Conventional wisdom wrong about Arab journalists' anti-Americanism

June 19, 2008

Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and Singapore - (June 19, 2008) Since September 11, U.S. politicians have repeatedly reminded us that the journalists in the Arab world are biased against America and the West. Ground-breaking research published in the July 2008 issue of International Journal of Press/Politics published by SAGE shatters the myths, finding that much of the conventional wisdom about Arab journalists that has shaped U.S. public diplomacy toward the region lacks substance.

To provide a snapshot of journalists' attitudes and to create a benchmark for future studies, the researchers surveyed 601 mainstream professional Arab journalists with the goal of understanding how they view both their profession and the events they cover. The survey comes at a time when Arab media are deep in the throes of change. While still subject to censorship, Arab journalists have growing aspirations for independence fed by their access to more than 300 free-to-air Arab satellite channels and the rise of blogging on the internet.

The study, which was made possible by a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, along with the Howard R. March Foundation and the Center for Middle East and North African Studies at the University of Michigan, profiles Arab and Muslim journalists, exploring their beliefs, values, politics and religious world view. The data suggest there is a sizable bloc of Arab journalists who share the same values often espoused by the United States: political freedom, human rights, and at least some separation of church/mosque and state.

"In recent years, the Arab media emphatically have been framed by Washington as the enemy," write the authors in the article. "But the evidence indicates this may be a perception made in America, not necessarily the prevailing view from the Arab newsroom."
-end-
The article, "The Mission of Arab Journalism: Creating Change in a Time of Turmoil," written by Lawrence Pintak of the American University at Cairo and Jeremy Ginges of the New School for Social Research, is being made available at no charge for a limited time at http://hij.sagepub.com/cgi/rapidpdf/1940161208317142v1.

The International Journal of Press/Politics (IJPP) is an interdisciplinary journal for the analysis and discussion of the role of the press and politics in a globalized world. The Journal publishes a wide range of theoretical and empirical research which analyzes the linkages between the news media and political processes and actors. http://hij.sagepub.com/

SAGE is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. Since 1965, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students spanning a wide range of subject areas including business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology and medicine. A privately owned corporation, SAGE has principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and Singapore. www.sagepublications.com

SAGE

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