About two months ago Al Mayadeen Media Network launched its English language website.
This is likely to have a positive impact on West Asia’s media landscape in the long-term.
As with most news outlets, the impact will be felt beyond the media and expand into political and social realms.
Thus, from its inception in 2012, Al Mayadeen branded itself as a media outlet geared towards countering the narrative put forward by Washington.
Al Mayadeen’s counter branding of itself as an indigenous voice of the region was not taken seriously at first.
Many did not expect Al Mayadeen to emerge as a credible alternative to the well-financed Al Jazeera and its Western secular narrative.
Fast forward to 2021. Al Mayadeen’s editorial line and its paradigm, at times makes the Qatari Al Jazeera channel look like Washington’s package in indigenous wrapping for Arab audiences.
Al Mayadeen Arabic managed to establish itself as a credible and indigenous voice of the region.
There is no reason to assume that its English service, which is likely to expand in the next few years will not do the same among the English-speaking audience.
Overall, Al Mayadeen’s growing influence is not simply a manifestation of a changing media landscape in West Asia, but a sign of something bigger, namely the decline of Western soft power appeal.
Al Mayadeen is nowhere near as wealthy as Al Jazeera, CNN or the BBC.
The network also does not enjoy a favorable position in the corridors of power of regional and non-regional governments.
Thus, its journalistic work, which is dependent on access to information is severely restricted when compared to its competitors.
Nevertheless, the network continues to surprise viewers with professional journalistic work and realistic assessments.
While Al Mayadeen is unlikely to focus greatly on increasing influence among the English-speaking audience, since its focus is mainly on Arabic viewers, the launch of its English website signals the network’s confidence in its perspective.
It is safe to assume that if Al Mayadeen manages to include some critical coverage of its own perspectives, the network will continue to gain popularity as it will begin to appeal to viewers outside of its immediate audience.
It should be noted that one of Al Jazeera’s key strengths is its ability to camouflage its narrative by giving detractors of the Western imposed global order limited voice.
It allows the network financed by an autocratic monarchy to appear objective and geared towards press freedom.
As all media is essentially propaganda, if Al Mayadeen manages to project itself as partially self-critical, it has the required capabilities to outperform Al Jazeera.
Its message is rooted in the region’s indigenous paradigm, and it is not directly linked to any governmental entity.