Among the GCC countries, the UAE is the pioneer to safeguard the national interest with forward looking strategy to preserving natural resources for the future generation; their ancestors dealt with great wisdom and invested their early efforts and resources for reorganizing the nation in order to make benefited the Emirati citizens to sharing the fruits of the joint progress.
We will write a custom Research Paper on Television in Emirati Culture specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The ambitious and responsible ancestors of the Emiratis possibly would effectively shape the future vigorously appealing towards the growing socioeconomic changes, representing their well-built families and communities lean towards moderate Islamic values along with deep-rooted heritage of Islamic radicalism where Emiratis are confident citizens who aimed to establish dignity of their nation by implementing moral values for the better achievement.
The challenge of establishing a contemporary and progressive nation in the Middle East region with the aim to sharing the fruits of the common development of Emirati people from their cultural perspectives to their professional, business and social life that prolonged from the long heritage of Arab nations in this zone.
George (2012) stated that television network of Egypt, KSA, and the UAE are strongly interlinked with each other in such way that any dish or cable business would be failed in this region if they do not integrate the three cultural combinations in their network; however, market for TV advertisement in these countries are around US$1.9 billion per year.
Different pay channels mentioned that in the UAE 10 % of their families are connected with pay channels where 58 channels like Viacom, Fox, and Sony along with Sky News are available with four hundred channels, which generate huge revenue from this sector; however, the television has influential impact on the local culture and behavioural change of the citizens.
The UAE is the gateway of the Far East and western hemisphere throw a dynamic maritime linkage in ambition to welcome people all over the world to enjoy the cultural heritage of this region along with materialization, socioeconomic progress and prosperity of the country with an amalgamation of local and expatriate culture (ECC, 2012, p.5).
The most important question is what exactly belongs to the local culture; whether the local people uphold their old Arab culture with religion radicalism and blindness or they are able to handshake with modern western culture, do the government persistence with democratic culture, do the society provide equal treatment to the women.
The ancient Arab culture was much uncivilized, rude towards female, apart from human values, now, almost 90 % population of the country is expatiate from the emerging Asian countries where they are most moderate free from religious radicalism concerned with their job performance rather than cultural issues.
To identifying the local culture, it should look to the anthropological heritage of the UAE that has already recognized and honoured by all nations of the world for its glorious cultural heritage along with the way of restructuring concurrent culture with amalgamation with the foreign culture where television plays a dominating role in this cultural struggles.
It is important to state that the culture of the UAE society is quite different from the rest of the world because of its excessive conservativeness; as a result, the impact of TV in its culture is quite severe than other nations.
Consequently, in order to find out the effect of TV over the Emirati viewers, it is essential to focus on the culture and diversity of the UAE in this part of the paper.
Bard (2005, p.2) pointed out that the misrepresentation has prolonged in the Arab world that they have gained enough progress in terms of awarding and well protecting basic human rights and women’s rights, but the reality is totally different, as women are treated as ‘instruments for enjoyment’; however, the mentality of the UAE viewers are changing because of various TV-networks.
Gender discrimination, unequal property rights, freedom of speech or freedom of choice are prohibited for Arab women; they are treated as exclusive property of their husbands (which is mostly deep-rooted patriarchy that their ancestors inherited from old cultures); however, such views are changing slowly due to cable networks.
It’s a long myth that democracy and human rights situation in UAE has progressed enough in relation to other Arab countries, but reality is quite different and real scenario of democracy is very devastating, as people have no power to make any change in the state power – the source of real power is conserved to the sultans rather than parliament.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
However, in some cases, free cable networks on TVs and other media like internet can pose problems to the government.
Even the present UAE rulers in November 2012 proclaimed a new degree on the title “Cyber Crime Protection Act”, which reflected the intolerance and of the government by criminalizing the way of non-violent democratic movement organized by using the internet, where the government urged to identify the political actors of the democratic movement as miscreant or “unlicensed demonstrations”.
This is a new culture of the UAE rulers to victimize the political actors as well as mass people; however, such political cultures are possibly found under the undemocratic and autocratic dictatorship, where human rights and democracy are under threat.
