This thesis explores three issues regarding Al Jazeera satellite network and its host country, the state of Qatar. The first theme discusses the political power of Al Jazeera vis-Ã -vis its relationship with Qatar since Al Jazeera's foundation of 1996 to the present day. In light of the fact that Al Jazeera's impact on the Middle East and international affairs is disproportionate to Qatar's global influence, this thesis argues that the state-owned Al Jazeera is not merely a media giant but also a powerful player in Arab politics. Specifically, as a case study, the Qatari-Saudi rivalry in the respective reporting of Al Jazeera and the Saudi-operated Al Arabiya is discussed. The second theme examines five sociopolitical contradictions of Qatar caused by the Emir's diverse reforms, namely â democratizationâ by the absolute leader, rapid modernization in a Wahhabi country, an exploding young population and increasing foreign labor, its controversial relationship with Israel, and its reliance on U.S. forces for national security. An analysis of these contradictions is crucial to comprehending Qatar's contemporary politics, which wield a significant influence on Al Jazeera's news coverage. The last theme analyzes Qatar's â omnidirectional diplomacyâ in order to understand how the Qatari government and the Emir of Qatar have manipulated Al Jazeera as an effective political instrument. This thesis focuses on Qatar's niche strategy to draw the supports of the West in general and the United States in particular. Finally, by highlighting Qatar's ambitions to be a regional power, it becomes obvious that pan-Arab Al Jazeera functions as a critical media outlet for Qatar's survival in this turbulent region. This thesis also tries to examine briefly Al Jazeera's role in the recent popular uprisings across the Arab world, taking into consideration the future prospects of Al Jazeera and Qatar.


Middle East Studies Center

Degree Name

MA in Middle East Studies

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2011

First Advisor

Hamdy, Naila

Second Advisor

Albrecht, Holger



Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Al Jazeera (Television network)

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Mass media -- Political aspects -- Qatar.


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item