Free Essay

Globalization Today in Africa

In: People

Submitted By emuriithi
Words 1399
Pages 6
By Evelyn Thai

Al Jazeera's logo
Since its inception, Al Jazeera and the space the network occupies in the alternative media order have been heavily contested. The network’s editorial and journalistic decisions position Al Jazeera as an alternative news source and some see the station as a powerful force against global hegemonies. In “Hegemonic No More: Western Media, the Rise of Al-Jazeera, and the Influence of Diverse Voice,” Philip Seib argues that Al Jazeera’s success signals “an end to the near monopoly in global news that American and other Western media had long enjoyed”. (Seib 2005) Others heavily contest the alternative media designation citing the network’s structure, organization, and funding; Adel Iskandar argues that much of the alterity that characterizes Al Jazeera is manufactured and “resembles the marketing strategy for a corporate brand”. (Iskandar 2006)

Situating Al Jazeera within the alternative media order has been difficult in part because “the nature and definitions of alternative media have often been contested terrain” (ibid.). Although fluid, most definitions of alternative media focus on the challenge alternative sources pose to existing narratives and journalistic practices. These definitions of alterity stipulate that the media should have some if not all of the following characteristics: connections with social movements, facilitating social communication and change, the ability to instigate activism, challenge to the structures of power, wide participation in the creation of content, positioning outside mainstream media, an emphasis on the social construction of facts, privileging diverse voices, and participation-based organizational values, structure and funding. (See Atton 2003, Downing, and Iskandar)

Judged against some of these criteria – particularly that of permitting grassroots participation and association with social movements – Al Jazeera could not be called alternative.

Another challenge to understanding Al Jazeera’s alterity is posed by the fact that Al Jazeera is a transnational media organization. Much of the scholarship on alternative media does not account for the unique challenges posed by an organization that functions and conceptualizes itself outside of a traditional nation-state framework. In “Al Jazeera: A Challenge to Traditional Framing Research”, Wojcieszak argues that traditional framing theories are based on assumptions about the role that media plays in Western nation-states. Because the new transnational media landscape is characterized by the implementation of new technologies that cut across traditional cultural and sovereign boundaries, traditional framing research “may be inapplicable to the transnational media landscape” (Wojcieszak 2007).

On the assumption that Al Jazeera’s impact on challenging the structures of power merits an assessment of the network's alterity, this paper seeks to explore the conditions under which a transnational media outlet such as Al Jazeera might be described as alternative. This analysis begins by demonstrating areas where Al Jazeera fits traditional alternative media criteria and exploring Al Jazeera’s success in challenging structures of power by providing a platform for diverse voices. Following that discussion, the analysis will consider those areas where the network fails to meet current alternative media definitions. This section will demonstrate how certain critical definitions of alterity in traditional alternative media research, such as freedom from corporate or state sponsorship, would necessarily limit an organization’s ability to reach a transnational audience. After addressing the conditions which have enabled Al Jazeera to enlarge or create public discursive spaces, this article will begin to draw the outlines for a new theoretical framework that will help us better understand Al Jazeera and similar transnational media.

Traditional Theorizations and Al Jazeera
The literature on Al Jazeera demonstrates that the network meets many of the criteria for alterity mentioned above. The challenge that Al Jazeera poses to the governments in the Middle East and the United States is a pervasive theme in descriptions about the network. Prior to Al Jazeera’s establishment, most television media networks in the Middle East region (which scholars consider highly influential in the region because of high illiteracy rates) acted as “mouthpieces” for official government positions. Even satellite networks, which have traditionally been privately owned and generally have more flexibility in airing programming that may offend some sensibilities, have been unwilling or unable to air sensitive political issues such as “uncensored debates or screen footage of angry demonstrations on Arab streets” (Sakr 2005; 84). According to a number of regional media veterans, the huge effort required to create content, secure government support, and generate revenue creates significant disincentives for upsetting governments who can physically shut down networks or pressure advertisers to withdraw funding.