On the other hand, the prevailing idea about the UAE labour law was that it is ensuring the ‘model of best practice’ through compliance with the EPP terms, but in reality, it is violating this, as the contractors are getting financial incentives rather than any sanction for the law violation; this culture has indicated the inefficacy of UAE legal system.
Sabban (2005) presented the most devastating data regarding the workforce of the country that demonstrated that the workforce of the realm is providing a stable economic growth that consist of 80.43 % expatriate men, 10.48 % expatriate women, 7.90 % national men and 1.18% national women; where the contribution of expatriate workers are 90.90% and 9.1% by the local workers.
The largest economic actors of 90.90% in the UAE are seriously suppressed from different socioeconomic and cultural operation that immediately requires socialization to balance the demography from the dangerous impact of the socio-political violence, where the television could play a pioneering role to socializing the expatriates; so, this study has aimed to identifying the role of television in this concern.
The Goals of the Study
The society of this country consists with an imbalanced population in ratio of local and overseas population where about 91.0% workers are expatriates and almost 9% employees are local; however, the large part is under suppression due to their foreign identity, although it is quite impossible for the employers to move the wheel of economy without the contribution of expatriates.
The 90% of the population is from different ethic group and cannot interact in local language, the employers and employees both have not any fluency level in the English; however, it is difficult for them to understand the local culture due to lack of interaction though local television channels have a potential role to remove language problem of the expatriates.
The local TV as a mass media has a wider scope to amalgamate the large number of expatriates into the mainstream of demography; in addition, by doing so, the television channels could improve the relationship between the two cooperating class into a single platform of common interest where they do not think one another as enemy.
Consequently, Sabban (2005) and Stork (2012, p.1) stated that the local and foreign employees could exchange their feelings and emotions to each other that would develop a friendly atmosphere for socializing the expatriates that would ultimately reduce the brutal behaviour to the foreign workers in UAE, remove discrimination and improve economic contribution by the expatriates.
At the same time, Sabban (2005) and Stork (2012, p.1) further addressed that the positive impact of television in the Emirati culture could explore the national economy and a stable population growth by socializing into the mainstream demography.
The Study Inquiries
The socialization process in the UAE society is very difficult due to its immigration law like citizenship of this country may not automatically provide to any foreigner with less efforts; during the time of the federalization, it was decided that the citizenship would be awarded to a person who is able to demonstrate affiliation with any of the local tribes.
Mutual relationship may not have any influence on the citizenship or connection with local native families and even Sheikhs, could assist to granting citizenship that has categorised into three types such as full citizen, legal citizen, and citizen by family relationship or naturalization, the holder of any of the first two types of citizens could apply for full citizenship.
However, El-Baltaji (2009, p.1) further addressed that the citizenship is not a vital problem to live in the UAE, any person could live and spend a long-time without having citizenship otherwise any ruling of Sheikh while the UAE citizenship are automatically awarded to the child whose father possesses full citizenship.
On the other hand, El-Baltaji (2009, p.1) explored that women expatriates would not get citizenship for children for their children though they become part of the UAE culture; at the same time, media also have both positive and negative impact on them.
The most horrible law that they would not allow to have any dual citizenship; candidates have to surrender his/her previous citizenship before applying for the UAE, the nationalization law of UAE has formed further dilemmas and controversies in the society that previously stabilized with fair share of dichotomy as well as conflict that ultimately generate new area of conflict.
Continuous rising of female domestic workers imported from overseas countries for the amusement and luxury of the ruling families have generated further complexity with the culture as no employment law could prevent the citizenship of such domestic workers; moreover, male industrial worker faces a lots of problem to gaining citizenship; this also creates cultural problem in the UAE. Due to lack of fair immigration policy and well-designed socialization process, the society of UAE has been automatically balancing abnormal and complex composition of population, for a balanced and future looking nest generation, it is obvious for the UAE policy makers to introduce a quick and easy socialisation process by which the expatriates would get citizenship easily.
The Importance of the Study
The impact of television in the Emirati Culture is a very significant study with the background to the Arab spring and its consequential impact that would prolong to the society for a long time.
Television as a source of mass media communication in the UAE, it has a long impact on continuous and growing integration of major political and democratic institutions where culture influences the people’s live with the charismatic dominance on media and this is the response to the classical inquiry how media have an effect on society and culture of the UAE.
