Perceptions about the Middle East will come under the microscope this week at a panel discussion hosted by Arab News. The event, held at the Top CEO Conference and Awards, will probe the region’s image in Europe and wider world at a time of deep global division and upheaval. It will examine the region’s image, how it can be changed, and why there has arguably been a failure in communication with the rest of the world.
Many people of the region today believe that the ISIS communication approach is so slick, so technological, so modern that it cannot be the work of jihadists recruited in the hinterlands of poor Muslim countries alone. There is surely something big and sophisticated behind it, with an objective in mind: kick Islamism where it hurts the most: religious credibility.
Putin perfectly understood the power of the media that helped propel his famously unpopular predecessor Boris Yeltsin into power in 1996. So the first thing he did after assuming the presidency in 2000 was to force all the major TV channels to submit to his will. Oligarch owners were either co-opted, jailed or exiled, and by 2006 most major Russian media were either directly or indirectly under Putin’s administration’s control.