The Journalist in the UAE Media Organization
Study on Restructuring of Radio Broadcasting in Arab Countries
Journalism as a field across different forms of media, which is well illustrated in the field of contemporary journalism. This can be well derived from the journalism practices seen in the Arab countries where there is significant interference with the implementation of contextual activities associated with journalism. Radio stations offer a significant form of media through which journalism issues are fundamentally appraised and supported as the information reaches the desired audience.
In this particular study the aim was to establish the effects arising from the interaction of legal reforms in the face of the existing legislative framework, and the resultant effects on journalism activities focusing radio broadcasting, which is a major means of journalism fundamentals reaching out to the people in these locations. In this study due consideration was given to about 6 countries, which include Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine.
The reform agenda focusing upon journalism activities in Egypt has been in existence for a long time now. Several progressive amendments have been made on the existing Egyptian journalism fronts on various magnitudes. “The modern Egyptian constitution, adopted in 1971 and amended in 1980, contains several articles regulating the media. Its article 48 guarantees ‘freedom of the press, publishing, and the media” (Berque, LamLoum, & Coles, 2006). This shows the manner in which the Egyptian authorities recognize the role played the journalist in the country. This is especially with regard to the contents produced in the live media and print media especially with regard to implementing critical media program fundamentals. The institution of control measures on the levels and standards of reporting news in the media is such an important and critical factor in the contemporary media environment. Furthermore, “Again, according to Law n 158, the minister for defence has the right to ban national publications. Meanwhile the minister of the interior has the power to stop foreign publications from entering the country. Law n 162 arrests detentions without trial” (Berque, LamLoum, & Coles, 2006). This further raises aye brows on the level of appraisal of journalism activities in the Egypt, whereby significant authority to regulate the media activities is not only a matter of media authorities but it is also an issue of governmental interest with regard to protecting the leak of certain forms of information.
In Jordan similar contextual issues arise with regard to controlling journalism and its potential fundamentals. In several instances the law has led to the introduction of significant control focusing upon media freedom and release of certain forms of information. This can be seen in, “However, despite the announced democratisation of the media the state Security Tribunal – a military tribunal whose sentences do not allow right of appeal – continues to sanction journalists accused of overstepping the limits imposed by the law on press freedom. One of the heavily reported affairs was the suspension, in January 2003, of the weekly, al-Hilal, by the Public Prosecutor of the State Security Tribunal, and the arrest of three of its journalists following publication of an article said to - attack the values of Islam”( Berque, LamLoum, & Coles, 2006). This further exposes the manner in which activities of journalism are frequently regulated in total disregard of the respectively implemented laws and regulations as seen in different contextual settings.
By virtue of Lebanon’s small size several significant reforms have been implemented focusing upon the activities of the journalist in the contemporary media environment. The mixture of terrorism related activities and the achievement of pre-planned journalism goals has significant levels of control especially with regard to the safety concerns and consequently the resultant impact on freedom of expression fundamentals. According to Berque, LamLoum and Coles (2006), “Before its sudden withdrawal in June 2005, the presence of the Syrian army in Lebanon put considerable pressure on the media, even if it did not stop dailies like An-Nahar (with its weekly supplement) and As-Safir from speaking against the occupation. The Lebanese media are increasingly cautious today, following the assassination of Samir Kassir in June 2005, and the attempted assassination of a television journalist. Some journalists even employ body guards, convinced that Syria has a black list. Tense conditions such as these are hardly conducive to freedom of expression...” (p.12-13). This therefore serves to emulate the manner and magnitude by which journalism activities are subject to critical safety concerns that serve to affect the manner in which journalism objectives are fundamentally met.
The authoritarian perspective associated with the Syrian authorities has had significant impacts upon the achievement of journalistic activities due to the significant regulations regulating the activities. For instance, according to Berque, LamLoum and Coles (2006), “The press in Syria is one of the most critical situations to be found anywhere in the Arab world, and is the reflection of an authoritarian regime that has confiscated all forms of democratic freedom. The three official Arabic papers are Al-Baath (the Bass party paper), Al-Thawira (government paper, circulation 35,000) and Tishreen (25,000)” (p.13). This shows the manner in which different institutional settings achieve significant milestone when it comes to achieving the desired news objectives focusing on particular localities in which they are all know to operate.