Standing on the reality of Arab Spring that has contributed a completely new social and political condition that would aggressively restructure the culture and society, the UAE has just evidenced without any previous experience or theoretical analysis; conventionally, the mass media has considered a separate entry isolated from the society and culture that prolonged in the concurrent UAE society.
The contemporary society of the UAE has verified the media with not just an array of purely technologies that establish linkage between the active parties who are considered as fit for further force on the social factors, but it can reengineered for the greater change of the culture in the extent by reshaping mass media like television and even internet.
The message and appeal presented by mass media has threaten the ruling class of the UAE that was ringing the bell of falling autocracy, and religion radicalism; in the name of Islamic law, there is no chance to deprive the people from democracy or impose extreme burden of Islamic cultural in order to save ruling families from the democratic movement.
On the other hand, for the continuous development of the television media would largely increase conscious people; consequently, the inherited family based dictators in this region were able to hearing the death sentence of Islamic monarchy who does not dare to put into practice of democracy, human and equal rights for women.
At the same time, general people are seriously influenced by the news and other related programs though present ruling system is forcing to destroy the people’s unity who eager for democracy by misleading the cultural, political, and social institutions with the ill intention to rescue the Arab monarchies from the influence of mass media.
El-Baltaji (2009, p.1) explored the real scenario of the UAE mass media with assumption that government of the UAE were planning to introduce draft media law 2009 to replace the old Press and Publications Law 1980, which designed to establish control over the mass media and communication by integrating sixteen punishable offence for criticizing the royal family and the religion.
During the proclamation of new media law 2009, the government created panic among the media workers by conducting fear campaign for journalists by imposing different punishment and harassment through the law enforcement agencies; at the same time, the government propagated that the mass media of the UAE has been enjoying substantial freedom in the country.
This research has aimed to investigate the impact of mass media on the culture of UAE, with a homogeneous assumption that the government is cooperating with the mass media communication in order to assess the impact of television on the development of Emirati Culture.
The Theoretical Framework
Understanding and Assessing Mass Communication Theory
Baran and Davis (2010, p.30) stated that some traditional, formal, and systematic social scientific theories have used to maintain the relationship between media and the citizens, which are known as theories of mass communication; in addition, these theories are imperative in order to discuss human behaviour and other related issues.
At the same time, Baran and Davis (2010, p.31) argued that these theories are developing over time constructing even more practical and influential hypothetical perspectives by including diverse and occasionally contradictory thoughts related with history, philosophy, humanities, social sciences, psychology and so on.
However, Baran and Davis (2010, p.31) and Bryant and Miron (2004) stated that there are appropriate theoretical framework has been developed yet to materialize the issues; therefore, many scholars analyzed the factors such as aggregate media systems with their function in society considering unscientific methods.
At the same time, the researchers have concentrated on the subjective viewpoints to analyze the theories of mass communication in context of UAE television that exemplify enduring or inventive conceptualizations; in addition, they further stated that these theories will give the opportunity to predict what will happen.
Baran and Davis (2010, p.35) argued that four contemporary theories, such as, post positivist theory, hermeneutic theory, critical theory and normative theory are playing vital role to shape the society and change human behaviour’ however, Obe, Ayedun and Ofulue (2008, p.54) pointed out other theories including mass society theories, social scientific approach, media violence, common sense theories, and so on.
Baran and Davis (2010, p.38) stated that this theory based on physical sciences and empirical observation considering the fact that positivist only believe on the scientific method; on the other hand, the researchers are also dedicated to focus on such observational system under this theory. However, key features of this theory are –
|1||Objectives||The main objective of this theory are justification, prediction, and control (to link between social science and the physical sciences), for instance, from operation of political advertising, the researchers predict commercial factors and control the voting behaviour of the UAE television viewers|
|2||Ontology||Human behaviour is satisfactorily predictable to be studied scientifically though social world may have more variation|
|3||Epistemology of this theory||Knowledge can enhance by systematic, and logical method|
|4||Post positivism’s axiology||the implementation of the scientific technique remains theorists’ values out of the search for understanding|
Table 1: Characteristics of Post-positivist Theory
Source: Self generated from Baran and Davis (2010, p.38)
According to the Baran and Davis (2010, p.39), this theory is based on the study of understanding particularly from side to side methodical interpretation of actions along with manuscript; in addition, the objective of this theory is to provide the answers to the questions like how and why that behaviour occurs in the society.
