The Middle East region is interesting in the immense conflict that dominates the area. This conflict has mainly arisen due to ideological rifts caused by the region’s dominant religion, Islam. While the two main divides in Islam are between Sunni and Shia muslims, there are also multiple other rifts created by various interpretations of the religion as well. This has had major impacts on the media systems of the region.
The majority of nations in the Middle East have very little media freedom. This is reflected in the Freedom House press freedom score of 5% given to the region. Heavily restricted by their respective governments, as well as threats by the various terrorist organizations that said governments support, the media can’t say much about the true problems in the area.
However, there are some beacons of hope. A fairly new nation in the region, Israel, has a fully functioning democracy, and has very strong press freedom. Al Jazeera, an extra-national media organization, strives to provide legitimate news from an eastern perspective to both the Middle East, and the nations of the west. Because of this, it is currently the most consumed media organization in the Arab world.
Evidently, while there are some small slivers of free media in the Middle East, the region is far from having even a somewhat free media scope overall. The sheer amount of conflict and anti-democratic principles that dominate the area makes little room for press freedom. With such deep ideological roots, change in this front doesn’t seem likely any time soon.