Qatar is one of the most influential nations in the Arab region. A substantial number of people argue that the rise of the country into the most influential nation in the region is supported by the use of soft power attributes embedded in the functioning of Aljazeera. Thus, this paper aims to explore the advancements in media in the country, especially Al Jazeera and the role played by it in enhancing the position of Qatar in international affairs. Thus, an extensive review of the literature and real case studies are presented in an attempt to align the operations of Al Jazeera and the influence of Qatar in international affairs in the Arab region and the world at large. The results of the study denote strong correlations between Al Jazeera as one of the most renowned media networks in the world today and the emergence of Qatar as a strong power in Middle East politics.
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History of Al Jazeera
According to Balogh (2013), Al Jazeera is one of the renowned satellite television news networks in the Middle East. The channel is also received in other parts of the globe. The channel is based in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The channel is divided into Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arab. Al Jazeera Arab was the first one to be launched, having been established in 1996. This network first aired its content on November 1, 1996. On the other hand, Al Jazeera English was launched in the year 2006, almost ten years after the launch of the Arab channel. Here, it is critical to mark the period, which depicts the events that could have resulted in the establishment of Al Jazeera English. The term Al Jazeera from which the name of the channel was acquired is an Arabic term, which means “the peninsula”. Therefore, the term represents the significance of the region in which the channel was established. Al Jazeera is highly funded by the Royal Family of Qatar (Bahry, 2001).
Balogh (2013) observed that the network has four main centers from which it broadcasts. These centers are Doha in Qatar, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, London and Washington D. C besides the four main broadcasting centers; the network also has bureaus across the world. Having been established later that other renowned satellite television and radio networks in the world, Al Jazeera has managed to access the industry and now has an outstanding number of viewers across the world. The potential of the channel to gain access to the entire world was boosted by the launching of the English Channel that has boosted its presence in the non-Arab world (Bahry, 2001).
Nawawy and Iskandar (2003) opined that the establishment of the network is largely based on political developments in Qatar. In the year 1995, The Prince of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani overthrew his father, which set him to reform the media and governance structures of the country. Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani aimed to transform the country into a Persian Gulf of Switzerland. Publicity was critical in the attainment of the objective. This resulted in the establishment of the emirate’s media to act like the Arab version of CNN. In the year 1994, the BBC had established a Station in Qatar having been financed by Saudi Arabia. It was later discovered by Saudi Arabia that the BBC station that had been opened through its financing was not attaining the objective of independence, which is the reason the country was establishing the station. This resulted in the dissolving of the BBC station leaving approximately 250 journalists, who had been employed by the station jobless (Balogh, 2013).
After the shutting down of the BBC station that was airing in the country, approximately 120 of the employees were recruited by the Qatar emir and this is how Al Jazeera began its operations. This explains the pressure from several Arab regimes against the network, most notably Saudi Arabia. The opposition to the network is seen in terms of drawing away advertisers to deprive off the channel powers to advance its operations in Saudi Arabia and the entire Arab region. Irrespective of the negative publicity of the network by countries like Saudi Arabia, the network has continued to be sensational in its operations in the Arab world. Several commentators argue that Al Jazeera is the way of life in most Arab countries. However, there is an intense controversial story as to why the BBC station was shut down and the embrace of the opening of the Al Jazeera network in Qatar (Balogh, 2013).
At the time of the establishment of the Al Jazeera, Qatar, which is an oil-rich nation, was purely dictatorial, and the country’s King had been overthrown by his son. Therefore, a lot of atrocities were committed during that period as the country maximized on the Sharia Law to carry out executions based on political grounds (Nawawy & Iskandar, 2003). The incoming regimen under the leadership of Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani could not allow the coverage of the executions as had been planned by the BBC, thereby becoming the reason why the new Middle East bureau of the BBC was shut down as the country’s leadership sought to develop a new media platform that could cover up the atrocities. An observation made at this point is that the main interest of the network was to preserve the attributes of the Sharia law as were exercised in Qatar and other dictatorial regimes in the Arab region (Ritz, 2013).
However, contrary to the observation that a lot of atrocities were committed in the course of the coup that led to the rising into the power of Hamad bin Khalifa, several progressive policies were put in place by Hamad bin Khalifa, as he became the Emir of Qatar, which denoted progress. These include the expansion of the democratic space in the Emirati by allowing women to vote, work, hold public office and even driving. Therefore, the development of Al Jazeera can as well be aligned with the goals of enhancing progress in Qatar through the liberalizing of the media contrary to the kind of media that prevailed in the country (Maalouf, 2008).
