Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Someone who's not impressed with press coverage of the Arab Spring

Chris Doyle writing at Caabu: "how come there was no sense in the press of this impending tempest that has swept away two Presidents, four Prime Ministers, and has shaken every regime from Morocco to Iran?" x
First, the media hunt in packs with international correspondents centred on a few selected global hubs. For the Middle East this has been Jerusalem. The city provides a comfortable centre for journalists, where they can live in comfort with first world luxuries but just a few kilometers from a war zone and occupied territory. There has been a huge focus on Israelā€Palestine which, whilst a major issue, is far from the only one (and even then the coverage quality is poor). However, it is not the most logical place to cover the rest of the Arab World.

Second, the lack of funding in media has constrained coverage. The current wave of simultaneous, dramatic and historic uprisings have presented one of the greatest challenges to international news gathering. ...

Investigative journalism is costly. Look at how many stories of massive corruption have been unearthed during these Arab uprisings. However, I can hardly remember one mention of the Trabelsi family prior to Wikileaks in any western media outlet. The family of the former First Lady of Tunisia was notorious amongst Tunisians who did not need to be told by Julian Assange just how corrupt she and her relatives were.

Third, the media can only cover one major international story at a time. ...

Fourth, there has been an historic absence of Arab voices in the western media. ...

Fifth, much of our media still loves to sensationalise. The best way to do this is through rampant scare mongering. Commentators raise the threat of al Qaida or the Muslim Brotherhood regardless of their involvement. ...

Sixth, much media coverage is either lazy or rushed. ... [T]he worst case of this is by columnists sitting in London, writing about countries they have never visited, and people they barely know.

I'm not familiar with Caabu but it says it's Advancing Arab-British Relation. It's About page isn't much help.



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