How Social Media And The Internet Have Revolutionized The Muslim Arab World

1994 words - 8 pages

People today are not willing to sit back and solely absorb information, take orders, and be shunned into a crowd. Today’s generation is driven by the need to voice their opinions, to affirm their independence, and to attain their desires instantaneously; they are the “I want it right now” generation (United Nations). Social media and the advances in modern-day communication have all paved way for individuals to assert their personalities and attest their individuality. Information is readily and instantly available on an endless array of different subjects, and audiences have the chance to not only take in, but to also contribute to the material at hand. In the Arab World; where traditional media has always been owned or heavily regulated by the government, the rise of digital technology has completely transformed the concept of global communication to its people. This spur of knowledge has instigated the region’s newest generations to develop with a sense of aversion and disrespect, or even indifference, to their governments, who used to gain their credibility from being the only source and access to information for its people.
Traditional media – specifically, television, radio and print - only serves to provide information to its audience and is much more difficult to put out; it can be steadily controlled and easily monitored. Since traditional media in the Arab World is under either outright ownership, or heavy control, by the government (Duffy), it is arguably the only voice being spoken and thus subjective to slanting; it transmits information that is channeled to achieve a certain purpose – to inform only what its proprietor wishes to divulge (Birk & Birk). There is a lack of balanced presentation; and objective journalists who attempt to challenge restrictions are quick to be prosecuted for doing so; a factor leading to the distrust of the public, as they began to hear other “truths” from international sources through the rise of digital media (Duffy), which provides more freedom to the press.
Adding to the content control in traditional media in the Arab World is the actual content material. Political affairs are many times likelier to dominate the headlines of any press publication than technological advancements, scientific achievements, sports, or entertainment news; media is undeniably more politically geared. This directly impacts the audience in terms of the subjects they are interested in and their perception towards politics and the media; especially if this is the only source of information they are receiving, such as the older generations, and particularly so when the coverage and exposure of that content is in visual form. An assessment of the influence of television news by media specialists Neil Postman and Steve Powers discusses the powerful effect that images have on their audience; providing a stronger message through the credibility associated by visualization. The impact is so strong that they claim that the “viewer...

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