Mohamed-A. Satti e-mail(Login required)

Main Article Content


Mohamed-A. Satti e-mail(Login required)


This study seeks to investigate similarities or differences in the content of news stories published on Al Jazeera Arabic (AJA) and Al Jazeera English (AJE) websites. Guided by agenda-setting theory 2,400 online news stories were analyzed. Findings indicate that on fewer than 8% of the time do AJA and AJE display the same news story on their websites. Since Al Jazeera’s target audience differs depending on the language, the study argues that AJA and AJE set the agenda for two sets of news consumers. This is fairly significant as Al Jazeera seeks to play a greater role in news dissemination to a global audience. Al Jazeera deliberately seeks to highlight a certain news item, such as the almost daily coverage of the crisis between Qatar and four other Arab countries in the summer of 2017, thereby actively engaging in agenda-setting. Findings also indicate that AJA publishes more news stories pertaining to the Arab world than AJE. AJA’s coverage of the African and South American continents is relatively low compared to the Arab region, thereby directing audience’s attention to events and issues closer to Al Jazeera’s home base of Qatar. The study also argues that news consumers play a significant role in determining the news items displayed by news outlets.


Agenda-setting, Al Jazeera Arabic, Al Jazeera English, online news stories, Qatar Gulf crisis


Al Jazeera (2017, July 20). About us. Retrieved from

Al-Najjar, A. I. (2009). How Arab is Al-Jazeera English? Comparative study of Al-Jazeera Arabic and Al-Jazeera English news channels. Global Media Journal, 8(14). Retrieved from

Atkinson, P. & Coffey, A. (1997). Analysing documentary realities. In D. Silverman (Ed.), Qualitative research: Theory, method, and practice (pp. 45-62). London: Sage.

Carpenter, J. C. (2017). Creating English as a language of global news contraflow: Al Jazeera at the intersection of language, globalization and journalism. Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research, 10(1), 65-83.

Conway, M. & Patterson, J. R. (2008). Today’s top story? An agenda-setting and recall experiment involving television and internet news. Southwestern Mass Communication Journal, (24)1, 31-48. Retrieved from

Davenport, T. H., & Beck, J. C. (2001). The Attention Economy: Understanding the New Currency of Business. Boston: Harvard Business School.

DeFleur, M. L. (2010). Mass communication theories: Explaining origins, processes, and effects. New York: Allyn & Bacon.

Douai, A. & Ben Moussa, M. (2016). The emerging ‘Alternative’ journalism paradigm: Arab journalists and online news. Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research, (9)2, 165-182.

Elena, M. (2016). Framing international media in the face of social movements: CNN and Al- Jazeera English in the fall of Morsi. Communication & Society, (29)3, 119-130.

El Mustapha, L. (2011). Contemporary Arab broadcast media. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

El-Nawawy, M. & Iskander, A. (2002). Al-Jazeera: How the free Arab news network scooped the world and changed the Middle East. Cambridge, MA: Westview Press.

El-Nawawy, M. & Powers, S. (2010). Al Jazeera English: A conciliatory medium in a conflictdriven environment? Global Media and Communication, (6)1, 61-84.

Evens, T. (2018). Media economics and transformation in a digital Europe. In L. d´Haenens, H. & J. Trappel (Eds.), Comparative media policy, regulation and governance in Europe: Unpacking the policy cycle (pp. 41-54). Bristol: Intellect.

Fahmy, S., Wanta, W., Johnson, T. & Zhang, J. (2011). The path to war: Exploring a second-level agenda-building analysis examining the relationship among the media, the public and the president. International Communication Gazette, (73)4, 322-342.

Fahmy, S. & Al Emad, M. (2011). Al-Jazeera vs Al-Jazeera: A comparison of the network’s English and Arabic online coverage of the US/Al Qaeda conflict. International Communication Gazette, (73)3, 216-232.

Figenschou, T. U. (2010). A voice for the voiceless? A quantitative content analysis of Al-Jazeera English’s flagship news. Global Media and Communication, (6)1, 85-107.

Frey, L. R., Botan, C. H. & Kreps, G. L. (2000). Investigating communication: An introduction to research methods. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Ghanem, S. (1997). Filling in the tapestry: The second level of agenda setting. In M. McCombs, D. Shaw & D. Weaver (Eds.), Communication and democracy (pp. 3-14). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Groshek, J. (2008). Homogenous agendas, disparate frames: CNN and CNN International coverage online. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, (52)1, 52-68.

