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The Arab State and (Absent) Civility in New Communicative Spaces

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by Emma C. Murphy
ECIA Fellow
Third World Quarterly, Vol. 32, Issue 5, 2011

In this study, Emma Murphy examines how Arab states have constructed national regulatory regimes for satellite television and telecommunications which undermine or inhibit the emergence of the three normative requisites for a civil political culture: freedom, equality and tolerance. Drawing on case studies of Jordan, Egypt and the UAE, the study argues that, by failing to be either self-limiting or to protect civil society from its uncivil components in the new communicative spaces provided by these technologies, the Arab states are attempting to reconstruct their own dominant (new) media spaces and so prevent the conditions which might foster democratic political cultures of civility.