Within such a context, many researchers describe Al Jazeera’s impact on expanding the public sphere as nothing short of transformative. Under the motto, “The opinion and the other opinion” the network’s editors and journalists strive to privilege alternative voices. In “Maverick or Model,” Sakr describes how a show called Under Siege, consisting entirely of live calls, e-mails, and faxes from members of the public, “became a vehicle for outbursts as much against Arab leaders for their alleged impotence and inertia as against Israel or the USA”. By all accounts, providing a forum to individual callers to publicly criticize their leaders is a new phenomenon in the Middle Eastern world. Al Jazeera continued airing Under Seige even after various governments threatened closure of its satellite offices. The network’s dedication to maintaining this show as “a platform for those without a platform” demonstrates a dedication to opening spaces for public debate. By airing programming that specifically targets government corruption and human rights abuses and giving a platform to opposition movements and other dissenting groups, Al Jazeera has forced governments to be more accountable for their actions. (Wojcieszak 2007)

According to Wojcieszak, the results of such programming have already motivated “many politicians to be attentive to public opinion that they did not consider previously and… facilitated the power of the public to shape government opinion instead of merely being shaped by it” (Wojcieszak 2007; 122, See Wojcieszak, Sakr, Miles, Zayani). Although the network’s editors and journalists value objectivity and thus are not consciously promoting any specific social movement agenda, the network’s role in spurring interest in politics, vitalizing political discussion, and the adoption of its format by competitors suggest that as Al Jazeera and its competitors continue to push boundaries and expand their reach into homes, they will inspire discourse that could perhaps lead to social action.

Failing to make the Theoretical Cut
Despite Al Jazeera’s accomplishments in promoting the creation of public discursive spaces, Al Jazeera cannot, under the current theoretical framework, be defined as an alternative medium. According to many alternative media academics, traditional alternative media is understood to offer “not simply a symbolic challenge (through its content) to mass communication, but a challenge to the political economy of mass communication itself through its alternative, democratic structures” (Atton 2007; 99). This alternative media definition fundamentally disallows private or state funding because such backing poses systemic and fundamental conflicts of interest. Moreover, alternative media by its very nature opposes professionalism, which intrinsically promotes exclusivity. According to most alternative media theory, mainstream media organizations are understood as “largely monolithic, centered on profit, hierarchical organizations which, by virtue of their professional routinization and codification, are implicitly exclusive” (Downing 1984). In contrast, alternative media content is primarily understood as being “produced and composed primarily by non-professionals” (Iskandar 2006).

Al Jazeera cannot meet the preceding criteria because of the network’s structure, funding, and journalistic values. The organization functions much the way other mainstream institutions operate in terms of how the network plans and puts together its news stories (Iskandar 2006). As the most popular news outlet in the Arab world with over 40 million viewers, the network has its pick of journalists and producers, most of who have been trained by leading world news agencies such as the BBC (Sakr 2005, 87). The competition for trained staff due to the explosion of satellite networks and rising expectations of production quality also contributes to the professionalization of the Al Jazeera corps.

Editors at Al Jazeera also have a tremendous degree of editorial latitude. According to Faisal al-Kasim, the presenter of the debate show The Opposite Direction, he has complete editorial control: “My show is the most controversial show on the network, but no one interferes.” (ibid.) But while editors and journalists can purposely court controversy by airing dissenting views, scholars, writers, and government officials are often the main commentators on Al Jazeera’s news shows, which implies that certain elite voices are necessarily privileged while others are not heard. (Kasim 2005)

