Watch now: “Community Media and the Arab Spring” – Plenary Session No. 2.

The location of the CMFE conference in a country which symbolises the crossroads of the Mediterranean inevitably brings our attention to the Arab Spring that has dominated the international news for much of 2011. Social and community media have been at the heart of many of the events as they have unfolded, providing access to independent news and information, a place to organise and a focus for media reform demands. This panel brings together community media activists from Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine to share their experience and to engage with the European community media movement. An opportunity to strengthen bridges and reinforce the contribution of community media to freedom, rights, justice and democracy.

Discussants:

Fahem Boukadous, Radio Sawt Al Manajem (Voice of the Mines), Tunisia, and Francesco Diasio, AMARC Europe/IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group

People’s Media and the Tunisian Revolution

The Tunisian Revolution of 2011 unfolded at lightning pace after street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself on 17 December 2010 in response to petty harassment and humiliation by state officials in Sidi Bouzid. He died in hospital 18 days later. His act of self immolation triggered widespread protests forcing the dictator Ben Ali to flee the country and setting in motion a wave of protest across the Arab world that can be considered a “revolutionary rivalry” or positive competition for social and political change. This presentation traces the genesis of the Tunisian Revolution to earlier popular protests including the Gafsa revolts of 2008 and examines the role of “people’s media”, including Tunisia’s cyber-dissidents, satellite television channels and Facebook groups that were able to get around the severe restrictions on freedom of expression imposed by the former regime. It reflects on the challenge of transition and Tunisia’s progress in building a new media environment.

Fahem Boukadous is an independent Tunisian journalist and General Manager of Radio Sawt Al Manajem (Voice of the Mines), Gafsa. In January 2010 he was sentenced to four years in prison for promoting activist journalism, in a trial that lasted just five minutes. He was released 5 days after the fall of the dictator.

Francesco Diasio is an Italian journalist involved in community media and freedom of expression since two decades. His involvement in Tunisia started in 2005, with the support of independent media initiatives through political lobby and on the ground initiatives. He is the current Secretary of AMARC Europe.

Ahmed Samih, Radio Horytna, Egypt

Radio Horytna – Voices for Egyptian Freedom

In 2007 a group of young journalists in Cairo, dissatisfied by the mainstream Egyptian press, decided to start their own radio station, which they called Horytna – ‘Our Freedom’. Unable to gain a broadcast frequency they launched the station on the Internet, not only as a live audio stream but also developing the use of blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The station has gathered a loyal following, tackling controversial topics and encouraging young people to become politically active. It has become the voice of a new generation fighting for its place in society. Radio Horytna was among the first media on the scene when protestors occupied Tahrir Square on 25 January. With reporters in the Square and studios in an old building, just a few blocks away, Radio Horytna brought news from the heart of the Egyptian Revolution as it unfolded. This case study examines the role and impact of social and community media in Egypt and their importance in the context of the forthcoming elections.

Ahmed Samih is Director of the Cairo-based Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies and Founder of RadioRadio Horytna, Egypt’s first Internet radio.

Sawsan Zaideh, Vice-President MENA region, AMARC International / Radio Al Balad, Jordan

Social movements / social media a Jordanian perspective

This paper presents the role of community and social media in promoting social movements and their demands for reform in Jordan. Community and social media have played a major role in covering demonstrations freely. Community radio Al-Balad allocates much of its air time to live reports of protests, workers’ strikes and cultural activities demanding social and political reform. It works with a network of community and university radio stations, correspondents and citizen journalists. Facebook and Twitter are tools of change for youth movements in the region. Al-Balad radio and the wiki-blogs website 7iber.com are working to expand the impact of social media activism by monitoring and disseminating their content. The challenge now is to go beyond the virtual world and create forums for young activists to meet face-to-face and discuss their views on political, economic and social reform. There is a role for AMARC and others to facilitate regional networking among Arab world social media activists to enable exchanges and to learn from others experience.

Sawsan Zaideh is Vice-President for MENA region on AMARC International Board and Producer of Eye on the Media radio program for Radio Al Balad, the first community radio in Jordan and the first Internet-based radio in the Arab region.

Lina Chawaf, Radio Arabesque, Syria

Social media and the Syrian struggle

Lina Chawaf is a writer and broadcaster, and founder of Syria’s first private radio station, Radio Arabesque.