Throughout its history, there have been a lot of controversies about how the network airs its news. Controversies in the operations of the network were common in the early years of the 21st century. What should be noted is that the controversies both come from the Arab countries as well as the Western world. Ricchiardi (2011) observes that criticisms about the style of reporting that is used by Al Jazeera began to come up from different countries in the Arab world, which criticized the network of reporting politically rather than reporting based on impartiality. The correspondents of the networked were banned from operating in Bahrain for almost two years; 2002 to 2004. The same trend was observed in Algeria in the year 2004, where the country’s regime banned the correspondents of the station from operation in the country for a short period as compared to the ban in Bahrain (Maalouf, 2008).
Throughout its existence, Al Jazeera, which is widely known by the Western World as a resemblance of Qatar and Arab power has been subjected to criticism and pressure from countries like the United States, even in several instances, the United States has come out putting pressure on the station to shut down its operations. Why such pressure has mounted on Qatar and Al Jazeera is a critical issue because Qatar is considered to be one of the crucial allies of the United States in the Arab World. Serious criticism of the Qatari government was witnessed during the Bush administration. This was a mark of the interplay of politics like reporting by Al Jazeera (Weisman, 2005). According to Hilsum (2004), the critique of the broadcast of Al Jazeera in the Arab region by the United States could be an indicator of the realization by the United States of how Qatar is using Al Jazeera to strengthen its influence in the region.
However, in their research to ascertain the claims of variations in the manner in which the news content is delivered in the Arabic Channel and the English Channel of Al Jazeera, Fahmy and Al Emad (2011) found out that there are no variations like news delivery in the two channels. Of critical essence in the findings is the ascertaining of the fact that both the English and Arabic channels of Al Jazeera do not shun from negative reporting and that they do not provide different perspectives for reporting on political developments. What comes out of this observation is that politics has been engraved in the functioning of Al Jazeera, thus the argument that Al Jazeera Arab reports negatively about the West on political developments in the Arab region like the Arab-Israel conflict is merely presumptuous. What should be noted is that Al Jazeera provides a more intense coverage of stories in the Arab world more than does the Western-based television networks; BBC and CNN. The intensive coverage of the news can be likened to the objectives of its formation and the need for the channel to be influential in the global media industry in the Arab Region and the world at large (Johnson & Fahmy, 2008).
According to Johnson & Fahmy (2008), viewers across the world exude a lot of confidence in Al Jazeera by applauding the level of credibility, in the news content that is delivered by the network. CNN and BBC were only rated high on expertise but low on credibility, a factor that puts Al Jazeera at the forefront when it comes to reporting on critical political developments across the world throughout its existence (Johnson & Fahmy, 2008). However, these findings contravene the observation made by Kessler (2012), who asserted that despite gaining support from a considerable number of politicians in the United States, the nature of reporting that is done by Al Jazeera depicts tendencies of anti-imperialism.
According to Ritz (2013), the establishment of Al Jazeera has fostered the deterioration of the relations between the United States and Qatar because the station is anti-United States. Because the station is widely watched in the United States, the United States has something to worry about the content that is aired by the station. A substantial number of commentators in the realms of political science point out that the relationship between the United States and Qatar soured in the post 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Ricchiardi (2011) observed that there were serious claims by the United States government that Al Jazeera was getting and airing videotapes from the terrorists while at the same time protecting critical information about the terrorists. This was a serious allegation because the war on terrorism was the number one priority for the security agencies of the United States.
Balogh (2013) argues that the prioritization of terrorism as one of the main security concerns resonated from the scale of damage that had been witnessed in the 9/11 attacks. Thus anyone who was seen to be supporting terrorists in any way, just as it was claimed that Al Jazeera was doing had to square it with the United States. According to a substantial number of commentators, this is the justification of a series of attacks by the United States on Al Jazeera’s transmission centers in the Arab region (Ritz, 2013; Balogh, 2013).
