Humanitarian Response and Media in the Arab Gulf Countries

Authored by: Fadwa Ahmed Obaid

The Routledge Companion To Media and Humanitarian Action

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138688575
eBook ISBN: 9781315538129
Adobe ISBN:


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Two major media revolutions transformed the humanitarian response to disasters facing the Arab Gulf States, namely the 1991 launch of Pan-Arab satellite TV channels, and the 2010 advent of social media. There are few available studies that are relevant in assessing media and humanitarian response in the GCC countries. Those that are insightful address the political influence of media on societal change, or use quantitative date to describe the use of social media in GCC countries. Saudi media expert FadwaObaid has based her observations mainly on her own professional experience. Both media revolutions have had positive effects on humanitarian response in GCC countries and the Arab region. She explores the impact of mainstream Pan-Arab satellite TV channels in successful fundraising through telethons and 24/7 news reporting, resulting in increasing awareness of the humanitarian needs that result from the many regional conflicts and wars. A new public understanding of accountability in the distribution of mobilized resources has also emerged. Obaid has detailed the use of social media and the connections forged between volunteers, donors and the victims. Both facets of the media revolution have the potential to become more relevant and effective in raising awareness of humanitarian crises, delivering relief, and helping the victims recover. Technological empowerment and skills-based media training will facilitate media accessibility and use, and are the way forward in creating a sustained, effective, and timely humanitarian response in the Arab region, and the world.

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