Van de web log van Harald Doornbos, Midden-Oosten correspondent:
I feel in a positive mood, so hence the above title. As promised before, I'll sometimes post here something about the Arab Media.
But first this: There are NO good Arab newspapers. These are not my words - but of media specialists here in Beirut (who are all Arabs themselves).
Still - and that explains the positive mood - some papers are actually pretty ok.
Forget most stuff in Arabic, because it's all connected to a certain political party, royal family or some kind of loonie-toonie local sheik.
As mentioned a couple of days ago - one of the main problems is that most papers are made by unprofessional journalists. Result: don't waste your time.
Even a newspaper like the Daily Star (Lebanese daily) is actually a rather crappy paper. The only thing they basically do is publish AP and AFP stories. And everyday one extremely uninteresting culture-page and a sudoku. So only for people whose hobby is "collecting news wire stories one day after they were published for free on the Internet" it is advisable to read the Daily Star. Even better: Patients with serious insomnia can be cured by reading not less than five, bur for sure not more than seven Daily Star culture pages. According to medical reports: reading more than seven might be dangerous. At the other hand - Daily Star every now and then has a nice "own" story about some developments in Lebanon. More 'then' though than 'now'.
First of all - surprise surprise - a Saudi paper called Arab News. It is absolutely not independent (pro royal family), but the stories are nicely written and give some nice insides into Saudi life. (links follow below)
Second: The Asia Times. Very, very nice Internet only paper for people who really wanna know what's going on in the Middle East, South Asia and rest Asia. Really excellent stuff. Kind of always anti-Bush, but at least they've got a point.
And third (but for sure the best): Dawn, Pakistan's most influential newspaper (in English). Ok, Pakistan isn't the Arab world, but Dawn is a newspaper that Arabs can be jealous off. Highly critical of the Musharraf government, Jehadi groups etc, actually damn fair reporting. (the only thing I miss in Dawn are these little 'colour' articles - much of it is just news). But if you wanna follow developments in one of the worlds most crucial countries (I mean, almost every terror plot has a Pakistani link) you have to read Dawn. The Dawn guys manage everyday to produce an e-paper (an exact copy of the whole, print paper). And the best thing you can access it for FREE. Just register (takes a minute) and you can read Dawn on your laptop as if you were living in Islamabad. Dawn is great - even many Dutch newspapers don't provide this e-paper service. So: Pakistan Zindabad!
Very rarely ok'ish: Daily Star from Lebanon.
And for all Iranian, Syrian, Jordanian, Iraqi, Lybian, Afghani and many other publications, the following link might be useful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insomnia