Alistair Lyon

Foreign media scramble to win over Arab viewers

A powerful tool [television] may be, but the challenge for any foreign news organization will be to gain credibility in an area where distrust for Western policies is deep-rooted and flourishing — and where the airwaves are already brimming with alternatives. “There’s a real cacophony of media in the region. Even poor neighborhoods in Damascus have satellite dishes,” said Ali Abunimah, who runs Electronic Intifada ( to promote Palestinian views on the Middle East conflict. “Even in a country as restricted as Syria, there is enormous access to media from elsewhere,” said the 34-year-old Jordanian based in Chicago. “That challenges the U.S. stereotype of a controlled media where people don’t know any better.”