Hanley, D. C. (2004). Al-Jazeera world forum takes a hard look at freedom of the press. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, (23), 14–15. Retrieved from look-at-freedom-of-the-press.html

Hignett, S. (2005). Qualitative methodology. In J. R. Wilson & N. Corlett (Eds.), Evaluation of human work (3rd edition) (pp. 113-128). Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis Group.

Hill, D. B. (1985). Viewer characteristics and agenda setting by television news. Public Opinion Quarterly, (49), 340-350.

Jasperson, A. E. & El-Kikhia, M. O. (2003). CNN and al Jazeera’s media coverage of America’s war in Afghanistan. In P. N. Norris, M. Kern & M. Just (Eds.), Framing terrorism: The news media, the government, and the public (pp. 113–132). New York: Routledge.

Johnson, T. & Fahmy, S. (2008). The CNN of the Arab World or a shill for terrorists? How support for press freedom and political ideology predict credibility of Al-Jazeera among its audience. International Communication Gazette, (70)4, 338-360.

Johnson, T. & Fahmy, S. (2009). See no evil, hear no evil, judge as evil? Examining whether Al- Jazeera English-language website users transfer credibility to its satellite network. In G.

Golan, T. J. Johnson & W. Wanta (Eds.), International media in a global age (pp. 241-260). Philadelphia: Routledge/Lawrence Erlbaum.

McChesney, R. W. (2004). The problem of the media: U.S. communication politics in the 21st century. New York: Monthly Review Press.

McCombs, M. & Funk, M. (2011). Shaping the agenda of local daily newspapers: A methodology merging the agenda setting and community structure perspectives. Mass Communication and Society, (14), 905-919.

McCombs, M. E. & Shaw, D. L. (1972). The agenda-setting function of mass media. Public Opinion Quarterly, (36)2, 176–187.

McManus, J. H. (1994). Market-driven journalism: Let the citizens beware? Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

McQuail, D. (2010). McQuail’s mass communication theory (6th edition). London: Sage.

Meltzer, K. (2013). The US launch of Al Jazeera English in Washington, DC: An analysis of American media coverage. Journalism, (14)5, 661-677.

Miladi, N. (2006). Satellite TV news and the Arab diaspora in Britain: Comparing Al-Jazeera, the BBC and CNN. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, (32)6, 947-960.

Miles, H. (2005). Al-Jazeera: The inside story of the Arab news channel that is challenging the west. New York: Gove Press.

Najjar, O. (2007). New trends in global broadcasting: “Nuestro Norte es el Sur” (Our North is the South). Global Media Journal, (6)10. Retrieved from

Nasr, A. (2014). Al-Jazeera and the Arab uprisings: The language of images and the medium’s stancetaking. Communication, Culture & Critique, (7), 397-414.

Perry, D. K. (2002). Theory and research in mass communication: Contexts and consequences (2nd edition). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Rogers, E. M. & Dearing, J. W. (1988). Agenda-setting research: Where has it been, where is it going? In J. A. Anderson (Ed.), Communication yearbook 11 (pp. 555-594). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Rosenberry, J. & Vicker, L. A. (2009). Applied mass communication theory: A guide for media practitioners. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Schultz, F., Kleinnijenhuis, J., Oegema, D., Utz, S. & van Atteveldt, W. (2012). Strategic framing in the BP crisis: A semantic network analysis of associative frames. Public Relations Review, (38)1, 97–107.

Seib, P. (2008). The Al Jazeera effect: How the new global media are reshaping world politics. Washington, DC: Potomac Books.

Severin, W. J. & Tankard, Jr., J. W. (2001). Communication theories: Origins, methods, and uses in the mass media (5th ed.). New York: Addison Wesley Longman.

Silverman, D. (2003). Analyzing talk and text. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials (2nd edition) (pp. 340-362). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Smith, D. (1990). The conceptual practices of power. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Thussu, D. K. (2007). Media on the move: Global flow and contra-flow. London: Routledge.

Wanta, W. & Hu, Y (1994). The effects of credibility, reliance and exposure on media agendasetting: A path analysis model. Journalism Quarterly, (71)1, 90-98.

Zayani, M. (2008). Arab media, corporate communications, and public relations: The case of Al Jazeera. Asian Journal of Communication, (18)3, 207-222.

Zayani, M. & Sahraoui, S. (2007). The culture of Al-Jazeera: Inside an Arab media giant. Jefferson, NC and London: McFarland and Company.


Search GoogleScholar


Article Details