According to Berque, LamLoum and Coles (2006), “The press in Palestine is organised by law n 9, which came into force in 1995, regulating print and publishing. It covers the press, publishing houses, distribution services, research centres, market institutes, wire services, publications, and translation companies. Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of this law insist on freedom of expression and publication for all Palestinians. It grants journalists the right to protect the confidentiality of their sources and political parties the right to publish newspapers” (p.14). This consequently shows he manner in which the Palestine authorities have an efficient system in comparison to other country settings especially when it comes to implementing significant freedom fundamentals which significantly inform the manner in which media activities are carried out. The journalists practicing in this setting therefore have significant freedom especially when it comes to the protection of fundamental rights of journalists. However, there visible control in terms of the financial requirements for setting up media houses. This can be seen in according to Berque, Lamloum and Coles (2006), “Article 21 of the law also requires that daily newspapers have capital of at least 25,000 Jordanian dinars (30,000 Euros) or 10,000 dinars (12,000 Euros) for weeklies. Only political party paper is exempt” (p.14).
Study on the Gate Keeper’s Experiences Through their Contribution Towards the enhancement of Innovation and Technology
In this particular study the major aim was to assess the levels of contribution of gatekeepers as they go about their activities, with a bias on the effects on individual and organizational levels. According to Harorimana (2009), “Organisations are employing knowledge gatekeepers on part time bases. More interestingly these people are external contacts who are called by senior managers, friends, and industry standing experts. This is because for the organisation, these people represent a resource, an extra eye on understanding and objectivity” (p.69). This shows he critical roles played by gatekeepers in an organisational setting with regard to connecting the organisation with the external operations. The study fundamentally recognises the roles played by gatekeepers and the manner in which society has not rewarded them over their conceited efforts. According to Harorimana (2009), “Whilst gatekeepers were not paid for their role. However, organizations were recognised and in some cases are funded for that specific role. Where it has been clear that people were considered as gatekeepers, their role became more informal than has been in the case firms carrying out the same role” (p.75). The study therefore serves to reveal the different contextual issues to which gatekeepers are exposed to when practising at corporate or individual levels and it further exposes the fact that there is indeed more control especially when they exercise their roles at individual levels.
Study to Establish the roles played by New Media as Gatekeepers,
The role of this article is to establish the contribution made by media houses to the existing information pool with regard to their definition as key and critical keepers pushing forth the agenda of journalism. This is because in any country setting there exists a critical mix of the issues normally attributed to media houses in different country settings and therefore there is a general need to try and establish the occurrence of contextual differences and relative competencies as they push forth their agenda. According to Odugbemi and Norris (n.d), “Lastly, as gatekeeper or indeed gate-openers, it is claimed that news media should ideally serve as the classical agora by bringing together a plurality of diverse interests , voices and viewpoints to debate issues of public concern” (p.10). The role played by media houses as critical and strategic gate keepers can therefore not be overemphasised especially focusing on the impacts attributed by the factor of reform towards the achievement of aforementioned objectives. Moreover, as Odugbemi and Norris (n.d) postulate, “Yet lack of balance persists – and it matters. The most extreme cases are found in autocracies which use state controlled media as a mouthpiece. This situation persisits, Pintank reports, in much of the Middle East, ‘in Arab world, media has traditionally been gate keepers favouring those in power” (p.11). This therefore suggests that in as much there may be in existence key contextual differences it is important to note that the extent of definition of media forums as gatekeepers depends elementally upon the jurisdiction of the law with regard to the country setting. Odugbemi and Norris further conclude that, “Overall we can therefore conclude that there is a substantial gap between rhetoric and reality or between the ideals that are widely articulated in liberal democratic theory and practices which are commonly found in states around the world” (p.11).
Chapter Three: The Theoretical Aspect:
Origins of the Gate Keeper Theory
The gate keeper theory came into the limelight in the 1940s during which it was essentially introduced in the social science domain. This was originally introduced into social sciences by Kart Lewin back in 1943 (Shaolin Kung Fu Academy, 2008). Since then it has widely been applied in the various aspects of the social arena specifically focusing on the aspect of education, healthcare, media, immigrants, and publishing. “Kart Lewin, another of those who left Germany as the Nazis consolidated their power, adapted and applied the Gestalt perspective to personality theory and social dynamics and called it ‘Field theory” (Shaolin Kung Fu Academy, 2008). During his time he essentially led to the transformation of the gestalt thinking essentials into a social thinkers domain leading to the development of social dynamism through the significant involvement of people hence making this concept into something that could be applied on various social domains. “Kart Lewin drew together insights from topology e.g. life space, psychology, needs, aspirations and sociology with regard to force fields and motives clearly derived from the aspect of group pressures” (Shaolin Kung Fu Academy, 2008).
