Date of Award

5-11-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Kilic-Schubel, Nurten

Second Advisor

Singer, Wendy

Abstract

This thesis constructs an organizational history of the Al-Jazeera News network from its founding in 1996 to its definitive global orientation in 2006. Over this period, the network transformed from a regional to an international network. It began as a single Arabic-language news channel and evolved into a network including sports, entertainment, documentary, women's and children's programming, and a channel called Al-Jazeera English, which attempted to become the "Voice of the Global South." In this thesis, the focus is on Al-Jazeera as a news network, and the mission and motives which determined the channel's approach to regional and global events. Particularly in the third chapter, the thesis argues that the global focus on Middle Eastern regional events which emerged in the period bridging the 20th and 21st centuries made Al-Jazeera an alternative voice in global satellite media. In addition to changing the network's core viewership, these events saw the flexible institution changing internally, with the network's leadership both reinforcing its founding mission and consciously departing from it. Finally, this thesis argues that Al-Jazeera's growth in the 21st century to a thirty-five plus bureau industry benefited from the competition of CNN and conflict with the U.S. government. This defensive role pushed the network to be more independent and, in fact, more even-handed toward Western perspectives. The chapter on entertainment continues the theme of the network's conscious decision to prioritize criticisms of Arab leadership and society.

Comments

Includes bibliographical references: pages 144-151

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