At the same time, Baran and Davis (2010, p.40) stated that this theory has developed from the era when people started to interpret Bible and analyze how it reshapes early Christian culture; however, different forms of hermeneutic theory exists to understand interpret social situation to create value for the people.
On the other hand, Baran and Davis (2010, p.40) argued that the name of hermeneutic theory can replace as interpretive theory because it interprets any product of social interaction while people react in accordance with their own preferences and prejudices.
Moreover, Baran and Davis (2010, p.40) and Obe et al. (2008, p.37) stated that theory’s epistemology based on the subjective communication between the observers and their communities; in addition, the axiology of this theory encompasses personal and professional values of UAE television viewers.
Meyrowitz (2008, p. 641) and Baran and Davis (2010, p.38) stated that this theory is completely different from former theories because it based only on the political phenomenon because politics could change social and human behaviour.
On the other hand, Baran and Davis (2010, p.38) further addressed that this theory challenges existing behaviour of organizing the social world because they can provide priority to the most significant individual values; thus, this theory based on inequality and oppression. However, key features of this theory are –
|2||Ontology||It is a bit more complex|
|3||Epistemology of this theory||Knowledge is sophisticated merely when it serves to free individuals and communities from the control of those more influential than themselves|
|4||Axiology||Due to openly political system, its axiology is aggressively value-laden|
|5||Role of media||Media is a crucial tool employed by corporate elites in order to restrain how individuals view their communal world and to border their organization in it|
|6||Strengths||Used to plan change in the real world|
|7||Weaknesses||It is too political and based on subjective observation, which also uses controversial research methods|
Table 2: Characteristics of critical theory
Source: Self generated from Baran and Davis (2010, p.40)
Normative Theories of Mass Communication
Baran and Davis (2010, p.100), Ostini and Fung (2002), and Obe et al. (2008, p.55) stated that normative theories included many theories such as authoritarian media theory, libertarian media theory, soviet-communist media theory; however, these theories does not provide any scientific explanations, but describe some ideal values, which assist to explicate the ways in which mass media should be rebuilt.
Authoritarian Media Theory
Obe et al. (2008, p.54) stated that it is on one the oldest of the press theories that positioned all kinds of communication under the power of a governing elites where institutions rationalised their control as a means to defend and guard a divinely preordained social order; furthermore, it began in 16th century and derived from State’s philosophy of absolutism.
Baran and Davis (2010, p.40) and Obe et al, (2008, p.54) stated that it supports the total domination of media to sever the purpose of the administrations instead of criticising the governments; at the same time, the media were not allowed to print and broadcast anything which might undermine the credibility of the administrations; otherwise, they were subjected to punishment.
However, Baran and Davis (2010, p.102) and Obe et al. (2008, p.54) stated that the basic supposition of this theory is that the administration is reliable for which media professionals were inadmissible to enjoy any independence; in addition, foreign medias had also controlled by the government; unfortunately, this theory is still practiced by the government of some countries.
On the other hand, Obe et al. (2008, p.55) and Baran and Davis (2010, p.102) argued that under the practice of this theory, the administration also imposed high taxes, passed oppressive laws, suppressed the media professionals and controlled over content of the news.
However, McQuail (1994) stated that media professionals have punished for violating royal charters; however, immunity is possible in some extent for the case of publicize minority perspective and culture, which not create any hindrance to control society as their wish; therefore, this theory does not emphasis on the development of a homogeneous national culture among the UAE television viewers.
Libertarian Media Theory
Baran and Davis (2010, p.103) stated that this hypothesis can be traced back to 16th century, which developed in opposition to authoritarian theory; at the same time, Obe et al. (2008, p.55) argued that some social movements such as Protestant Reformation enhanced the concept of freedom of express and thoughts, which would allow them to hold and express opinions independently.
At the same time, Baran and Davis (2010, p.103), Ostini and Fung (2002), Obe et al. (2008, p.55) stated that libertarian theory is considered the perfect model while the main goal of it is to advance the interests of the people; therefore, it gives the opportunity to the people to publish whatever they like in some extent.
