Last week, I got the chance to attend a lecture in Washington, DC delivered by Alghad newspaper CEO Mohammad Alayyan on "Developing Media as a Business Model in Jordan." Alayyan raised some very intriguing points while focusing on what he called the "invisible money" hindering the development of independent media. Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote on the lecture:
Publisher and CEO of the Jordanian independent daily Alghad, Mohammad Alayyan, cited what he referred to as "invisible money" as one of the major obstacles hindering the progress of independent media outlets in the Arab World. Alayyan who is planning to launch Jordan’s first independent terrestrial and satellite TV station, Al Ghad TV, on June 1 made his remarks during a lecture entitled "Developing Media as a Business Model in Jordan" in Washington, D.C., United States, on March 28.
"Historically, investment in media has not been that great because governments have always invested in the media. People were afraid of opening up media [outlets], so basically it created insufficient funds [for] the development of independent media," Alayyan told the audience at a talk at the Human Rights Campaign building. But this has changed since 2001, according to Alayyan, as investments in the media have dramatically increased in the past few years.
However, Alayyan argues that investments are not made in a transparent way. "A lot of invisible money is going into the media and I think this is one of the major obstacles facing independent media in the Arab World," he said.
Source: [International Journalists’ Network]
You can read the full article here.
Although I have my doubts about AlGhad’s true independence, hopefully it will be at least a small counterbalance to the poorly written terrorist apologia that seem to constitute virtually all of Al-Jazeera’s “reporting.”
Very interesting article! It makes a lot of sense as well because independent media have a difficult time surviving anywhere as they don’t have the fiscal oomph of the major media moguls.
Actually, Al-Olyyan and Al-Ghad have turned out to be a major disappointment. Claiming to be independent yet Al-Ghad is run by a publisher and an editor with direct ties, personal and business, to the regime. The editor, Ayman Safadi, former royal court press officer and former head of jordan’s official TV, has published some disturbing editorials blasting pro-democracy NGOs and human rights groups. Often times his views are to the right of the official newspaper Al-Rai. No wonder Al-Ghad’s circulation has been very limited, with more free copies given away than sold. not to mention all the horror stories about Al-Ghad journalists writing reports about events they never attended. Most people buy Al-Ghad just to watch Imad Hajaj cartoon and read the sports section. Few have high hopes for ATV, the new “independent” sattlite to be launched by Al-Olayyan, considering it’s managed by former Alarabiya SAT hacks, a Saudi sat channel which was launched for the sole purpose of weaken the position of Al-Jazeera SAT and to help polish the US image in the region, a task the Saudi regime takes seriously since their ties with the US have been a source of internal instability because of the US support for the Israeli occupation and because of the Iraq invasion.