Ricchiardi (2011) observes that the United States was the main supporter of the network in the early years of its establishment. After the active period of the war on terror by the United States, similar trends of support of Al Jazeera by the United States re-emerged. In 2011, the then United States Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton hailed the support for Al Jazeera. “Al Jazeera has been the leader in that they are changing people’s minds and attitudes. And like it or hate it, it is effective” (Ricchiardi, 2011, para. 7). The argument by Clinton further pointed to the fact that the viewing of Al Jazeera was going up in the country due to the best modalities of relaying the news. She reiterated the commitment of the United States to offer financial support to Al Jazeera.
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Al Jazeera is both viewed from the back and white perspectives by different individuals depending on the attributes of news coverage that each dwells on. However, one outstanding thing is that the network continues to be influential in the world due to its nature of news delivery, even though it is sometimes controversial and seen as backing the Arab World and demeaning the Western world. The continued existence and thriving of the channels implies the continued influence of Qatari in global politics. Perhaps, it is important to bring out the argument that most of the outlets of the network that are located outside Qatar are still immensely controlled from the main operation center in Doha (Ricchiardi, 2011; Balogh, 2013).
In the attempt to assess the trends of the functioning of the two main Al Jazeera channels Ritz (2013) pointed out that recent development denotes the poor working relationship between the Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic. What needs to be noted here is that Al Jazeera Arabic considers itself to be the backbone of the Al Jazeera network, having been established almost ten years earlier. Al Jazeera English is highly staffed by Western journalists and had gained prominence in the western world and other countries outside the western region which uses English. In 2008, there were reports about a high rate of employee turnover in Al Jazeera English, in what was termed as unfavorable working conditions. However, this is just an extension of the differences between Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera English, where Al Jazeera Arabic has kept seeking for means of asserting its total control over Al Jazeera English (Ritz, 2013).
According to Ricchiardi (2011), a substantial number of people support the observation that Al Jazeera has been outstanding as far as the coverage and reporting on the developments in the Arab world is concerned. How Al Jazeera conducted the events in the entire turmoil that occurred in the Arab Region further aided the network to gain a better position in the international media industry, thereby triumphing on the networks that had been in the industry for a longer time like BBC and CNN. Taking a look at its inception and the objectives that informed its establishment, it is worthwhile to argue that the network is performing excellently. So far, the network has managed to put the Emirati of Qatar in the spotlight as development takes course across the world. It is alleged that Al Jazeera is still heavily financed by the Qatari Monarch, who is determined to maintain the status that has been so far earned. Each year, hundreds of millions of dollars are pumped into the operations of Al Jazeera by the Qatari Monarch (Ricchiardi, 2011).
Balogh (2013) observed that Al Jazeera remains to be the key source of information in the Middle East region. Also, as it is, the network is considered to be the main non-state actor in the region meaning that Qatar, which owns the network, remains to be a key influence of trends in the region. This resonates from the nature of the programs that are aired by Al Jazeera, most of which carry the Arabic content, which makes most people in the Middle East region to identify with the network (Balogh, 2013). This observation aligns with the observation by Nawawy and Iskandar (2003), who noted that before the establishment of Al Jazeera, the entire region did not have a station that could feed them and deliver continent within and outside the region in an impartial manner and at the same time considerate to the Arabic population.
Al Jazeera coverage in the Iraq war – 2004-2007
According to Fahmy and Al-Emad (2013), Al Jazeera brought about significant changes in the manner in which broadcasting is done in most Arab countries. This was until the 2001 war In Afghanistan, where a lot of criticisms were raised about the conduct of Al Jazeera depicted in the manner in which the channel covered the events in Afghanistan. However, it is critical to note that most the criticisms came from the Western world, with the United States being on the forefront by arguing that how the channel covered events were aimed to influence the opinion of the Arab population about the United States and other Western allies (Boser, 2010).
The Iraq war followed the American war in Afghanistan. The course of the war was largely the same because this was just an advancement of the war on terror as had been launched by the United States. Research denotes a lot of variations like reporting between Al Jazeera and the other international news networks like CNN and BBC (Al-Jenaibi, 2010). Here, the implication is that Al Jazeera focused on specific elements of coverage on the entire period of the war in Iraq. The other variation like coverage of the events in Iraq in 2004 and 2007 lies in the way different themes were carried out during the reporting (Fahmy & Al-Emad, 2013).