Baran and Davis (2010, p.104) stated that this theory has removed the arbitrary and erratic practice of the authoritarian model and Obe et al. (2008, p.55) further expressed that this model had not supported complete independence to express themselves regarding rule of law, but it has full protection to media professionals to draw a broader line between good and bad.
On the other hand, Ostini and Fung (2002) and McQuail (1994) addressed that most of the developed countries have followed this theory in order to shape the society more dramatic ways; in contrast, Baran and Davis (2010) stated that journalists and media professionals are not getting such immunities and facilities where the control rested in the hands of a king.
Figure 1: Strengths and weaknesses of Libertarian Media Theory
Source: Baran and Davis (2010, p.120)
Soviet-Communist Media Theory
Obe et al. (2008) stated that this theory has introduced during the time of Russian Revolution in 1997 when Marx and Engels had struggled to serve the interests of the working class; however, it supported complete domination of media to promote the socialist system; the prime factors of this theory are –
|1||Objectives||The main objective of this theory was to maintain the sovereignty of the proletariat|
|2||Ontology||Used the media to carry on progress and transform towards the accomplishment of the communist period|
|3||Good intention||The media was subject to direct state control to help communist party; here, it is important to mention that the Soviet press had removed the profit motive under this model|
|4||Social Responsibility||Used media as an arm of government to protect political conflicts strictly|
Table 3: Characteristics of Soviet-communist Theory
Source: Self generated Obe et al. (2008)
Social Responsibility Media Theory
Baran and Davis (2010, p.121) stated that this model used to serve the political system as well as protect the rights of the individuals, serve financial interest of the community and preserve financial independence; however, the following figure shows the strengths and weaknesses of this theory –
Figure 2: Strengths and weaknesses of Social Responsibility Media Theory
Source: Baran and Davis (2010, p.120)
Some Other Theories
Table 4: Characteristics of the theories
Source: Self generated Obe et al. (2008)
The Focus on Media Effects
Baran and Davis (2010, p.121) argued that the researcher have concentrated on the effects of media on the society and culture from the 1950s to the 1990s; they also focused on how media like television influence the buyer to purchase their products; however, the next figure demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of Attitude-Change theory –
Figure 3: Strengths and weaknesses of Attitude-Change Theory
Source: Baran and Davis (2010, p.156)
Figure 4: Strengths and weaknesses of Entertainment Theory
Source: Baran and Davis (2010, p.270)
Conceptual Framework on the Effect of Television
Baran and Davis (2010) noted that several academicians have engaged cultivation-analysis to scrutinize the influence of TV related concerns away from sadism and offence; this could examine of public awareness of wealth, separation, employed female, approval of gender typecasts, avarice, principles, psychological well-being, and political involvement among the UAE television viewers.
The scale of persuasion that is left in each of the sectors is debatable; however, there are certain other segments included in this concern, which, for example include belief of estrangement, ecological unease, employment, insights of wellbeing, and nuptial viewpoints; nevertheless, suppositions of cultivation are encouraged throughout, while the potency of results and the feature of the study diverge significantly.
Baran and Davis (2010) has clearly pointed out a number of factors, which could be regarded as the effects that television has on societies; these factors include the idea that TV smudges conventional features of public outlook of their planet, it merges their authenticity to TV’s cultural-mainstream, and curves that mainstream to the organizational interests of telly or its promoters.
The appraisal of the approach in which telly controls the societal world is evocative of the opinion regarding accepted cultures; in addition, what has been an opulently varied handcrafted procedure has become a composite industrialized and mass allotment endeavour; however, this has eliminated much of the provincialism and parochialism, over and above some of the exclusiveness of the pre-television epoch.
It is important to note that Obe et al. (2008) pointed out that this factor has enhanced close-minded cultural perspectives; on the other hand; this also gave more and more substantial industrialized corporations and the spot to bring to mind a large amount of what people feel on the subject of being familiar with terms and execution in general.