The origins of Gate Keeping were essentially guided by the need to cultivate the essence and meaning of source fundamentals. According to Shaolin Kung Fu Academy (2008), “ Gate Keeping processes can control of influence the entry or access to that particular arena, allocation of resources, information flows, setting of standards, development of the field and the agenda, or the external image of that arena” (p.1). This essentially means that aspect of gate keeping their primarily relies upon the provision certain aspects and fundamentals associated with the control of the manner in which certain individuals access information with respect to the mechanisms of protecting the original source. Furthermore, according to Shaolin Kung Fu (2008), “Gate keeping can function as exclusion and control, on individuals or groups in gate keeping positions to promote their own of their influence group interest and to execute or hold back certain groups, for instance as can be seen in occurrence of nepotism or favouritism” (p.1).
Lewin essentially used the concept of gate keeping to illustrate the manner in which diverse aspects regarding social changes and the extent to which they can fundamentally affect community initiatives. He achieved this by primarily focusing upon the element of population food habits and other critical changes. According to Stacks and Salwen (2008), “Food, Lenin wrote, reaches the family table through channels. One channel begins at the grocery store, and another might begin in the family garden...For example, in the grocery channel, food is discovered at the grocery store, purchased or not, and if purchased, transported to the home. These sections are multiple decision points. In the garden channel, decisions are made about what plant to plant, prune, and harvest, each section in the channel. As fruits and vegetables grow, some will be picked from the garden by hungry children, some consumed by insects or disease, and others may die for lack of rain. Therefore, of the fruits and vegetables that could have been available to the household, only a subset is ultimately harvested and brought into the kitchen” (p.76). Lewin essentially used this concept to strengthen his analysis on the roles played played by respective persons towards the significant achievement of well set objectives and premeditated of the gate keeper concept and its application to real life situations.
Types of Gate Keeper Theories
There are various types of gatekeepers; however they share one common aspect in that their authorities are significantly limited by the main powers which they essentially represent in real nature. “Their job is to mediate between you and the real decision makers within their organization, and for that reason talking to gate keepers is counterproductive yet essential” (Shaolin Kung Fu Academy, 2008). In essence the gatekeepers are majorly of two major types, which fundamentally include the following: the self appointed gatekeeper and the authorised gatekeeper. These types of gatekeepers are fundamentally found in many places and their roles are primarily directed by the duties focusing on the directed activities of the main powers that they represent in real sense.
The Self Appointed Gate Keeper
This kid of gate keeper usually acts as an individual bent on fundamentally protecting the interests and tastes of a particular individual or personality. According to Shaolin Kung Fu Academy (2008), “A person who believes they are contributing to the group by keeping unwanted persons, ideas or requests out. This can be the social club director, an assistant, partner to a key person, parent or even child” (p.3). This is therefore a type of individual who fundamentally believes that he or she holds a significant moral control and authority over the kind of interactions that can potentially go behind them without necessarily recognizing that they have a significant impact upon the different forms of interactions that goes on behind the real personalities they represent. In essence, they usually act more as a protective factor as opposed to focusing on their real functional domains. According to Shaolin Kung Fu (2008), “No one put them their yet they much seems to object” (p.3). Their roles are hence essential self directed as opposed to those fundamentally based upon the achievement of certain critical factors.
The Authorised Gate Keeper
This is in essence the person or individual who is officially recognised as the real gate keeper to the respective authorities which they represent. According to the Shaolin Kung Fu (2008), “Is the person who is paid to do the job. They are appointed by the CEO, Company Executive, Manager, Customer, or some person of Power (to make decisions) to sort the good from the garbage” (p.3). The roles that these kind of individuals play essentially represents those of critical central power protectors by virtue of the moral and political authorities accorded to them by the authorities that represent focusing upon some of the arising moral and critical concerns. According to Shaolin Kung Fu (2008), “It is fairly common for people of power and influence to put several layers of Gatekeepers between themselves and ‘the general public.’ It is also well known that some of the greatest operators work in such a way that they do not use gatekeepers and still manage not to be inundated by requests” (p.3). These types of gate keepers are essentially relying upon direct instructions coming from the central authorities that they represent as opposed to other types who essentially tend to bore egotistic issues.
