04 August, 2012

The Arab World's most powerful Voice

Jamal Abdel Nasser
In the late 1950s and 60s, and early 1970s, Jamal Abdel Nasser was the voice that most Arabs looked up to and listened to. Then, he was the most influential, inspirational and most revolutionary in swaying and moving the Arab masses. Though he had and still has many detractors; though some leaders in the region have tried to imitate him and win the same esteem as Nasser had and still has with Arabs; since Nasser's death, no other contemporary Arab leader or figure has risen up to Gamal Abdel Nasser's stature. He was and still is, an icon and a legend throughout the Arab world. Since Nasser's death, the Arab world; especially the simple, ordinary Arab, has had no voice. No voice to look up to or to be influenced or inspired by. Except one. One voice, that has for the last one year - gradually risen, become strong and has been the main moving and potent voice in most streets across the Middle East.

The Television. The TV screen. To be more precise: the screen of TVs, computers and phones. It is through the screen of these contrivances, the TV's in particular - with the Arab youth playing the main role - that the Arab World has been most influenced in the last decade or so; and most inspired in the last one year. In just over one year, it is the TV, through the Youth, that has moved and shaken people around the Middle East, so much, that regimes have been toppled and some are still falling; thousands have died; millions of people's lives have been utterly changed. It is like a tsunami has passed through the Arab World. And, incredibly, mainly because of the TV news and reports. No one ever thought that, the screen of this very common appliance, found in almost every home in the Middle East, could be a most transforming and revolutionary factor as it has been.

Many governments and entities have been taken completely by surprise; many have now woken up and have now realized how powerful and transforming - news, especially through the TV, can be. Some woke up too late and are now no more. Many have now realized that, news can be more powerful than military arsenals; arsenals that are of enormous quantities in the region. Many are now scrambling to set up news channels or to refine and tune up the channels they already own. All these channels; each of these channels, are competing for viewers. All news is edited; and almost all news channels sensationalize, spin reports and try to sway you. Which of these channels, the international ones in particular, does one trust? How honest, unbiased and objective is a channel? The best way to gauge how unbiased, balanced and truthful a news channel is, is when it reports on subjects that you are familiar with or know of. If a channel can report objectively, truthfully, in a balanced way and without bias about a subject or a place that you are familiar with or know of, then most likely, most of its news can, in a way, be trusted. But, then, a news channel can sensationalize and be biased about a certain subject and not another. It all depends on the owners of the channel's aims.

- Photo: Al Ahram