2016: Volume 9, Issue 2, pp. 99-113

Professionalism vs. Popularity: 
The Shift in Ethics of Interviewing in Arab Media

Abdulrahman Alfahad


This paper examines recent changes that have occurred in broadcast interviews in the Arab world, particularly in the Saudi context. Many previous studies have pointed out that interviewers ought to adhere to strict standards relating to neutrality and professionalism. These include withholding their own personal opinions, using impersonal expressions when delivering criticisms, giving guests sufficient opportunity to reply to questions, and similar strategies that have been examined. However, this study shows that some Arab interviewers have begun to adopt new strategies that ignore the traditional turn-taking in media interviews, using a very relaxed system of turn-taking, which is new to Arab audiences. This new environment allows activities that do not normally appear in Arab traditional shows, such as using taboo words and offensive language, showing overt racism towards their guests and drawing audiences outside the studio into the conflict. This shift has led to higher viewing figures for these shows in the contemporary market-oriented mediascape, even though they fail to respect core ethical standards.


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