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Globalization and Sud

...Introduction Globalization, widely recognised as a positive influence, is actually harming the socioeconomic development of the majority of African and developing countries, it has contributed to their decline in all sectors of the economy. Before further elaboration, it is fundamental to define the term ‘’globalization’’. Globalization is defined by the United Nations Poverty and Development Division, as “an increasing interaction across national boundaries that affects many aspects of life: economic, social, cultural and political” (Chanboracheat, 2012, p.1). However, “While many people warmly welcome these integrations, there are some who raise doubts over its benefits for developing countries” (Chamboracheat, 2012, p.1). The benefits of globalization are fairly widely recognized: a) decrease in technological differences, b)knowledge and information become accessible to all, c) the rights of nature and animals are more protected than before and d) nations of the world become more interdependent. Sports, entertainment of all kinds reinforce cohesion and reconciliation between different nationalities. Countries suffering from natural or human disasters quickly receive support from other countries etc. This support alleviate the suffering of victims, and man becomes a citizen of the world. However, if one does a cost-risk and profit-effect analysis, what can be said to the overall effect of globalization? Is it positive? Is it negative? Globalization, as it exist......

Words: 2868 - Pages: 12

Premium Essay

Globalization in South Afria

...Globalization in South Africa Regarding the globalization of South Africa, the lifting of the apartheid policy caused a dramatic shift in the both the political and economic policies of the nation. Furthermore, this was absolutely pivotal to the growth and progression of a nation that has now become a major emerging market and one of the world’s largest exporters of metals and minerals. South Africa is a country located on the southern tip of Africa. South Africa has had a long history of colonialism under both the British and the Dutch. The discovery of diamonds and gold in this region spurred the development of the area and immigration to the region while suppressing its native populations. And while the control the empires retained over their colonies was crumbling, South Africa as a colony did as well. It was granted independence in 1931, but when the Nationalist Party took power in 1948, it strengthened the segregationist policies that were established under colonial rule. South Africa finally achieved a full democracy with the elections of 1994, the first time the black population was allowed to vote, bringing the African National Congress (ANC) to power with Nelson Mandela as its leader. This officially brought an end to apartheid and marked the beginning of new era for the country. Although South Africa was formally granted independence in 1931, the South Africa that we know today didn’t exist until early 1990’s when apartheid was lifted. The policy......

Words: 1338 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Economic Globalization

...Over time, globalization has contributed to the economical aspects of Global North and Global South. While every country in the world hopes to economically benefit from globalization, the Global South wasn’t getting there. Economic globalization has helped integrate many countries into the global trade market. Countries in the Global North such as China and India have benefitted greatly by opening up their trade market. This provided people with job opportunities and higher incomes. But while the countries of the Global North continue to economically increase of because of trade market, the demand for imports and exports from the Global South become inevitable. As the Global North demand for more resources from the Global South, countries of the Global South don’t benefit from the situation. Countries such as Africa and Uganda have their resources exploited and continue to suffer from economic globalization. Within decades, globalization has continuously benefited the Global North. Countries such as China and India are great examples. Meredith, Hoppough, and Basu all explained the prosperity that the people have received from globalization. Economic globalization allowed China and India to create more business while providing more job opportunities for many people with the idea of higher wages. However, poverty rates continued to decline. According to Meredith and Hoppough, over 200 million people in China escaped poverty in the 1990s due to globalization. But not only did...

Words: 699 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Non Western Culture

...decentering of culture by the Europeans in Africa. Introduction As the western world began strengthening its military, communication, and developing naval technology, its new focus was conquering civilizations in the New World and decentering their culture. The Europeans were determined to pose their will on the weaker civilizations and claim these territories as part of their own. Analyze and interpret the following quotation: “Worldwide, non-Western cultures faced fundamental challenges to their cultural identities—not so much a recentering of culture but a decentering of culture. The late 19th and early 20th century produced western cultures that inherited modern technology, communication, and a strong military presence. The growth of these western cultures both politically and economically influenced other cultures. As the western cultures continued to strengthen, other cultures began to fear the power the western cultures were gaining. The non-Western cultures did not want to circum to these Western cultures because they had their own values and own way of thinking. The non-Western cultures were not ready for a decentering of their own culture which ultimately would have these cultures losing their identities. (Agatucci, 2010) In the later nineteenth century and early twentieth century, what would a “decentering” of culture have meant for a given cultural group? Globalization in the nineteenth and......

