I don't always agree with Fatima Mernissi, but she does have the most fantastically bizarre and yet wondefully commensensical ideas.
In 'The Satellite, The Prince and Sheherazade', she explores "the empowerment dynamics of satellite broadcasting" and "Arab audiences' fascination with strong female hosts and war reporters". These women, who have become household names across the Arab world, fit the "Sheherazade profile, the brainy, self-confident storyteller":
Promoting strong female stars has proven to be a fantastic asset for the Saudis' most threatening TV rival. Al Jazeera is winning crowds every night through the eloquence of its news anchors, Jumana Nammour and Kaduja Bin Guna, and economics expert Farah al-Baraqaui. While state televisions and oil-funded channels traditionally limited their staff by censoring them and denying them the right to decide freely about their program content and what guests to invite, Al Jazeera'ssuccess is due precisely to the freedom its programmers and speakers enjoy, which allows them to become credible communicators. "
Channels that want to be viable are required to rely much more heavily on high-impact 'brands' and product lines. Al Jazeera demonstrated the worth of such assets when it developed a range of programs whose titles and presenters have become household names inside and outside the Arab world," explains Naomi Sakhr, the author of Satellite Realms: Transnational Television, Globalization and the Middle East.
The most famous reporters in the Middle East today are probably the Palestine-based Al Jazeera reporters, Shirin Abu 'Aqla and Jivara al-Badri, who are admired for their courage and professionalism. "History will remember that day when there was no one to speak up in the entire Arab nation, from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf, but women such as Shirin Abu 'Aqla and Jivara al Badri and Leila Aouda," comments Ali Aziz, the columnist of the avant-garde Egyptian magazine 'Critiques' (An-Nuqqad), "while male leaders and gallon-wearing generals have disappeared from our sight and hearing."
Fairuz's ya sharazade
Katia Nasser discussing her experience as a war correspondent during the 33 day war: