Tal Shenhav

Dr. Tal Shenhav

Associate Fellow
Tal  Shenhav

Research Abstract:

"Social Messages in Morning Studio Programs on National Television in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia 2006-2008"

It examines the deferent messages sent by the government via these programs aiming to shape society and specifically gender issues now days and in the future. Television like other media is controlled by the state in most of the Arab countries according to the totalitarian model and is used to spread ruler's views in social and political matters and assimilate those views amidst the audience. The national channels are aired live via satellite since the 90's and in the last years via the Internet as well. Viewers  within and outside each country are exposed to these programs at any time and place. Televised messages hidden and reveled are passed via visual, qualitative and quantitative means that are encoded within programs and create a false reality which the ruler wishes to present. The ruler wishes to shape the future image of his country by sending messages to women who are traditionally responsible for raising the kids and for their well being. Meanwhile audience outside the country considers the televised reality to be true. The findings show that while Tunisia presents a reality of gender equality the situation in Jordan and Saudi Arabia is totally deferent. In Jordan while visual messages are of modernity and change of norm related both to dress code and to studio decoration, quantitative and qualitative means send the familiar messages according to which men are responsible for public sphere issues and women to private sphere issues. In Saudi Arabia changes can be seen in all means, women are talking and participating in both public and private sphere and there is a change also in dress code, studio decoration and the use of the space but all this is limited and supervised. An overall analysis of the messages in the three countries suggests that while Tunisia sends a unified message of gender equality, both Jordan and Saudi Arabia sends mixed messages, sometimes even contradicting, that can indicate on an on going process of change within each society. 

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