Reviewed by Ehab Hamdi, Alexandria University.
Mellor, Noha. The Making of Arab News. Roman& Littlefield Publishers,
Inc.2005 ISBN 0-7425-3818-4(cloth: alk.paper)—ISBN 0-7425-3819-
. The aim of this book is to shed light on the current
news value of the Arab news media
.To emphasize the frame of these values, a
comparative approach was adopted, relating Arab
news values to American news values.
The book argues that news values in the Arab media
share some characteristics with the news values
known from The American news media.
Mellor begins her book with a chapter titled: The
Arab region: similarities and Differences
After reviewing the existing statistics she tried to
give the reader a background about the freedom of
expression, Literacy rates, and Access to media in
the Arab countries.
Freedom Index of Arab
31-60 Partly Free
61-100 Not Free
Freedom House report
year # of dailies
Of world Total in %
1975 108 3.0 1.4
1985 125 6.4 1.48
1996 140 140 1.66
While the main thesis of the book is the Arab news
values the book gives a lot of details about the
History of Arab news, In the second chapter Mellor
refers to the historical development of the Arab
Beginning from the poetry as one important means
of communication in the Arab world prior to Islamic
era until the establishment of the first Arabic
newspaper in the region Al Tanbeeh during the
short French rule of Egypt.
The Book introduced criticism for the" shortcomings" of
Rugh s theory and his Typology of Arab Press into four types:
Mobilized press in Syria, Libya, and the Sudan, where the
national governments use the media as a political
Loyalist press in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Palestine, Bahrain,
Qatar, and UAE. Here, an amount of freedom is granted to
the press and private ownership is allowed .
Diverse press in Kuwait, Morocco, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon,
characterized by less authoritarianism and a diversity of
Transitional press systems in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan and
Tunisia, of which transition to a different type of system.
In Chapter 4, the book examines news values in
contemporary Arab media, focusing on four major criteria:
abundance of political news, the social responsibility of the
news, prominence, and newness. A comparative approach
was adopted to help locate the similarities and differences
between American and Arab news values.
In sum, it can be argued that there is a form of "value
convergence" where news values from western news media
affect the traditional values of the Arab media. Moreover,
the news media in both regions seem to adopt the same
principle of objectivity.
One of the book's greatest achievements is shedding light on
the news genre in the Arab news media and the
development of MSA. It traces the development of this
genre in an attempt to identify a clear definition of news and
its major characteristics both as a textual and a social
Anyone who is interested in contemporary Arab media will
undoubtedly find this short book informative. Overall, it is
highly sophisticated and will be of considerable interest to