Words: 838 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Impact of Globalization on the Health Sector in South Africa

...Impact of Globalization on the Health Sector in South Africa After the Apartheid era, massive inequalities in income, health status, access to health care and other social services continued to dominate in South Africa. The Apartheid era was a system of racial segregation that was implemented in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. Due to colonization, whites had ruled South Africa for several centuries, which resulted in the creation of a system that was constructed to serve as a legal framework for continued economic and political dominance by people of European descent (WHO 2003: Antiretroviral Therapy). The apartheid era came to an end as a consequence of both inner and global pressure and South Africa’s new democratic government. The new government claims that improving the access to health care is a main priority noting, “emphasis should be placed on reaching … the most vulnerable” (Department of Health 1997:13). Giving access to health care is becoming an even greater challenge. South Africa was, and is still facing an exploding HIV/AIDS epidemic that, if anything, is highly associated with health care demands. Today, there are more than 5.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa, this accounts for more than 21.5% of the entire population (CIA World Fact book: 2006). This paper aims to understand how the health care sector has dealt with the challenges faced in dealing with immense inequalities and a growing epidemic in the context of globalization.......

Words: 3319 - Pages: 14

Premium Essay

The Effects of Globalization and Neoliberalism in Africa

...The Effects of Globalization and Neoliberalism on African Societies Globalization and neoliberalism are concepts that can be applied to the analysis of any aspect of modern day society. Social life in a particular area is filled with the constant spread of ideas, practices and beliefs due largely to globalization. This paper will provide an in depth view on the effects Globalization and neoliberalism has had on culture and development in African societies. Within Africa lies various intricate backgrounds from its colonialism roots to the shift towards globalization in the effort to promote development. Exposing the dynamics of globalization as well as its impact on African societies will lead to a better understanding of the relationship between Africa and the international community. Globalization, as defined by Held et al. , sees the issue “as a process (or set of processes) which embodies a transformation in the spatial organization of social relations and transactions--assessed in terms of their extensity, intensity, velocity and impact--generating transcontinental or interregional flows and networks of activity, interaction and the exercise of power.” (Held et al. 2004: 68), It involves the increased interaction between nations and the exchange of ideas, practices, relations and organization. (Ritzer 2008:574). One must be aware that the theory of globalization can be expressed through economic terms as well as sociologically. The...

Words: 2603 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Effect of Globalization

... Index Introduction 3 Main Body 3-6 What is globalization 3-4 The rise of globalization and the effects on the "global village" 5 Effects on Africa and developing countries 6 Conclusion 7-8 Bibliography 9 Introduction This paper aims to firstly discuss what is the globalization and then to look at the effect that it has on the “global village” and mostly on poor countries such as countries inside the Africa’s continent. These topics are raised as we discuss globalization as an economic culture and a source of conflict due to the imperative change in methods of production and consumption. What is globalization? There are a lot and different proposed definition of globalization as "the set of processes of global and regional integration" currently underway at the global level . One of the most successful definitions of “globalization” is the one given by the English sociologist Anthony Giddens . according to which the term refers to "the intensification of worldwide social relations which are able to link really distant localities, making sure that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa". Giddens believes that globalization has the characteristics typical of modernity , including the idea of the nation state, the capitalist economy, the division of labor and militarism. Globalization is thus essentially an expansion of the western Europe modernity and......

