9. Arabs’ image in the world press

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Article summary: 

The author discusses a symposium on reforming Arabs and Muslims’ image in Western media.

Article full text: 

The Center of Al Babtain Prize for Poetic Creation Association [see: http://www.albabtainprize.org/] in Kuwait held a symposium on the reformation of Arabs and Muslims’ image in Western media. The discussions of the symposium revealed that rebel and extremist Arabs’ ideology and activities cause a negative image of Arabs and Muslims in Western media.

The participants were divided into different groups. The first group asserted that Western media has a strategy of defaming the image of Arabs and Islam. The author comments that the members of this group lack press and media knowledge. In addition, they adopt that opinion in order to gain financial support to establish a mutual dialogue between Arabs and non-Arabs.

The other group has fair knowledge of press and media techniques. It includes journalists, university professors and politicians, who work in the West. This group rejects the idea of a Western strategy of defamation. Moreover, the members in this group asserted that they had close contact with Western press, because many worked as journalists for various Western press institutions, and did not notice any strategic plan to defame Arabs’ image. On the contrary, some Arabs and Muslims defame their image themselves through their extremist ideas and activities.

On the other hand, George Nawfal, a journalist for a Monte Carlo radio station [Reviewer: he is the head of the department of news at Radio Monte Carlo, see: http://www.radiomontecarlo.net/RMC_04/index_html], sees that there is not a clear definition of the word “Arab.” He adds that French call Moroccans and Algerians Arabs, but they do not apply the same definition on other Arabs. Moreover, British media uses Arab nationalities instead of the terms Arabs prefer, such as Iraqi teacher or Lebanese merchant.

Most participants agreed that Arabs present their information in Arabic which cannot be understood by the West, and that the translations provided are of a poor quality and cause non-Arabs to search Western news outlets for news about Arabs. Arabs should establish media institutions in foreign languages in order to present clear and accurate information about the Arab and Muslim world. In addition, Arabs and Muslims must establish electronic web sites in foreign languages that contain historical background about Arabs’ achievements as well as current Arab news and events.

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