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Money, Power and Turf: Winning the Middle East Media War at Any Cost

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05.12.2019

It is hardly surprising to see Middle Eastern countries at the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index, as the worst violators of freedom of the press. But equally alarming is the complete polarization of public opinion as a result of self-serving media and, bankrolled by rich Arab countries, whose only goal is to serve their specific, often sinister, agendas.

One does not need to highlight of how state-controlled media in the Middle East lacks the minimal required degree of partiality, let alone integrity. Only a deluded person would argue that governments that kill, torture and imprison journalists, intellectuals and social media activists have an iota of respect for the freedom of the press and expression – in fact, of any kind of freedom at all.

Of the 180 countries classified by Reporters Without Borders’ annual report on press freedom, seven Middle Eastern countries are listed at the bottom 10% category of the world’s worst violators.

In 2018, Israel, which often prides itself on being “the only democracy in the Middle East”, ranked 88th, a hardly shocking realization, considering its constant targeting, killing, wounding and arresting of Palestinian journalists. The Palestinian Authority achieved an even worse rank, at 137th place. It is telling that not a single Middle Eastern country has made it to the top 30% rank.

No need to look to the Middle East, we have a dictator in the making here in the UK

In countries like Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, where independent monitoring of government behavior is almost entirely absent, hundreds of journalists simply disappear in the black hole of brutal prison systems – malnourished, medically neglected, and routinely........

© Middle East Monitor