Responsibilities of the Gatekeeper,
The responsibilities of the gatekeeper vary based on the arising responsibilities and the different fundamentals regarding the powers they represent. “Gatekeepers evaluate ‘the promise and limitations of aspirants to new positions, thus affecting the mobility of individual scientists and, in the aggregate, the distribution of personnel throughout the system” (Shaolin Kung Fu Academy, 2008). This informs the fundamental role of the gatekeeper as defined in various circumstances and other arising situations. The responsibilities of the gatekeeper therefore include evaluating the present circumstance of events, matching these events to the authorities they represent, forecasting the potential impact upon the delivery of his role in society, collecting different perceptions from the arising interaction levels, sieving through the information that passes or leaves the respective entities they represent, and formalising other arrangements which the authorities need to be aware of. This puts them at a central place in the respective media organization focusing on social-dynamics impacting upon the different gates. According to Stacks and Salwen (2008), “Other routine-level forces include how much effort a news item requires to be transformed into a story, whether selection decisions are routinely made by individuals or groups of people” (p.83).
Factors Affecting the Gatekeeper
There are a myriad number of factors that are capable of significantly affecting the respective activities of the gate keepers and this are fundamentally based upon the kind of activities that the gate keepers are known to represent. The fact that they serve to protect the moral, political, and economic entities of the individuals whom they represent this implies that their respective activities are subject to various elements of barriers.
According to Shaolin Kung Fu (2008), “By opening a secondary line of communications another person in the company, department, shop or office, you may be able to bypass the gatekeeper. This may simply be another sales person, another telephone operator or just someone else. If this is not possible than a slightly different slant on the enquiry can result in a different person being responsible or even and escalation” (p.4). This therefore implies that as the gatekeeper goes about implementing some of his activities he may be easily by passed by other elements in the organization such that his role becomes illegitimate and non operational in the end. This may therefore impact negatively upon their activities while focusing upon the respective interpretations given by such aspects arising on a periodic interval.
Gate keepers also need to operate based on the respective rules and regulations for which majority of their activities are fundamentally based upon. Therefore, supposing there is an occurrence of the gate keeper not operating according to rules and regulations governing a particular entity of the authorities they represent, this usually exposes them to high levels of dangers to the special interests. This introduces as element of security towards their activities in that as they go on doing what they are doing there is need to recognise the respective dangers especially if a certain link is intentionally cut. According to Shaolin Kung Fu (2008), it is always good to know the operating rules and procedures of the person if they represent an organization or entity. Even private person have principles and habits that can be discovered and used” (p.4)
Social Aspects of the Gatekeeper
There are essentially a variety of social aspects which are known to significantly affect the delivery of gate keeping strategies especially when looking at different contextual issues. In essence, the existence of communication organizations is usually based upon the existence of key fundamentals of an organization. These are aspects that are commonly associated with the development of motive and other aspects selective entities associated with a traditional medial organization. “Gate keeping can be analysed as practical, day-to-day mundane ways in which social hierarchies, social divisions, and persistent distinctions are produced, reproduced, and sometimes challenged, ameliorated and changed” (Shaolin Kung Fu Academy, 2008). The social environment have an overarching effect towards the achievement of critical socio-dynamic aspects associated with a formal gate keeping operation as seen in majority of media organizations operating in the United Arab Emirates.
According to Stacks and Salwen (2008), “There are many potential influences outside of the media organization, such as sources, audiences and advertisers, markets and economic forces, government, interest groups, public relation agencies, and other media. Sources are often frontline gatekeepers, deciding to pass along some bits of information and not others” (p.80). Therefore, the fundamental effects of the existing socio-dynamic principles are elementally based upon the control and guidance of special group interests that significantly impact upon the relative interactions seen in the various existing levels. This also has a component of economic forces, which are elementally integrated into the existing decision framework of a media entity. Moreover, according to Stacks and Salwen (2008), “On social system level of analysis, just as Lewin determined that some foods are culturally available as news items, rape, for example, was rarely covered in the newspapers a generation or two ago but today is regular fare for mainstream news media. Culture as well as other indicators of social significance, including political, military, and economic ties – also influences selection decisions, affecting the extent to which different parts of the world are covered and how they are covered” (p.80). This further exposes other variables that come into play especially when one takes special consideration of the recurring social elements seen in the respective media environment. In addition, the interplay of culture in its various forms has a special effect on the levels of delivery of the existing gate keeping strategies, which occurs on varying levels taking into, account the special circumstances of a relative event.
