Only now, after years of seeing the area as a war-zone, is the media spotlight also being used favourably to reveal the mysteries of Middle Eastern culture and provide a platform for cultural exchange and greater understanding.

One way of expanding our contact and knowledge would be for the Middle East media to reach out to other countries. It was recently reported that controversial Arab TV network al Jazeera is planning a global expansion, with al Jazeera International, a global English language channel to begin broadcasting by the end of 2005. The network clearly feels it is now a more widely recognised (if often criticised) brand and is seeking to exploit its new-found ‘fame’ to reach out to the West and challenge their misconceptions.

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