According to Bryant and Miron (2004), certain authors do not think this as a predominantly reasonable trade-off, and so, they placed cultivation-analysis in the territory of critical presumption; but others regarded cultivation as every now and then taken as a return of a strapping upshot outlook of mass media, though, interestingly, such outlook is not from top to bottom incorrect,
Nevertheless, it fails to notice the line of reasoning that such theory was in the beginning envisaged as a critical theory – that, in fact, concentrated over mass-media concerns in particular – merely as the mass-media (principally TV) give out the narrative convenience; moreover, TVs are leading means for dealing out communication from ethnic, communal, or financially viable influential classes,
On the other hand, Baran and Davis (2010) also noted that the foremost contentious fundamentals regarding this presumption is the centre of attention on serious viewers of TV, who do not have regard to any precise shows on telly; moreover, Obe et al. (2008) noted that cultivation is more than merely an investigation of effects from an explicit medium.
According to the authors, cultivation is rather an examination of the foundation of TV along with the societal role it plays; however, cultivation, reviewers asserted, has mistreated the requirement to recognize grave customers of precise kinds of programs; on the other hand, Obe et al. (2008) has stated that cultivation’s theoretical portion of disclosure to TV is excessively comprehensive.
Television Media of UAE
Television media of the country is a highly prospective sector in terms of profitability and sustainable growth; according to Media Abu Dhabi, local TV-Network has proclaimed an extraordinary increase of 122 percent in subscription sales in 2010 to 2011 period; moreover, it is notable that in 2012, hundreds of thousands families across the area enjoyed Abu Dhabi-Sport’s wide coverage.
Media as Culture Industries: The Commodification of Culture
The commodification of culture is an inspection of what happens when culture is mass-produced and distributed in direct competition with locally-based cultures; it suggests that media are industries focusing in the manufacture and allocation of cultural commodities; these grew at the cost of small-local-producers and the price of this was the continuous disruption of public lives (Baran and Davis 2010).
The condition of a highly conservative, Muslim, and radical society of the United Arab Emirates is no different from this – as a result, Emirati viewer behaviours after exposure to television programs can be explained by continuous disruption of public lives and distraction of conservative cultures of UAE.
There are very few studies with the contribution of mass media United Arab Emirates where most of that researches are centered to scrutinize the theories of media, overriding effects of media along with the significant cultural theories those are applied to observe the influential factors of media and society linking with the concurrent socioeconomic and cultural scenario of UAE.
Al-Jenaibi (2011, p.1) mentioned that the mass media along with the surrounding Arab societies and the exploring news media studies indicated the character of mass media within the Arab society integrating with the modern technologies that have been shifting dynamics of the Arab public domain aimed to improving freedom of press, freedom of speech aimed to encourage a democratic society apart from the prevailed culture of Arab monarchy.
For the last few decades, large numbers of mass communication theories have been put into practice in the social perspectives of UAE, but there is no effectual studies in the UAE regarding effectiveness and power of mass media to restructuring the society and public domain, the previous studies have engaged to demonstrate effectiveness of mass media on few social factors.
However, before the Arab Spring, there were no brave research that could predict the power and influence of mass media and dare to demonstrate the impact of mass media to promoting democracy, human rights and to develop democratic culture for social institutions.
Al-Jenaibi, B. (2011). News Media in Arab Societies. Web.
Baran, S. J. & Davis, D. (2010). Mass Communication Theory: Foundation, Ferment and Future. Web.
Bard, M. G. (2005). Myths & Facts Online: Human Rights in Arab Countries. Web.
Bryant, J. & Miron, D. (2004). Theory and Research in Mass Communication. Journal of Communication, 54(4). Web.
ECC. (2012). Policy in Action: Dubai Trade—Building Competitive Advantage Through Collaboration. Web.
El-Baltaji, D. (2009). Emirates Press Law. Web.
George, S. (2012). United Arab Emirates Gets First TV Ratings System. Web.
Human Rights Watch. (2012). UAE: Report Highlights Need for Worker Protections. Web.
McQuail, D. (1994). Mass communication theory: An introduction. London: Sage.
Obe, J. Ayedun, V. & Ofulue, C. L. (2008) Introduction to Mass Communication. Web.
Ostini, J. & Fung, A. H. (2002). Beyond the Four Theories of the Press: A New Model of National Media Systems. Mass Communication & Society, 5(1), 41–56.
Sabban, R. (2005). Migrant Women In The United Arab Emirates: The case of female domestic workers. Web.
Stork, J. (2012). UAE No Model of Progress. Web.