Modernity Through Satellite TV
A Response to Carla Power’s “Look Who’s Talking”
Television and satellite TV, in our modern industrialized world, have become one of the major media and communication tools. The TV industry is one of the most thriving industries due to its widespread use and interesting shows. The interesting part of the show is what hooks people to their seats. In a region as conservative as the Arab world, certain TV shows may strike controversial chords that force the people to take a good look at themselves. There is no doubt that TV shows discuss controversial issues, especially in the Arab world; however, society is not void of these issues; television shows only bring them to the surface and discusses them leading to a possible change in the way people in society think about a certain subject.
Some might say that the media culture, including TV, is the faster way to achieve a liberalized form of modernity. The Arab world is witnessing such a change. The Arab culture is a culture “that has long prized consensus” (Power, 2006, p. 199). However, this consensus is not a true representation of the thoughts that permeate in the minds of most citizens and people in that culture; it is rather a result of former (and current) oppressive tyrannical regimes and beliefs. Hence the fact that something is commonly agreed upon by the population doesn’t mean that there aren’t any opposing views on it. With the emergence of Television, Arabs found a leeway for change. Satellite TV became a suitable way for expression and freedom since it could be owned by ordinary citizens and was not exclusive to information ministries. This way of expression has enabled people to speak out on controversial issues, taboos, and stereotypes. TV shows “have helped shatter Arab stereotypes with its mix of debate over hot social topics-including homosexuality and women’s rights,” says Carla Power (2008, p. 198). For the Arab community this is a great leap from conservatism to...