The Arab media revolution

On: September 12, 2010
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About Laila Koubia
From Dutch/Moroccan background // Female // BA in Communication and Multimedia Design // working experience in narrowcasting // freelance multimedia designer // MA New Media student at the UvA // ------ BA in Communication and Multimedia Design at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Worked three years as administrator of a narrowcasting system and editor in chief of a studentTV station [H/TV]. Since 2007 freelance multimedia designer at LK Design [lailakoubia.com]. Interest goes out to the use of media in non-western countries (particularly Arab countries), media ethics, media in education, media-art, surveillance…

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Since there have been inventions for the use of communication amongst the human race there have been institutions, governments and corporations trying to control them. As Noam Chomsky cites: ‘Unless people are controlled, they are going to challenge power’. The same goes for media in my opinion: unless it’s controlled, it’s going to challenge the established power.

Now if we look at the situation in the pan-Arabic world we see a shift from government controlled media to media controlled by corporate companies (founded by mostly royal families and leaders). Where before there was a government controlled censorship, we’ve seen since the early 1990’s a change in the media landscape in the Arab world. Al Jazeera, a 24-hours news channel founded in 1996, and satellite television brought more diversity to the news in the Arab world.

Dialogue is being stimulated, and more news channels provide different perspectives on different issues. Next to that there is also the internet, everybody who has access to the internet can contribute to the dialoge. With social media coming up with an important key-role in the Arab world, social media is likely to play an important part in the media consumption of the Arab world. According to Maryam Bin Fahad, Executive Director of the Dubai Press Club, the third Arab Arab Media ForumMedia Outlook has shown a fast growing popularity of social media in the Arab World.

There is also a rise of different sounds from higher ground. Take as an example Queen Rania of Jordan, one of the most media conscious royalties of the Middle-East. She continiously emphasizes on the importance of media consciousness and the use of media. She’s also one of the most popular Twitter celebrities [@queenrania]- or we could turn it the other way around: because of Twitter she is one of the most popular celebrities.

What we can say is that the media, particularly participatory media have provided the Arab media scape with another sound and it will keep doing that.

Interesting reading related to this subject>> New Media and the New Middle East

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