The Impact of US Public Diplomacy in the Gulf (An Investigation of Radio Sawa)

Mahmoud M, Galander (PhD


In the aftermath of 9/11, and the ensuing wars in the Middle East, the United States made tremendous efforts to improve its image in the Arab and Muslim worlds and win "Middle Eastern hearts and minds"1. Such efforts included the establishment of three media outlets; a magazine, a radio and a TV station.  Though one of these outlets, Hi Magazine, nolonger publishes, radio SAWA and Al-Hurra TV are well into their fourth and third year, consecutively, in operation. Though several western studies have attempted to test the position of the two media, this exploratory study, which investigates the level of listenership to Radio SAWA and its impact on the youth in Qatar, is one of the few region-based looks into the radio station's place and impact. Such an independent investigation of the impact of the radio is due in the wake of the controversy stirred by the claims and counter-claims of success and failure exchanged between the proponents and opponents of the station. The study provides only a preliminary look into the station, but aspires to develop itself into a cross-regional investigation with the collaboration of interested scholarly colleagues in the region.

1 Corey Pein, (May-June 2005) America's Faltering Voice. Columbia Journalism Review, Available at

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