Other social elements affecting the relative delivery of social entities include those regarded to gender interactions. The role played by gender has a special effect on several news delivery tactics, especially when taking into consideration of the special effect played by media in the Asian context with special focus on United Arab Emirates. In this society there is a significant division seen in the distribution of role between women and men in society. This therefore implies that there are various occasions during which either sex has been subjected to unfair circumstances especially the women. According to Stacks and Salwen (2008), “Women magazines, for example, traditionally have not run many stories about the harmful effects of smoking, presumably because the tobacco companies spend a lot of money on cigarette ads and ads for other companies that the tobacco conglomerates own” (p.80)
Studies of audience and their Influence on the Gatekeeper
The development of the gate keeper concept has undergone significant evolution overtime through exploration of its respective entities by earlier scientists on the role of gate keeping with regard to media studies. According to Stacks and Salwen (2008), “Although gate keeping research originated in Lewin’s scholarship, one of his research assistants is credited with applying gate keeping theory to the study of news, David Manning White, from the University of Iowa, is responsible for the initial development of the research agenda for media gate keeping” (p.77). White was the first scientist to put to application, Lewin’s research results to use through exploring its fundamentals in his communications and science research project. He postulated that, “...the complex series of gates a newspaper story went through from the actual criterion event to the finished story in a newspaper would make an interesting study” (Stacks & Salwen, 2008). Through his research fundamentals he essentially made a discovery that the in many aspects gate keepers such as those found in publishing entities and those found in television productions usually undergo and develop considerable powers with an aim of formulating policies and other influences on the respective decision elements.
The Future of the Gatekeeper and studies which discuss this Aspect
The future of the gatekeeper has been fundamentally explored focusing on the respective entities found in the different opportunities, which are essentially available with regard to the gate keeper’s increasing role in the media environment. In a case study carried out to establish the fundamental need for gate keeper training in order to achieve the several contextual entities associated with the model found in communications industry. In this particular study it was established that further research needs to be carried out in regard to the relative applicability of the model in various contexts where the probability of confrontations emerging has special focus among the relative affected populations. According to Isaac et al (2009), “Gatekeeper training holds promise as part of a multifaceted strategy...It has been proven to positively affect skills, attitudes, and knowledge of people who undertake the training in many settings” (p.266).
The need for training in the gatekeeper theory is aimed at sustaining the respective familiarization concepts associated with the relative acceptability of the model in the contemporary media environment. According to Stacks and Salwen, “Gate keeping studies using the observational methods may suffer from the usual problem of reactivity, but this is generally lessened if the observational period is longer than a few days. In Berkowitz study of television news gate keepers, he devoted two weeks at the beginning of the study to familiarization with the newsroom and the station’s news process. Following this initial period, four weeks were spent observing gatekeepers at work, followed by one week devoted to personal interviews. This seven-week-long field period helped reduce the threat to internal validity due to reactivity, but it points to one of the disadvantages of observational research as it takes time to do it right” (p.81). The respective results of the study therefore postulated the significant development of correctional measures through the infusion of strategic training elements into the gate keeper training fundamentals and other respective case examples.
Moreover, Stacks and Salwen (2008) further postulate that, “Scholars recognize that individual gate keepers have the power to pass some items through gates and reject others, but studies have also shown that gatekeeper’s actions must be understood within the context of environment. The expansion of gate keeping studies to multiple levels of analysis opens the door of study of the most interesting of Lewin’s concepts” (p.82). This introduces another aspect with respect to the future of current gate keeping approaches. It suggests that there is an increasing need for more focus to be placed upon the achievement and contextual application of gate keeping based on a particular environment. This is because there are various forms of difference emanating from geographical areas due to culture differences, and other interacting levels in society leading to the potential need for developing better mechanisms in the domain of gate keeping as a new strategy.