Karin Spaink on Sat, 12 Feb 2011 12:01:54 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Old & new media, CNN & Al Jazeera

Many people have commented upon the role of new media in this
uprising. But you can't ignore how important old-fashioned TV has
proven to be: a point first and foremost proven by Al Jazeera, but
also by the interview with Wael Ghonim that Dream TV broadcasted.
After that interview, the uprising definitely became a nation-wide
matter. Ghonim's tears, broadcasted on TV on Monday Feb 7, proved that
this was no foreign uprising, but a revolt of people who love their

Also, many people have drawn easy parallels between CNN in the first
Gulf War in the 90's and Al Jazeera now. Talking in terms of break-
trough, in terms of impact; implying that their reporting of this
event has given Al Jazeera the push, the status, that the Gulf War
gave CNN.

Yes, Al Jazeera has certainly earned itself a prominent place on the
stage of respectable news broadcasters. But the *really* interesting
aspect of their reporting tends to be ignored, and the comparison with
CNN serves to downplay that aspect even more: Al Jazeera has single-
handedly rehabilitated engaged journalism and has shown that you don't
need to pretend impartiality in order to be a good journalist; that
being committed doesn't quench being curious; that 'impartiality' is
often mere laziness, or lack of questioning; and that being engaged
doesn't mean that you're blinded.

Since Jan 28, I've been watching their broadcasts almost non-stop. It
was clear in every item that they made, in every discussion that they
organized, in all the questions that they asked their experts, that
they - as a broadcasting entity - hoped that this uprising would turn
into a revolution, and that they would support that revolution when,
where & however they could. At the same time, they managed to keep
questioning their own alliances, their own hopes. Even journalists
who themselves had been detained and harrassed would strive to keep a
distance - even while they hoped.

Al Jazeera has managed to rejuvenate the concept & the practice of
engaged journalism, and they deserve kudos for that. Many, many kudos.
This revolution might not have made it without their commitment. Also,
they have shown the value of a new kind of journalism.

- K -

I let Jesus in to my heart. Now I've locked him in there and won't let  
him out until you accept my list of demands...
   - Loz, on alt.suicide.holiday, May 8 2001

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