Words: 1485 - Pages: 6

Free Essay


...various goods and services/products in Nigeria. Which includes salt, rice, cement, noodles oil and gas,pasta,flour,etc.The name Dangote group of company was laid down in the late started with ALCO international limited. But subsequently the Dangote group of company was incorporated in 1980s into the company and allied matters act. by ALhaji Alake dangote, who is currently the chairman and CEO of the company. when the company was formed, It only focused on cement manufacturing, but with time diversified into many other manufacturing services. “DANGOTE cement Emerges Nigeria Biggest Quoted Company.” By okey Nwankwo. The e-newsletter of the Dangote group.( 2011)Today Dangote group of company has grown to be one of the biggest companies in Africa, because it has its branch almost in all Africa countries, the company grew because of its excellent and quality of its goods and services to its customers. the company has it’s headquarter located in Lagos Nigeria. Dangote is a graduate of business studies from the Al Zahra University Cairo Egypt. Aliko ventured into business in 1977, when the only thing he could produce then was sugar, rice, and cement. But with time and determination he ventured into other business services like salt, noodles, water, telecom, oil and gas, and so many other businesses as well. (DANGOTE,2011)....

Words: 1321 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay


...Globalization Has Increased Poverty Although the concept of globalization is very recent, it has existed throughout the history. Globalization began to take greater height from the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago in England which was the most developed countries in the world. Technological and political changes have changed the meaning of globalization. Today, the term globalization is defined as “the process enabling financial and investment markets to operate internationally, largely as a result of deregulation and improved communications. It is the social, political and economic integration that comes with the increased flow of trade, people, capital, and ideas” (Steger). The purpose of this essay is to show how globalization has increased poverty and affected some countries and people’s lives. While many people argue that globalization has reduced poverty; others, has disagree because there are facts that show clearly how the rate of poverty has increased. According to Sachs, Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, poverty is the result of “low productivity per worker, which reflects poor health, lack of job-market skills, patchiness of infrastructure (roads, power plants, utility lines, shipping ports), and chronic malnutrition” (Sachs). In many countries, the economic situation is going from bad to worse. Poverty has been rising steadily “from 21% in 1984 to 40% in 2002” (Nissanke). Sachs said that every day more than 20 000 die of......

Words: 2152 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Decentering of Non-Western Culture

...The Europeans were determined to impose their will on these smaller and weaker nations claim them and incorporate them as a part of their own new territories. These non-Western cultures were not ready for a decentering of their own culture which ultimately would have these cultures losing their identities. Yet we see where the western cultures were continually gaining strength over other cultures and they began to fear the power the western cultures; smaller and weaker nations found themselves and the civilization that they once knew to be fading and they were being incorporated into the European traditions. (Agatucci, 2010) Of the many cultures that suffered from this decentering frozen in fear of change and lacked of development was Africa; this change was believed to be growth by Europeans and...

Words: 1059 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Org. Behavior

...Globalization and Organization Behavior Globalization is something that affects us all from our clothes, to our food, and shoes. It has changed the world permanently, for both better and worse. The word Globalization has had numerous meanings throughout history; it was also acknowledged at one point in 1930 as an interpretation of human experience (“Oxford English Dictionary”, 2010). There have been disagreement by scholars with the roots of globalization for some time; however, critics claimed that globalization was created in the modern era as some scholars believe that the origin can be followed through a history of events. A perfect illustration of this is the economist Andre Frank, who asserted that there were traces of globalization in the third millennium B.C. during the imperialist age. Other scholars dispute that there were globalization economies that occur throughout the Hellenistic Era and Islamic Golden Age (Moore & Lewis, 2009). It is believed, by economists, that the spread of the Greek culture in the Hellenistic Era was an early practice of economic globalization. Globalization was influenced by culture with a diversity of food that was found in many different areas. The Jews and Muslims resulted in the globalization of crops, trade, knowledge, and technology in the Islamic Golden Age. Then, Christopher Columbus, in the Age of Discovery, discovered the New World in 1492 and a globalization of trade of gold, spices, and timber were all traded between......

