CPD Faculty Fellow Philip Seib Publishes Book on New Media’s Effect on Global Affairs

CPD University Fellow Philip Seib's latest book, The Al Jazeera Effect, explores the way satellite television, the Internet and other new media tools are reshaping every aspect of global affairs, ranging from democratization to terrorism.

Understanding this trend is invaluable for public diplomacy scholars and practitioners as it becomes evidently clear that in our new-media world, "the battle for hearts and minds in the Middle East is being fought not on the streets of Baghdad, but on the newscasts and talk shows of Al Jazeera. The future of China is being shaped not by Communist Party bureaucrats, but by bloggers working quietly in cyber cafes. The next attacks by al Qaeda will emerge not from Osama bin Laden’s cave, but from cells around the world connected by the Internet."

"This very readable book is an ideal introduction for the non-specialist to the remarkable and complex world of new communication media, from satellite broadcasting to text messaging. Carefully researched, it provides up-to-date information on the various media instruments and interesting analyses of their roles. A valuable contribution to the field." -- William A. Rugh, author of Arab Mass Media: Newspapers, Radio, and Television in Arab Politics

"The emergence of new media, concomitant with new democratic potentials and new forms of violence and terrorism worldwide, is not accidental. In The Al Jazeera Effect, Philip Seib provides a thoughtful and sophisticated account of these salient political and media trends and how they interconnect. This book contains a wealth of information about the Web, the blogosphere, and satellite TV, with particular focus on the Middle East; but its implications are complex, uncertain, and vast—extending beyond the Internet and other media in the Arab-Muslim world. 'The Arab satellite channel itself,' Seib writes, 'is just the most visible player in a huge universe of new communications and information providers that are changing the relationships between those govern and those who are governed.' The Al Jazeera Effect is an excellent primer for the brave new world of the 21st century and the rugged roads to democracy that lie ahead." -- Jeffrey Scheuer, author of The Big Picture: Why Democracies Need Journalistic Excellence

From Publishers Weekly, July 21, 2008:

Mapping the first large-scale shift away from Western media dominance since the advent of television, Seib (Headline Diplomacy) argues that framing conflict in the Middle East as a "clash of civilizations" has outlived its polemical and practical uses. The book makes a convincing case that the rise of Al Jazeera—with its audience of 35 million—reflects how satellite television and the Internet create virtual communities that can significantly influence political policy. Seib cites the example of Hezbollah, a geopolitical group without easily definable territory, and suggests that Al Qaeda is similarly a virtual state existing through the combination of communication and political will…Seib constructs an imaginative, thorough and balanced assessment of how news—ever more a dialogue and less an event—is redistributing political power.

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