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Listening Post
The Arab Spring's spin doctors
A look at how embattled Arab governments have employed the services of Western PR companies to clean up their image.
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2012 13:58

Since the beginning of the Arab revolutions, embattled regimes have faced a barrage of criticism in the press. From Tunisia to Bahrain, each piece of news about the uprisings has been fought over in a pitched battle to control the media message.

Operating behind the scenes in these media wars is a coterie of PR firms contracted by Arab governments to counter criticism and to clean up their image.

Consulting companies like the Washington-based Qorvis Communications and the London-based Bell Pottinger have been quietly working for governments in Yemen, Syria and Bahrain.

As the bad press has grown worse for these governments, business has improved for these companies. But their work has pushed them into unfamiliar territory - putting them under the spotlight - and some have had to defend their business deals.

Listening Post's Meenakshi Ravi takes a look at the spin doctors working behind the scenes in the Arab Spring.

"The images, the styled, glamorous images of First Lady Assad attempted to show how she and her family are not very different from the sort of Western upper or upper-middle class family. But when their client is shooting unarmed people in the streets, the integrity of these firms rightly belongs under a microscope."

James Duggan, photojournalist

Source:
Al Jazeera
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