The Arab world continues to lag behind the rest of
the globe in civil and political rights, including press freedom.
Despotic regimes of varying political shades regularly limit news that
they think will undermine their power. Hopes that a new generation of
leaders would tolerate criticism in the press have proved illusory,
with many reforms rolled back in 2002. Meanwhile, the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been deadly for journalists and
remains the dominant news story for local and Pan-Arab media, which
have aggressively covered the fighting's violent twists and turns,
winning influence in the Arab world and beyond.