An introduction

12 09 2007

I’m going to be commenting on news from the Middle East and North Africa.  I’ll be gathering my content from news sources based in the region – some big, pan-Arab sources like Al-Jazeera, and some smaller national sources, like Egypt’s Daily Star.  I will also write background posts on different news sources and countries, do sweeps of important stories that are covered in several papers, and compare coverage of certain events in the American media to coverage of the same events in different regional news sources. 

Some potential problems:

In many nations of the Middle East the relationship between the press and the government is somewhat antagonistic.  I mean, very antagonistic.  Qatar, the country out of which Al-Jazeera operates, is very liberal with its press, but in nearly every other nation in the region the government has influence over the media, with varying degrees of severity.

This can be a problem because news from regional news sources is often heavily censored.

I am addressing this in a couple of ways.  First, I will probably rely heavily on Al-Jazeera – a news organization I will defend passionately in my next post – because it is not responsible to any government (including Qatar).  Second, whenever possible I will use news gathering sites like Iran Press Service, a private organization based outside of Iran that covers national issues without influence from the IRNA, Iran’s official news agency.

Another thing that you might have a problem with: I am a total amateur.  I’m an undergraduate.  I speak enough Arabic to ask you how you are, but not to answer you if you reply to me.  Which brings us to –

The limitations of this blog:

I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination.  I am limited to English-language versions of Arab and Iranian newspapers.  I will cite sources whenever I think to and whenever you ask me.  Please! Ask me if you have any questions about my information.

Something else:

I am just getting used to WordPress and will probably be playing around with this layout over the next couple of days.




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