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Intercultural Communication as a Clash of Civilizations

Al-Jazeera and Qatar’s Soft Power


Tal Samuel-Azran

Intercultural Communication as a Clash of Civilizations argues that Al-Jazeera is not an agent of globalization, as is widely argued, but a tool used by the Qatari government to advance its political as well as Islamist goals. This book also maps the Western tendency to reject the network outright despite Al-Jazeera’s billion-dollar investments designed to gain entrance into Western markets; it shows empirically that this rejection is similarly rooted in religious, cultural and national motives. This book asserts that the main outcome of Al-Jazeera’s activities is the promotion of religious and cultural conflicts. The network persistently portrays global events through the prism of conflicting religious and cultural values – propelling a clash of civilizations as per Samuel P. Huntington’s well-known thesis.
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Chapter 8. Putting It All Together: The Al-Jazeera Effect and What It Means for International and Intercultural Studies


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From a power perspective, Qatar has managed to do the unbelievable by creating a station that emanates from a micro-state but is positioned, in terms of credibility and distribution, in the same league as the leading international stations. This is despite the fact that Qatar is controlled by a dynastic ruler and there is little evidence of Qatar looking to pursue democracy.

Although Al-Jazeera has often presented fair and balanced reportage, this book highlights that these successes are not a sign of globalization, as widely argued. Instead, it illustrates that the channel’s purpose is to serve as Qatar’s soft and smart power tool(s). The book portrays how, since Al-Jazeera’s 1996 inception, Qatar has placed the channel at the center of their overall strategy to promote their global interests, and it maps the specific realms in which Al-Jazeera helps Qatar achieve its global political ambitions. The book portrays specifically how during events that affect Qatar’s core interests, Al-Jazeera becomes a mouthpiece for the autocratic Qatari Al-Thani household.

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