing expectations about harnessing the medium to promote Arab-Islamic culture. The advent of satellite television into the Arab region has intensified the debate on broadcasting and culture. There are over 200 Arab satellite stations and numerous print media. Just like globalization, the Arab world cannot evade the impacts of satellite channels including Arab channels, local channels, and western channels (Marwan, 2008).

Some stakeholders view satellite channels as having a disruptive role. They argue that such channels have lost their focus and do not bear the distinctive features of Arab-Islamic culture. These channels create an immense chaos in the public sphere, making viewers think of alternative cultural frames of reference that are superior visually to their own. As such, they create a state of disorientation that strengthens the sense of disintegration and fragmentation in the local Arab communities. Satellite channels are part of media globalization, which has major impacts on modes of social and political resistance of communities against cultural and political control of nationalizing states. Community members use the global media, particularly of their kin nations to overcome control, surveillance and disciplinary mechanisms established by these states. It is particularly true for nationalizing countries that seek to deep their control over their social and spatial environment. Such countries seek to shape the collective imagination of the citizenry and construct their self-understanding in accordance with its one image, as belong to and defending an ethnic community. They use ideological mechanism, including the media that is an effective disciplinary tool to shape the collective imagination of the citizens.

Satellite channels such as the Pan-Arab television network Al-Jazeera provides a platform through which the community can discuss sensitive issues such as **** and social stigmatization of women in Arab countries. These satellite channels play a critical role in demonstrating that Arab culture is not as hierarchal and traditional as many people perceive but rather encompasses a variety of viewpoints, ideologies and lifestyle related worldviews. While Islamic satellite channels seek to mobilize people through moral rigor, social networks, and political organizations, they have also inspired people’s mind through liveliness, plurality, and dynamics (Ruaa, 2013). They are helping dispel the old idea that surrounded the triangle of taboos that included politics, *** and religion. Although religion remains strategic and sensitive, hedonism is an important element of most Arab programs, and it has become an acceptable aspect of politics.

The role of television as a force for cultural integration in the Arab world derive from the 40-year old modernization paradigm that assumes a powerful contribution of the media to national development in its social and cultural facets. As such, without a strong media, social webs of a country or region may fail to expand. Media globalization has numerous impacts on the local community. As a tool for cultural integration, satellite channels play a central role in defining different categories of people including women.

Satellite channels, particularly entertainment channels, have turned into vital tools used to influence young people, their attitude, and social behavior. These channels have the potential to broadcast social events, and incidents live; transmitting several cultural, corporeal, and incorporeal aspects to the audience. However, several researchers have reported the negative impacts of satellite channels. Al-Hassan (1998) reported that the emergence of foreign satellite channels equates to the cultural invasion that affects the values and beliefs of the people. The cultural invasion instills negative features among young people such as sectarianism and selfishness. However, watching satellite programs reinforce the values of the provision of assistance to family members and promote affection and passion among family members. The young generation constitutes the largest proportion of the population in most Arab countries. These young people are the major consumer of the western programs. The global youth culture, to which young Arab gravitate with certain degrees of belonging determined by language ability, socio-economic class, and geographical location navigates through the dynamic hypermedia space. As such, satellite channels are helping integrate the Arab culture to the world. The Arab youth learns from their counterparts in relation to values and stops being a receipt from cultural values from the traditional top-down model.


It is inconsequential to ban satellite channels due to the *********** of other uses such YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. As such, people can obtain information from others sources without government interferences. The stringent government control of the media should be repealed to ensure the integration of modern practices. Governments in these countries should find modalities to reduce control over media. The government and the society should work to reduce the negative impacts of satellite TVs. They should observe regulations that respect the Islamic culture and promote globe values. The concept, content and the way its represented should not undermine national ideologies.


Ruaa Z (2013). Globalization and Cultural Attitudes of Saudi Arabia’s College Students. Arizona University.

Marwan M (2008). Youth, media and culture in the Arab World. University of Pennsylvania.

Hafez K (n.d). The Role of Media in the Arab World’s Transformation Process.

Sherry Roberts is the author of this paper. A senior editor at MeldaResearch.Com in nursing essay writing service services. If you need a similar paper you can place your order from research paper services.

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