The politics of the countries within the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) have been tightly held down through authoritarian rule. Saudi Arabia, for example, has been under the rule of the House of Saud, the ruling royal family. This royal family been an influence the state for several hundred years. If Saudi Arabia were to fall into a period of radical uncertainty, where the government had fallen, there would be many issues with media, particularly print media, making it difficult to find reliable media sources.

The Saudi Arabia Government currently has a heavy hand on print media, particularly newspapers. While many of these mass media sources are privately owned, they are paid and influenced by the government. If the Saudi Arabia government were to fall, these private media sources would open into a wide range of government criticisms, and publish articles of great controversy against the state. However, as they would no longer be heavily subsidized by the government, there would be an increase in pressure to sell more newspapers, which would likely turn articles towards sensationalism.

In order to find less sensationalized media (seen in the theoretical mass media), and looking toward informational media, the answer appears to lie in what would be the theoretical social media of Saudi Arabia-post-government-fall. While this media may be more biased, it would be more focused on real events than sensationalized media. Additionally, as governments fall, there tends to be a larger quantity of political parties which attempt to gain power quickly. Several large mass media outlets would not be able to fairly report on all of the different political “options”, while social media can.

Presently, Saudi Arabia “permits no independent media” according to Reporters Without Boarders. However, it is important to mention Al Jazeera’s presence within Saudi Arabia. Al Jazeera is presently reporting Saudi Arabia news, and would likely continue in the event of a Saudi Arabia government collapse. Al Jazeera’s presence would explode during a time of unrest, as it allows for multiple different voices, perspectives, and opinions.

Throughout Media and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa, I have renewed my understanding of media – its prevalence throughout history, and the extent of its effects.

While I have learned more about media (particularly mass media), I have not changed my media habits or relationship to mass media. Prior to this class, I had a distaste for media. It was and still is my opinion that current media is somewhat of a sickness. While media framing serves both the producer (making money and pushing an agenda) and the consumer (entertainment, a detached feeling of involvement, and sometimes political reassurance), it comes at a cost to all. Opening a website or newspaper, the front page tends to be concentrated with negativity or superficial controversy. If not, it is mindless filler articles about past events that have no serious effects. I have never enjoyed media, aside from entertainment pieces. The only difference between my previous media consumption and my media consumption now is that I have added another grain or two of salt to an entire bottle of media distaste is the form of sodium chloride.

I would also like to mention that personally I am shocked that not as many people were aware (if at all) of media bias and how much actually happens “behind the screen”. There is also an element of self awareness and self importance. Looking at MENA, American reporting is usually through a heroic, patriotic lens, and on top of that, usually the political lens of the reporting organization. Additionally, there is a presence of somewhat “selective hearing”. People seek news that agrees with them, and current media can pick this pattern up, only presenting more media that continues a specific set of values and opinions. People like to think that they are important, and more importantly, that they are right. This creates a sense of superiority and heroic, “Player one” archetype. The truth is, this “superhero” is really just some 30-50 middle aged, genderless, colorless body sitting on a grey couch and watching CNN or FOX, arguing in the depths of the comment section on a reddit post that 10 people will click on and 2 will read. Reddit is a form of social media, but the second a polarizing piece of news appears, it is snatched up by the claws of the painfully present mass media of a two party government, locking up in a never ending tug-of-war. The truth is, news just locks up an already stuck system. At the end of the day, the government will create the same response that was always going to happen, and send the same, filtered news out to a population that is unwilling to compromise. Watching the news and arguing to deaf ears does not create change. It makes people angry, and it makes news cooperations money.

I suppose it is somewhat of a hypocrisy that I expect people to be aware but not participate, and I am aware that I have many moral flaws in my opinion. However, my opinion is just that- an opinion. And, morality is a matter of opinion in the form of social rules.

I feel as though as I have no power (except for voting) to make a serious impact on anything. Yes, you can create and participate in protests, but they just slowly get silenced and “addressed” until people calm down and return to their processed sugar and antidepressants and watching screens full of garbage. I have my own opinions, and rather than making myself and others angry, and making some cooperation (that I do not care for) money, without actually makingĀ change, I’ll choose to vote and mind my own business. If I wanted to get my hands dirty, I’d serve our country. Instead I’m just paying taxes.