By Naomi Sakr
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Extra resources for ARAB MEDIA AND POLITICAL RENEWAL Community, Legitimacy and Public Life
This alienation takes place by making the citizenry feel that they are distant and separate from the political process in society. The common Lebanese citizen cannot find in the content of the mass media any relationship to real life problems. 3 When Dajani revisited this study a decade later he reached a similar conclusion. He wrote that television still did not address the need for different sectarian groups in Lebanon to unite. 4 While this chapter does not argue that a media revolution took place in Lebanon in 2005, it does identify the Beirut Spring as a media landmark that challenged what Dajani had only recently described as the status quo.
An information item is not unequivocal per se; it acquires meaning only within its cultural context. Consequently, the meaning of the same information item could be different and varying from one cultural context to another. Different politico-cultural contexts and communication systems lay down different sets of parameters within which their respective media operate. Contemporary Arab and Western satellite newscasters do not operate within hermetically sealed spaces but within their respective politico-cultural contexts, and within the communication systems of their respective target audiences.
This marked a significant departure from custom and practice on Lebanese television during the years since the civil war, when media personnel shied away from alluding to the country’s different religious affiliations in the same report. 33 National togetherness was, meanwhile, portrayed visually through the striking imagery of the Lebanese flag. After Hariri’s funeral the Lebanese flag started to have a prominent presence in the downtown Beirut protests. Protestors would carry the flag or even wear it on their heads.