PCST In The Arab World: The Rationality War Online
Author: Boulila Mustapha, Institute of Press and Information Sciences (IPSI), Tunisia
In the digital age, social networks fill the PCST void in the Arab world. Social networks have made science more democratic today than ever before “Arab Spring”. In fact, there appeared since 2012, dozens of Arabic scientific pages which have attracted millions of followers. The twenty-third Facebook page in our ranking has above 100000 fans, exceeding the number of readers of all the Arab scientific paper magazines combined. Despite the war in Syria, some 50 young people from Damascus launched a scientific page that reached more than one million fans. In the same way, the number of fans of National Geographic Abu-Dhabi channel exceeded 55 millions surpassing its US counterpart, reflecting
the Arab public’s thirst for science.
In the traditional mass media, para sciences dominate the scientific discourse in the Arab world, with support of the current of scientific miracles in the Koran, and that of the Intelligent Design of the universe, through the conservative control of the traditional media, where we find only one scientific television channel against 112 religious ones. And 20% of publishing houses and printing presses specialised in printing yellow books. Scientific and environmental journals are issued only in 5 out of 22 Arab countries, where 13 magazines have, combined, a circulation of one hundred thousand copies per month for a readership of 350 millions people, that is less than 1% of the US share.
There is a wave of growing scepticism about many scientific realities, such as disbelieving the rotation of the Earth around the sun, the prohibition to travel to Mars, the reject of the theory of evolution, and the call of “Salafist movement” for drinking camel urine as a drug in accordance with the Prophet’s alleged medicine. Science is at the centre of the battle of modernity on the southern bank of the Mediterranean.