Words: 2271 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Globlisation of Economy

...Globalization is not new, though. For thousands of years, people—and, later, corporations—have been buying from and selling to each other in lands at great distances, such as through the famed Silk Road across Central Asia that connected China and Europe during the Middle Ages. Likewise, for centuries, people and corporations have invested in enterprises in other countries. In fact, many of the features of the current wave of globalization are similar to those prevailing before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Map of the Silk Road But policy and technological developments of the past few decades have spurred increases in cross-border trade, investment, and migration so large that many observers believe the world has entered a qualitatively new phase in its economic development. Since 1950, for example, the volume of world trade has increased by 20 times, and from just 1997 to 1999 flows of foreign investment nearly doubled, from $468 billion to $827 billion. Distinguishing this current wave of globalization from earlier ones, author Thomas Friedman has said that today globalization is “farther, faster, cheaper, and deeper.” But policy and technological developments of the past few decades have spurred increases in cross-border trade, investment, and migration so large that many observers believe the world has entered a qualitatively new phase in its economic development. Since 1950, for example, the volume of world trade has increased by 20 times, and......

Words: 1437 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

The Horrors of the Boko Haram

...becomes a type of political or social protest. This is key in understanding the Boko Haram simply because they truly believed what they were doing was right and by doing the heinous activities they would get their point across. It is also important to see what theoretical perspectives the Boko Haram ties into and lastly how globalization and the global village fall into it as well. The Boko Haram is a Nigeria radical Islamist group that has caused numerous havoc throughout Africa. The groups official name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which means “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings.” Boko Haram was founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf. The group was taken over by Abubakar Shekau when Yusuf was killed in 2009. Boko Haram promotes a “version of Islam which makes it "haram", or forbidden, for Muslims to take part in any political or social activity associated with Western society” (BBC News). This included voting in elections, wearing shirts and trousers or receiving a secular education. A main goal that the group pushed to achieve was to create an Islamic state. They have committed horrific acts in Africa by dropping bombs, assassinations, and abductions as well as numerous others. One of the things they were recognized for was the “use of gunmen on motorbikes, killing police, politicians and anyone who criticized it, including clerics from other Muslim traditions and Christian preachers” (BBC News). They are also known......

Words: 991 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Causes of African Immigration to the United States of America

...migration is a vast subject for research. Unlike the other countries the growing number of immigrants from African countries is entering the stream of immigration to United States. The history of African migration begins with slavery. The post war political economy considerably promoted the African immigrants to prefer United States as their major destination. United States has been highly benefited for decades by the African immigrants to gain all its achievements. The nation today includes people from all parts of the world, with a variety of race, complexion, beliefs and ethnicity which have made the nation an agglomeration of various cultures. The noteworthy reasons for this inundation could be categorized as historic reasons, globalization, civil wars and human rights violations, labor shortage in The US, immigration policies, and economic instability in home land. Historic elements contribute to migration The condition that brought Africans to the land of America was entirely different from that of today. The first Africans were not influenced by ‘the push pulls’ factors but they were taken by force as slaves. The arrival of African slaves greatly impacted the socio, economic culture of United States. “By the mid 1800s people of African decent were craftsmen, teamsters, porters, and domestic as well as...

Words: 1044 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

The Pentagon’s New Map: It Explains Why We’re Going to War and Why We’ll Keep Going to War

...strategic environment. The primary division in the world today, he says, is between two sets countries that he calls the Core and the Gap. The Core consists of advanced countries that play by the rules and are committed to globalization (primarily Europe, North America, and Japan) plus countries that are committed to getting there (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and some others). This is a form of shrinking the gap aka promote globalization. The less connected to globalization, the greater the chance is for U.S. military response. However, the Middle East is ripe for change, a stronger “bully” could push it forward. Focusing America’s military might in the Gap will set the conditions for globalization of nations in the region. Our presence in Japan and Western Europe generated extremely successful Core states. The Gap is everyone else: a collection of disconnected, lawless, and dangerous countries such as Colombia, Pakistan, and North Korea, plus most of the Middle East and Africa. American military action since World War II has been confined almost exclusively to the Gap, which means the task of the United States over the next several decades — and in particular the task of the United States military — is to shrink the Gap and eventually convert the entire world to the values of the Core. Only then will America and the rest of the current Core be safe. Regions not connected to globalization present the greatest threat to the United...

Words: 639 - Pages: 3