According to Boser (2010), the coverage in 2004 largely revolved around the presentation of factual information about the trends of the violence, where in most cases, the local rebels in the country were portrayed as victims of the United States military operation in the country. However, from a deeper look into the aspects of reporting by Al Jazeera, it is evident to say that Al Jazeera made a more comprehensive coverage as compared to the other news networks in the region. Indeed, what was critical in the war was the clash between the United States and the forces that rebelled against the Unit States military invasion in Iraq, the coordination of the humanitarian efforts in the country according to Qatar was only a secondary role of the media houses that we’re reporting on the events in Iraq (Fahmy & Al-Emad, 2013; Al-Jenaibi, 2010).
According to Fahmy and Al-Emad (2013), 2007 marked the expansion of the debate on whether the United States was to remove its forces from Iraq or not. The debate was quite volatile; with most people pointing out that the mission was a flop since the United States had not succeeded in affirming their argument that the Iraq regime under the then president, Saddam Hussein, was developing weapons of mass murder. At this point, the coverage was also critical in that it sought to compare the goals of the attacks and the results that had been attained out of the military mission in the country. The results of the study by Fahmy and Al-Emad (2013) concerning the presentation of themes in the war shows that there was more emphasis on the violence that was unleashed to the civilians by the Iraq rebels, followed by the theme on the political engagement of Iraq. However, an observation of the developments in 2004 shows that there were more frames by Al Jazeera about the US/Coalition violence against the civilians in the country (Al-Jenaibi, 2010).
Al Jazeera and the Arab Uprising
Kessler (2012) raises concerns about the influence of Al Jazeera in the Arab region and especially the role it played amidst the uprising in the Arab region, mostly known as the Arab Spring Uprisings. Here, what needs to be explored is the nature of developments that transformed into the position and influence that the country has in Middle East politics as well as global politics. This can be easily attained by digging into the political organization of the Middle East Region before the period of political change in Qatar and the changes that took place thereafter (Al-Jenaibi, 2010).
Hroub (2013) observed the critical developments that marked the establishment of Qatar as a nation that could influence events in the Arab region, one of them being the establishment. Before the political changes in Qatar, which were marked by the ousting of the country’s regime through a bloodless coup, the country was considered as part of the nations that formed the Saudi axis. The political order and organization in the Arab region were based on political integration, in that weaker nation-states in a given region were attached to a given strong Arab state in the region. Thus, the disentanglement of Qatar from Saudi Arabia was a big political statement. It marked the transformation of the country from a small negligible peninsula into a strong and influential power in actors in the politics of the Arab region. However, the country still experienced a considerable amount of opposition from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which were considered to the most influential countries in the politics of the region at that time. The position taken by Hamad bin Khalifa has been critical in driving the political force of the country in the region up to contemporary times (Hroub, 2013).
According to Aday, Livingston, and Hebert (2005), the efforts that have been made by Al Jazeera and its establishment as a formidable media outlet in the region is a milestone for Qatar and acts as the key factor as far as the political position of the country in the Arab world and the entire world is concerned. The impact of Al Jazeera was vital for the establishment of the assertive foreign policy by Qatar. Most of the strategic accomplishments of the country when it is placed in the international context are accomplished by the influence of Al Jazeera as the main international media outlet that thrives in the Arab region (Al-Jenaibi, 2010; Aday, Livingston & Hebert, 2005).
The scale of coverage of the uprising in the Arab world by Al Jazeera depicted the level of preparedness and the capacity of the network to traverse the Arab world. However, the coverage of the political events in the Arab works during the Arab Spring uprising by Al Jazeera depicted some tendencies of influence and support of certain trends as a way of ensuring that Qatar continues to make a mark in the politics of the region (Hroub, 2013). According to Steinberg (2012), Al Jazeera has been one of the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups in the region by making extensive coverage of their activities in the region. Steinberg argues that the objective of such coverage is to ensure that the fundamentals of Islam and incorporated in the practice of governance in the region as well as the identification of the network as being the supporter of the affairs of the region.
It is vital to begin by noting that the uprising gin the Arab region was historical and phenomenal to the present and the future of the region in global politics. According to Rinnawi (2012), Al Jazeera played a vital role as far as the coverage of the events during the Egyptian revolution is concerned. Similar to the coverage of events during the Afghan war and the Iraq war, Al Jazeera was instrumental in the coverage of the pre-revolutionary, revolutionary and post-revolutionary events in Egypt. The coverage of events the Al Jazeera style in Egypt depicts an intense involvement of the television network in the transformations that are taking place in Egypt and by effect depicting the influence of the mother country of the multinational Television network in Egypt as a country and the Arab region at large. However, according to Abdelhay (2012) and Haris (2013), the new media also has a big influence on the determination of the course of events in the uprising in the Arab Spring. However, this influence cannot be compared to the political discourse denoted by the nature of reporting by Al Jazeera.