Muhamed Mahmoud Abu Janah, Shabab Libya FM, Libya (tbc)

Daoud Kuttab, AmmanNet/Radio Al Balad, Jordan

Media and Political Pluralism after the Arab Spring

Many Palestinians are talking publicly about the need to create new political parties different in structure, ideology and working procedures from the present set of nationalist or Islamic factions. Such scepticism about existing political configurations is not unique to Palestine. It can be argued that the absence of genuine political pluralism has been the major problem facing the Arab world. While those in power are working tirelessly to ensure that new electoral policies reinforce the status quo, young people in the Arab world who have been credited with creating the revolution seem unable to cause deep changes. To remedy this problem, some civil society activists have begun to educate themselves and their community in such political procedures and their consequences. A pluralistic multiparty system continues to be the best guarantee that the voices of Arab citizens will be respected and that change will be allowed to see the light, whether in a temporary process or in the long term. But political pluralism is only sustainable if accompanied by pluralism and independence of the media. The vital role of community media is to reach beyond the urban elites.

Daoud Kuttab is an award winning journalist and a leading community media activist. He is founder of AmmanNet and Radio Al Balad based in Amman, Jordan and General Manager of Penmedia, a Palestinian media NGO, based in Ramallah.

Concluding remarks: Emmanuel Boutterin, Vice President, AMARC International

Emmanuel Boutterin, magistrate, is the Vice-president of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC). He is notably responsible for the MENA regional zone of operation, as well as occupying the role of President of the Syndicat National des Radios Libres in France (Europe’s largest federation of community radios and associates), and being a member of the Conseil Supérieur de la Propriété Littéraire et Artistique as a representative on broadcasting. Founded in 1983, AMARC unites over 4000 community radios, federations, experts and partners of community media across 114 countries. It promotes the right to freedom of expression on an international, national and local level, working within towns, rural areas, and in sensitive zones across the world. AMARC’s goal is to defend and promote the interests of community radios based on the principles of solidarity and international cooperation

Chair: Steve Buckley, former President – AMARC/Mission leader for IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group on freedom of expression.

Steve Buckley is a communication rights activist and former President of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC). He has been involved for over ten years in supporting media reform in the Arab world including as a founder and mission leader for IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group on freedom of expression.

This panel is organized by the World Association of Community Radio broadcasters (AMARC) in collaboration with CMFE, and the support of IMS, AMARC and the Europe for Citizens Programme (EACEA)

watch live now: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cmfe

The location of the CMFE conference in a country which symbolises the crossroads of the Mediterranean inevitably brings our attention to the Arab Spring that has dominated the international news for much of 2011. Social and community media have been at the heart of many of the events as they have unfolded, providing access to independent news and information, a place to organise and a focus for media reform demands. This panel brings together community media activists from Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine to share their experience and to engage with the European community media movement. An opportunity to strengthen bridges and reinforce the contribution of community media to freedom, rights, justice and democracy.

Discussants:

Fahem Boukadous, Radio Sawt Al Manajem (Voice of the Mines), Tunisia, and Francesco Diasio, AMARC Europe/IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group

People’s Media and the Tunisian Revolution

The Tunisian Revolution of 2011 unfolded at lightning pace after street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself on 17 December 2010 in response to petty harassment and humiliation by state officials in Sidi Bouzid. He died in hospital 18 days later. His act of self immolation triggered widespread protests forcing the dictator Ben Ali to flee the country and setting in motion a wave of protest across the Arab world that can be considered a “revolutionary rivalry” or positive competition for social and political change. This presentation traces the genesis of the Tunisian Revolution to earlier popular protests including the Gafsa revolts of 2008 and examines the role of “people’s media”, including Tunisia’s cyber-dissidents, satellite television channels and Facebook groups that were able to get around the severe restrictions on freedom of expression imposed by the former regime. It reflects on the challenge of transition and Tunisia’s progress in building a new media environment.

Fahem Boukadous is an independent Tunisian journalist and General Manager of Radio Sawt Al Manajem (Voice of the Mines), Gafsa. In January 2010 he was sentenced to four years in prison for promoting activist journalism, in a trial that lasted just five minutes. He was released 5 days after the fall of the dictator.

Francesco Diasio is an Italian journalist involved in community media and freedom of expression since two decades. His involvement in Tunisia started in 2005, with the support of independent media initiatives through political lobby and on the ground initiatives. He is the current Secretary of AMARC Europe.

Ahmed Samih, Radio Horytna, Egypt

Radio Horytna – Voices for Egyptian Freedom

In 2007 a group of young journalists in Cairo, dissatisfied by the mainstream Egyptian press, decided to start their own radio station, which they called Horytna – ‘Our Freedom’. Unable to gain a broadcast frequency they launched the station on the Internet, not only as a live audio stream but also developing the use of blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The station has gathered a loyal following, tackling controversial topics and encouraging young people to become politically active. It has become the voice of a new generation fighting for its place in society. Radio Horytna was among the first media on the scene when protestors occupied Tahrir Square on 25 January. With reporters in the Square and studios in an old building, just a few blocks away, Radio Horytna brought news from the heart of the Egyptian Revolution as it unfolded. This case study examines the role and impact of social and community media in Egypt and their importance in the context of the forthcoming elections.

