I was reading the New York Times yesterday and I came across an article regarding the recent strike by Egyptian police officers. This clearly marks an important change in the radical events that have taken place in Egypt over the past two years. This is a clear challenge to the legitimacy of Mohammad Morsi’s government and is a true test for what direction Egypt will take moving forward. Significance aside, I felt that it would be relevant to see how Al-Jazeera covered the same event and analyze some of the similarities and differences of how each covered the protests. Considering our class readings, I felt this could provide a clear example of the differences of bias between Western Media and a domestic based Arab media.
The first clear difference between the two articles is that Al-Jazeera provides footage of events on the ground while the NY Times doesn’t. This could be for a number of reasons, but it is clear that the significance of Egypt’s future on the Arab World explains an express interest in events there for Al-Jazeera. The second major difference is that Al-Jazeera provides a lot more information about events on the ground. For example, the Al-Jazeera article states that “Egyptian police have fired tear gas and used water cannons at stone-throwing protesters.” The NY Times provides no such description of events on the ground, but rather focuses solely on the protesting of Egyptian police rather than other opposition groups.
The bottom line is that Al-Jazeera clearly has more interest in the affairs of Egypt for a number of political and social reasons. For the NY Times, the events in Egypt aren’t a priority but for Al-Jazeera they are. Al-Jazeera may be expanding internationally, but they still have clear interests in the Arab world just as the NY Times has clear interests in domestic United States news. Zweiri points the rise of Arab media consciousness well when he states that “the new (Arab) media have become ideational battlefields on which competing political, religious, economic, and social narratives are fighting it out for the Arab heart and mind.” Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the current situation in Egypt illustrates this point well.
Zweiri, M., & Murphy, E. (2012). The new arab media. Reading, United Kingdom: Ithaca Press.
Protesters clash with police in cairo. (2013, February 12). Al-Jazeera English. Retrieved from http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2013/02/20132111843493885.html
Sheikh, M. (2013, February 12). Hundreds on police force protest egypt. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/world/middleeast/hundreds-on-police-force-protest-egypts-government.html?ref=world&_r=1&