Historically, there have been a lot of issues concerning the relations between Egypt, which is considered as the largest state in the Arab region and Qatar. Thus the turnaround of events in Egypt as marked by the revolution was either seen as a chance for Qatar to re-assert its influence over Egypt or a chance for reconciliation between the two states (Zeitouni, n.d.). The depth and quality of coverage was a key strategy that was used by Al Jazeera to position its coverage in Egypt during the Egyptian uprising. Both the Arabic and the English channels establish deep roots in the country, a factor that aided them to have coverage that was far much intense in both the Arab world and the Western world. This happened throughout the revolution, thereby painting an image of control and influence. According to Khatib (2013), Qatar has made use of Al Jazeera to amass public support for several political groups in the country like the Muslim brotherhood. Besides the garnering of public support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the country also offered financial support to the group in what has been seen to be a shift of events after the revolution.
According to Khatib (2013), Qatar is a peninsula that is located in the East of Arabia. The country borders Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf and is deemed to be located near major petroleum deposits in the region. The country’s size is relatively small, approximated to be 11, 437 square kilometers. The country has a flat terrain though it is dry. The implication is that the country is dependent on oil for the sustenance of its economy.
The system of governance that is exercised in the country is largely considered to be autocratic, where the country has a monarch. However, the political regime in the country has managed to pacify a lot of attributes of autocracy through the embrace of a system of governance that fosters participation by all people in most aspects of development. In recent times, the country has had strained relations with her neighbors, which means that she does not have the best pattern of relations with most of the neighboring countries. However, relations are not much strained. The political regime in the country has been active in terms of promoting development and integrating the country into the global economy. Through the course of political change in the country was patterned by attributed to public diplomacy, which has helped to put the country on the global map as one of the key powers in the Arab region, overpowering several countries in the region like Saudi Arabia (Khatib, 2013).
Khatib (2013) observes that Qatar is largely an Islamic country, meaning that most of its population is comprised of Arab Muslims. The widely recognized and embraced religion in the country is Islam. With a relatively small population, and owing to the pace of economic development, the country has positioned itself an economic destiny for a substantial number of people, especially from the developing world. Therefore, a resounding number of people in the country who add up to the total population in the country is immigrants who have secured jobs in the country. The nature of liberalism that is witnessed in highly applauded since it depicts a different approach to the critical aspects of society, unlike its neighbors, whom the country shares the same form of Islam; the Wahhabi branch of Islam (Khatib, 2013).
According to Eakin (2011), the influence of Qatar in several Arab countries is intense. In one instance, the Flag of Qatar was seen flying in the president’s compound in Libya, during the uprising in the country. In a real sense, the presence of the flag of Qatar in the country is something that denotes the nature of the political influence that Qatar had on the country. These developments are indicators of the fact that Qatar uses a lot of attributes of soft power to assert its influence over other Arab countries in the world. A look at how Qatar has managed to accumulate its power and influence in the entire Middle East region indicates the exercise of organic hegemony, where the country uses the media; in this case, Al Jazeera to gain access to the political details of these countries and influence the public political course in the countries.
According to Sharkey (2003), media in the Arab world has been vital in the transformation in the Arab world. This observation is vindicated in the aspects of reporting throughout the uprising in the Arab world and the role that has been played by the international media in influencing the public course throughout the uprising. For instance, a lot of focus and attention on the Iraq war was paid to the Arab networks and the Arab commentators who were covering the story. Here, it is critical to reiterate the role influence of Al Jazeera, keeping in mind that Al Jazeera was the only established Arab broadcasting television network hat well established in the Arab region. The level of dominance in the media by Western multinationals like CNN and BBC was largely flouted by the emergence of Al Jazeera, which resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of influence of these networks in the Arab world (Khatib, 2013; Sharkey, 2003).
The perspectives of dominance and control of the Arab region by Qatar using the media and other attributes like the molding of a strong local economy can be likened to the advancement of soft power as a means of gaining influence in global politics by the country. Indeed, most countries in the contemporary political economy are moving away from the attributes of hard power, which is often attained by the use of coercion, and are now focusing on the development of soft tool power. Soft power is often exhibited by the ability of a given state to develop economic tools that are used to exert influence over other nations in the world. An example of forms of soft power in the later years of the 20th century as advanced by the western countries was the establishment of business organizations that operated across the globe (Hayden, 2012).
