Last week, my colleagues at the HvA and I again took a look at the Arab Spring from a media perspective. And thanks to our guest lecturer, Leon Willems, we got a great insight into his work at “Free Press Unlimited” (a NGO which tries to strengthen the critical side of media by knowledge transfer, aid and journalistic training) and his point of view.
According to Williams, it was not facebook or Twitter, which fumed the people’s desire to become independent from their government. What happened in the last few months in Northafrika, he would rather call the “Al-Jazeera revolution”.
Of course one can argue differently and Willem’s perspective is with no doubt strongly influenced by his work and what he saw during his journeys to Sudan, Cairo etc. However, taking a look at the work of Al-Jazeera and how it developed since it was founded in 1996, I think one can gain great insight of what role the media company plays in the Arab world.
“You cannot wage a war without rumors, without media, without propaganda.” (Samir Khader, Senior Producer Al-Jazeera). Watch: “Control Room” (2008). The documentary offers a great insight into the daily work of the arab news-channel during the Iraq war.