Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science




arab, media, satellite, al, analysis


Echoing the political environment of the region, media in the Arab world has historically operated as a top-down, state-run medium. Print, radio and television have all been predominantly influenced, if not directly controlled, by heads of state or government departments and bureaucracies. As a result, the people of the Arab world have been deprived of a free press and the open debates and range of opinions that come along with it. This is not to say that the Arab people have been wholly uninformed about particular issues or varieties of beliefs; surely such discussions have been taking place within the privacy of homes, as well as with neighbors and friends. However, with the introduction of satellite television onto the Arab media scene, and particularly with the creation and rising popularity of the al-Jazeera satellite news network (established in 1996), the Arab masses throughout the Middle East have been inundated with a multitude of issues and voices never before witnessed from their region’s media. This thesis looks at the progression of media in the Arab world and the changes that have taken place since the emergence of satellite television. Furthermore, this thesis provides a critical analysis of existing research on al-Jazeera in comparison to an independent research analysis of al-Jazeera English, the newly developed English language satellite channel (established in 2006). The goal of this analysis is to uncover the differences and similarities between the two networks in an effort to discern potential media biases inherent within coverage as well as understand the larger impacts each network may have on the international community.