According to Hayden (2012), multinationals had greater power to influence the political course in the destinations in which they carried out their operations. They acted on a non-state capacity but had a lot of influence in the political course in the region in which they were located because of the role that they played in development. In the same way, Qatar has managed to increase its influence in international relations by using the media as a key soft tool. In contemporary society, information is vital in determining the course of events in society. The rationale behind this observation is that we are living in the information age where a person who has the power to control information in any instance is seen as having the power to control lives. Therefore, the intense control of information by Al Jazeera, gives Qatar the power to influence the course of events in the world, thus making it a powerful state in the Arab region and the world at large.
According to Duncombe (n.d.), the ability of a country to attain an influential position in international relations largely depends on the strategies that are used by the country to counter the strong forces of other countries in the world. Therefore, as an emerging power in the Middle East region, Qatar implemented several soft strategies, one of them being the development of Al Jazeera as one of the leading multinationals in the media industry across the globe. While there are no direct pointers that Al Jazeera is the mouthpiece of Qatar, a substantial number of commentators agree with the argument that Al Jazeera is indeed one of the tools that are used to depict the presence of Qatar all over the world. An example that has been given by a lot of analysts in international relations, which points to the fact that Al Jazeera is a tool that enhances soft power for Qatar, is the seeming support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt by Al Jazeera (Fisher, 2013). Another dimension to the argument about Al Jazeera as Qatar’s tool for soft power in the Middle East region is the establishment of the English broadcasting service, which is seen as a pacifier of the attributes of power depicted by the Al Jazeera Arabic.
Fisher (2013) further argues that the primary identity of Al Jazeera lies on the Arabic channel. Furthermore, the launch of Al Jazeera English, which airs its contents in the English speaking countries in the west is still influential in terms of the size of the audience, implying that it still has a significant influence that almost matches the level of influence that is exhibited by the coverage of the Al Jazeera Arabic in the Middle East region. Rubin (2010) reiterates the role of Al Jazeera in the buildup of the diplomatic position of Qatar in the politics of the Middle East. One of the examples that are given by analysts is the neutralization of most state media in Arab countries. Most people in the Arab region rely on Al Jazeera when it comes to the coverage of news across the region and the entire world. Thus, state media in most Middle East countries are only but considered to be secondary when it comes to the delivery of news, with the citizens often preferring to view Al Jazeera for the comprehensive coverage of news. The scope of media in Qatar, with Al Jazeera as the main foundation, is ecstatic and depicts the ability of the nation to control the flow of information across the world (Rubin, 2010). Perhaps it is critical to refer to the sentiments that were made once by the former United States Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton, who praised Al Jazeera for its competitiveness in the global media industry, marked by its ability to control the flow of information (Ricchiardi, 2011).
As of today, Qatar is one of the leading countries in the region in terms of the advancement of Diplomatic initiatives is concerned. A combination of the presence of influential media and the ability of the country to mold its economy are two factors that highly support the influence of the country in the politics of the Arab region. Qatar has been the kingpin of peace initiatives in the region by being the host of most of the peace negotiations in the region. All these are linked to soft power and continue to bring out Qatar as a key diplomatic force in the region, besides being one of the most influential countries when it comes to political affairs in the entire Arab region (Rubin, 2010).
According to Rubin (2010), the other important thing is that the use of soft power by Qatar is a factor that makes the country more powerful by enabling it to foster positive relations with most of the countries in the Arab region. The coverage of the political relations in the region by Al Jazeera is used as a framework by Qatar when it comes to the pursuance of foreign relations with other countries in the region (Rubin, 2010). Therefore, denying the influence of Al Jazeera and its role as a soft power tool for Qatar is like denying the existence of Qatar as a country (Zeitouni, n.d.). However, there are variations in the manner in which countries use different forms of power to establish control and influence. In what Bernays (1928) term as propaganda, controlling the communicative aspects in the society can easily lead one to use these aspects to advance their interests. According to Hayden (2012), Al Jazeera and its influential coverage of news depict the control of the communicative infrastructure, which implies the ability of the country that controls the station to alter the course of events in the region that is covered by the channel.
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