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answerable to the socialist revolution. Although the multiparty environment created in1989 introduced a private press, it has failed so far to promote dialogue and possiblereconciliation with the Islamic Salvation Front (
Gabhat Al Tahrir Al Islamieh
) (Azzi,1998). The Bourkiba regime in Tunisia tolerated an opposition press but succeeded inmaking it loyal to and supportive of the government in spite of the fact that such orga-nizations were generally privately owned. The King Hassan regime in Morocco came toa similar accommodation with its anti-government press; the media in general have beenconditioned by the political principles of the monarchy (Azzi, 1998).
Arab Journalists and Freedom of Expression
Many journalists of this era fled their countries in search of better opportunities and ahealthier press environment. These journalists saw a favorable chance in the oil boom inthe Gulf states during the 1970s and took up positions in newspapers created by newoil wealth. There, however, they encountered the traditional and rigid press censorshipsystem of the Gulf countries (S. Essoulami, personal interview, January 26, 2001).Arab journalists have the potential to promote change and influence public reactionto change, but they still face many problems and challenges, among them the political,cultural, and economic environment in which the Arab media function and perform. Atthe end of a millennium marked so strongly by the effects of technological change, journalists, publishers, and other media practitioners in the Arab world continue to bevictims of harassment and political pressures, including dismissal, censorship, restraintson travel, physical assault, threats, arrest, detention, torture, abduction, passport with-drawals, and exile (S. Essoulami, personal interview, January 26, 2001). In addition, journalists everywhere in the world find themselves in the midst of an information andcommunication revolution; they must perform and compete not only for their own per-sonal survival but also for the good of the media. However, as nations around the worldprivatize media systems, restructure media industries, realign and merge their mediaenterprises, and revitalize freedom of expression to succeed in a shrinking world, Arab journalists remain handicapped by worn-out political systems, unchanging economic models,inferior media structures and performance, and the absence of the freedoms needed toadvance their media (Amin, 2000).The political culture of the Arab world determines the success or failure of the Arabmedia. Along with such problems as low salaries, a lack of adequate legal protection,excessive bureaucracy, and administrative constraints that affect journalists’ performanceand make them vulnerable to possible conflicts of interest and outright corruption, moregeneral economic, political, and cultural concerns also limit their freedom of expression.Although all constitutions in the Arab world clearly guarantee freedom of expression(Hafez, 1993) along with other general freedoms, the laws also usually include numer-ous restrictions that give the government the authority to act against any violations (Napoli& Amin, 1997). Moreover, the structural constraints of the Arab world’s political sys-tems, specifically the penetration and domination of the government in all sectors of society, economics, and politics, hinder development of a free press by influencing theminds of journalists who may deal with any issue of relative sensitivity (AbuZeid,1991).
Political Culture in the Arab World
Political scientists describe the term “political culture” as the values, norms, beliefs,sentiments, and understanding of how power and authority operate within a particular