Young Arabs have little time or respect for their traditional news media. They took to the streets because they refused to put up with the humiliating subservience and dehumanization that the controlling regimes and their savage media practices subjected them to—practices that their parents and elders could not protect them from. Nearly half of all Arabs between the ages of 15 and 29 say they have little or no faith in their country’s news media, according to recent Gallup surveys. The first task of journalists is to re-establish the relevance and credibility of news media with the half of Arab society who are under the age of 30.
Rami G. Khouri, Director, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at American University in Beirut, gives Middle Eastern and North African news organizations advice on how to improve their relevancy in rapidly changing media and political environments. Arab Media: Rebuilding Trust With Their Public.
Sidenote: In 2003-2004 I worked for an English-language paper in Saudi Arabia. When I asked native Arabic speakers on staff why they preferred reporting in English they generally answered that English-language media was considered more trustworthy than the local Arab press. — Michael
The internet helped to speed up things. But the revolution would have taken place without it.
Hossam al-Hamalawy, an Egyptian blogger at 3arabawy.
Memeburn reports that 200 bloggers from the Middle East and North Africa are gathering in Tunis to discuss the role online activism and social media has in political change.
According to event organiser and administrator of Tunisian site Nawaat, Malek Khadroui, the bloggers will focus on the role of cyberactivists in a period of political transition.
“It is an exceptional meeting. There have been three Arab revolutions and the majority of the invited bloggers have been involved in these revolutions, which will allow them to meet and develop solidarity networks,” he said.
We will reflect together on new challenges facing movements in countries like Syria, Bahrain, Yemen,” Khadraoui added, underlining the symbolism of holding the meeting in Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring.
One topic which the bloggers will focus on is their continuing role in political life. This is particularly relevant to seven of the Tunisian bloggers who are candidates in the upcoming constituent assembly elections.
The focus on technology in the international media may also misrepresent the character of liberation movements — hiding, for example, the important role played by women in the Arab Spring…
…While social media undoubtedly shaped the unfolding of liberation struggles in the Middle East and North Africa, to say that these were Facebook or Twitter revolutions is misleading. The focus on technical aspects of the Arab Spring marginalizes and minimizes the role of traditional organizing and downplays the risks and commitments made by ordinary people who put themselves, embodied and in real time, on the line for freedom.
The most troubling aspect of the myopic focus on “Liberation Technology” is the suggestion that if you add internet, you can produce instant revolution.
I can tell you that thanks to technology dictators can’t get a good night’s sleep.