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Embrace YouTube

July 12, 2011

Former Al-Jazeera anchor Lina Zahr Ad-Din is coming out with a new book that says the largest Arab news network’s standards have depreciated because of reliance on YouTube videos. I don’t think she could be more wrong, especially in the Arab world.

What good is authentication when governments knowingly manipulate the media and citizens? And, for that matter, those governments bar access to citizens in the form of limiting free speech, especially that which is critical of the government.

Arab governments have long placed restrictions on media — in Syria, foreign journalists are banned and much of the reporting has come from Lebanon — so YouTube videos and tweets from the Arab street are the only way to get the other half of the story. Many times — especially now — it is the only way to get the story at all.

From Angry Arab News Service:

 She says that most of the coverage is now driven from YouTube clips and that in the old days, editors at Aljazeera would not even allow use of YouTube footage unless verified and checked and authenticated.

Ad-Din is stuck in the past with her idea of journalism. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media have bridged the gap between oppressive governments, free speech and the media. Al-Jazeera was lauded for the first major news organization to embrace this, and it helped spur the Arab Spring. Good riddance to Ad-Din.

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