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July 11th, 2011
Dishing Democracy
Introduction

“A rare and welcome program that allows Arab men and women to present themselves
as three-dimensional human beings and discuss social and personal issues without
refracting their stories through the lens of politics or the fear of terrorism”

–United Feature Syndicate

About the Film

Across the Arab world, the impact of satellite TV has been profound. More than a decade after what is often described as the Arab satellite revolution, satellite channels have created a virtual Arab metropolis exploring new ideas, pushing boundaries and encouraging debate — from the ground up. Before the advent of satellite dishes, most Arab viewers depended on terrestrial state television, which meant few channels and some form of government oversight of everything that went to air. Since 1990, the number of satellite channels sky-rocketed from one to more than two hundred today. The outcome was the introduction of independent journalism in the Arab world that includes live reports from the field, news analysis, and talk shows that bring political debate and taboo subjects like homosexuality, polygamy, wife battering, and equality between the sexes into the public spotlight.

About the Film

WIDE ANGLE goes behind the scenes at Arab television channel MBC in Cairo for an inside look at the hit all-female talk show, KALAM NAWAEM. The film provides a nuanced portrait of four Arab women harnessing the power of transnational satellite TV to boldly and effectively push social reform. With exclusive access to both the private and the professional lives of the hosts and producers, the cameras capture censorship discussions, tension and camaraderie in the dressing room, and viewer reactions on the Arab street.

  • Ray Thomson

    Although it is not as fully democratic as in the western world, I did not realize how much freedom these women can express such taboo topics on television. Will this program be rebroadcasted?

  • Michael Casper

    I teach Middle East Culture and Society at Western International University in Phoenix, Arizona, and I am trying to find out how I might purchase a DVD of this film, or if I can arrange to buy a copy directly from the producer/director.

  • Hope Fitzgerald

    To Michael Casper: Our library at U Iowa just purchased this program on DVD and I’m planning to use it in classes, too. What a great episode. We got it through Insight Media. I hope that’s not considered to be an advertisement–just want to let you know where to get it.

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