The Business Year

Mostefa Souag

QATAR - Telecoms & IT

Soft Power Source

Acting Director General, Al Jazeera Media Network


Mostefa Souag is currently Acting Director General of Al Jazeera Media Network and Managing Director of Al Jazeera News Channel (Arabic). Prior to this, he had held various positions within the network, including Director of News of Al Jazeera (Arabic) and Media Advisor to the Chairman of the Board for Al Jazeera Media Network. He also served as Director for Al Jazeera Center for Studies and was also based in London as Editorial Bureau Chief. Prior to Al Jazeera Media Network, he worked at the BBC World Service and at the MBC media group. Souag holds a PhD in literary studies, and was professor of Literary Theory at the University of Algiers (Algeria) till 1993. He is fluent in Arabic and English.

How has Al Jazeera worked to embrace new media? Al Jazeera actually started using new media quite early on in this region. The management of Al Jazeera, with the support […]

How has Al Jazeera worked to embrace new media?

Al Jazeera actually started using new media quite early on in this region. The management of Al Jazeera, with the support of our IT people and various other departments, has long acknowledged new media as the future of information dissemination. And when the Arab Spring began, the importance of new media became obvious. From a technological perspective, new media today allows us to obtain information, including data, pictures, and videos, from places that were previously inaccessible, and moreover in a broadcastable format. Social media has become fashionable and is now highly important, if not indispensable, for young people, who spend less and less time watching TV. Therefore, it is crucial for Al Jazeera to reach these potential users via their smartphones, laptops, and tablets. In our programs, even where they maintain a traditional format, you will notice components of new media. We understand that if you want to reach people, you have to speak their language, and social media is the language of the new generation. Even though they may not watch as much TV, they still want to access our content. We have multiple Al Jazeera products that go out online through our websites in both Arabic and English. Today, Al Jazeera America and Al Jazeera Balkans also have websites where people can follow our news content and enjoy streaming and live streaming video options.

What ideas unite your products across all media?

People like Al Jazeera for good reason. First of all, it commands high credibility. People know that if it comes from Al Jazeera, it is true. We don’t manipulate the news, but ensure that everything we put on TV, online, and on other digital platforms is 100% factual. We have no agenda working for political, ideological, or commercial goals. Our purpose is to inform people with real information, plain and simple. We believe that knowledge is the way to empower people, and that’s what we provide. Another factor of importance in our media is timeliness—we bring people the information as it happens. We believe that we are the voice of the voiceless, a platform, if you will, for those who have no platform. We care about people, human rights, democracy, and the right of people to be informed, which underpin all of these considerations. Therefore, we embrace freedom of the press and expression, which is what Al Jazeera is all about.

What is the role of Al Jazeera in supporting Arab media as well as Arabic-language media?

We are in the business of providing information and knowledge to the people. One of the objectives of Qatar is to help the media in both the Arab world and globally to flourish, remain professional, serve the people, and provide citizens all over the world the information they need. This information is a part of what we call soft power, and is important in the modern world. Qatar is providing the world with the valuable service of reliable information, which has earned it a trusted reputation. Significantly, this country has become very important in the mediation of peace due to its reputation for integrity. This is soft power at work. And if you have a strong economy, you also boost this soft power. The strong higher education arena also provides an intellectual base upon which a bright future can be built.



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