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The Opinion and the Other Opinion: Al-Jazeera's Agenda Setting Effect in the Arab-Islamic World
Unformatted Document Text:  Al-Jazeera Effect The idea that news networks do set the agenda in politics and diplomacy is not a new one. However, some networks have greater influence than others. CNN is one of those networks that has risen to global prominence because of its coverage of the first Gulf War. It is the network that moves world leaders to take action in remote parts of the world (Seib, 1997) and sets the agenda for the public –hence the CNN effect. Today Al-Jazeera yields the same influence not only in the Arab/Islamic world but globally. Therefore, it is appropriate to say that there is an Al-Jazeera Effect (Cassara & Lengel, 2004). Some observers assert that Al-Jazeera is the most watched Arab television station (Ghareeb, 2000), but precise audience numbers are difficult to obtain because Arab media research is limited (Rugh, 2004). Al-Jazeera’s management claims that 40 million to 50 million of the 300 million Arabs watch Al-Jazeera and that in times of crisis their viewership doubles (Rugh, 2004). Moreover, it has become the channel that sets the agenda for other media outlets in both the Arab and Islamic world (Rugh, 2004). It is worthy to note that Islamic countries like Indonesia (which, at 200 million, has the largest number of Muslims in the world) and Turkey do not speak Arabic yet their media is greatly influenced by Al-Jazeera’s content. There is a trickle down media effect because Al-Jazeera’s content is translated and broadcast in Muslim countries that do not speak Arabic . (El-Nawawy & Iskander, 2002) The United States has come to view the network as a mouthpiece for terrorism and violence (Ayish, 2001). Before the 9/11 attacks, Al-Jazeera was almost unanimously applauded in the West for its ability to criticize governments in the region and discuss matters in the public sphere that were previously taboo (sex, religion, and politics) (Hafez, 2001). Since the 9/11 attacks, it has become the mode to criticize satellite Al-Jazeera for its bias and unfair hostility to America in particular and the West in general (Rugh, 2004). The United States has on more than one occasion accused the channel of broadcasting inflammatory content that has led to negative public opinion in the region toward the 1

Authors: bashri, maha.
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Al-Jazeera Effect
The idea that news networks do set the agenda in politics and diplomacy is not a 
new one. However, some networks have greater influence than others. CNN is one of those 
networks that has risen to global prominence because of its coverage of the first Gulf War. 
It is the network that moves world leaders to take action in remote parts of the world (Seib, 
1997) and sets the agenda for the public –hence the CNN effect. Today Al-Jazeera yields 
the same influence not only in the Arab/Islamic world but globally.  Therefore, it is 
appropriate to say that there is an Al-Jazeera Effect (Cassara & Lengel, 2004).
Some observers assert that Al-Jazeera is the most watched Arab television station 
(Ghareeb, 2000), but precise audience numbers are difficult to obtain because Arab media 
research is limited (Rugh, 2004). Al-Jazeera’s management claims that 40 million to 50 
million of the 300 million Arabs watch Al-Jazeera and that in times of crisis their 
viewership doubles (Rugh, 2004). Moreover, it has become the channel that sets the agenda 
for other media outlets in both the Arab and Islamic world (Rugh, 2004). It is worthy to 
note that Islamic countries like Indonesia (which, at 200 million, has the largest number of 
Muslims in the world) and Turkey do not speak Arabic yet their media is greatly influenced 
by Al-Jazeera’s content.  There is a trickle down media effect because Al-Jazeera’s content 
is translated and broadcast in Muslim countries that do not speak Arabic
(El-Nawawy & 
Iskander, 2002)
 The United States has come to view the network as a mouthpiece for terrorism and 
violence (Ayish, 2001). Before the 9/11 attacks, Al-Jazeera was almost unanimously 
applauded in the West for its ability to criticize governments in the region and discuss 
matters in the public sphere that were previously taboo (sex, religion, and politics) (Hafez, 
2001).  Since the 9/11 attacks, it has become the mode to criticize satellite Al-Jazeera for 
its bias and unfair hostility to America in particular and the West in general (Rugh, 2004). 
The United States has on more than one occasion accused the channel of broadcasting 
inflammatory content that has led to negative public opinion in the region toward the 

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