Ahmed Samih is Director of the Cairo-based Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies and Founder of RadioRadio Horytna, Egypt’s first Internet radio.

Sawsan Zaideh, Vice-President MENA region, AMARC International / Radio Al Balad, Jordan

Social movements / social media a Jordanian perspective

This paper presents the role of community and social media in promoting social movements and their demands for reform in Jordan. Community and social media have played a major role in covering demonstrations freely. Community radio Al-Balad allocates much of its air time to live reports of protests, workers’ strikes and cultural activities demanding social and political reform. It works with a network of community and university radio stations, correspondents and citizen journalists. Facebook and Twitter are tools of change for youth movements in the region. Al-Balad radio and the wiki-blogs website 7iber.com are working to expand the impact of social media activism by monitoring and disseminating their content. The challenge now is to go beyond the virtual world and create forums for young activists to meet face-to-face and discuss their views on political, economic and social reform. There is a role for AMARC and others to facilitate regional networking among Arab world social media activists to enable exchanges and to learn from others experience.

Sawsan Zaideh is Vice-President for MENA region on AMARC International Board and Producer of Eye on the Media radio program for Radio Al Balad, the first community radio in Jordan and the first Internet-based radio in the Arab region.

Lina Chawaf, Radio Arabesque, Syria

Social media and the Syrian struggle

Lina Chawaf is a writer and broadcaster, and founder of Syria’s first private radio station, Radio Arabesque.

Muhamed Mahmoud Abu Janah, Shabab Libya FM, Libya (tbc)

Daoud Kuttab, AmmanNet/Radio Al Balad, Jordan

Media and Political Pluralism after the Arab Spring

Many Palestinians are talking publicly about the need to create new political parties different in structure, ideology and working procedures from the present set of nationalist or Islamic factions. Such scepticism about existing political configurations is not unique to Palestine. It can be argued that the absence of genuine political pluralism has been the major problem facing the Arab world. While those in power are working tirelessly to ensure that new electoral policies reinforce the status quo, young people in the Arab world who have been credited with creating the revolution seem unable to cause deep changes. To remedy this problem, some civil society activists have begun to educate themselves and their community in such political procedures and their consequences. A pluralistic multiparty system continues to be the best guarantee that the voices of Arab citizens will be respected and that change will be allowed to see the light, whether in a temporary process or in the long term. But political pluralism is only sustainable if accompanied by pluralism and independence of the media. The vital role of community media is to reach beyond the urban elites.

Daoud Kuttab is an award winning journalist and a leading community media activist. He is founder of AmmanNet and Radio Al Balad based in Amman, Jordan and General Manager of Penmedia, a Palestinian media NGO, based in Ramallah.

Concluding remarks: Emmanuel Boutterin, Vice President, AMARC International

Emmanuel Boutterin, magistrate, is the Vice-president of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC). He is notably responsible for the MENA regional zone of operation, as well as occupying the role of President of the Syndicat National des Radios Libres in France (Europe’s largest federation of community radios and associates), and being a member of the Conseil Supérieur de la Propriété Littéraire et Artistique as a representative on broadcasting. Founded in 1983, AMARC unites over 4000 community radios, federations, experts and partners of community media across 114 countries. It promotes the right to freedom of expression on an international, national and local level, working within towns, rural areas, and in sensitive zones across the world. AMARC’s goal is to defend and promote the interests of community radios based on the principles of solidarity and international cooperation

Chair: Steve Buckley, former President – AMARC/Mission leader for IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group on freedom of expression.

Steve Buckley is a communication rights activist and former President of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC). He has been involved for over ten years in supporting media reform in the Arab world including as a founder and mission leader for IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group on freedom of expression.

This panel is organized by the World Association of Community Radio broadcasters (AMARC) in collaboration with CMFE, and the support of IMS, AMARC and the Europe for Citizens Programme (EACEA)

The location of the CMFE conference in a country which symbolises the crossroads of the Mediterranean inevitably brings our attention to the Arab Spring that has dominated the international news for much of 2011. Social and community media have been at the heart of many of the events as they have unfolded, providing access to independent news and information, a place to organise and a focus for media reform demands. This panel brings together community media activists from Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine to share their experience and to engage with the European community media movement. An opportunity to strengthen bridges and reinforce the contribution of community media to freedom, rights, justice and democracy.

Discussants:

Fahem Boukadous, Radio Sawt Al Manajem (Voice of the Mines), Tunisia, and Francesco Diasio, AMARC Europe/IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group

People’s Media and the Tunisian Revolution

The Tunisian Revolution of 2011 unfolded at lightning pace after street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself on 17 December 2010 in response to petty harassment and humiliation by state officials in Sidi Bouzid. He died in hospital 18 days later. His act of self immolation triggered widespread protests forcing the dictator Ben Ali to flee the country and setting in motion a wave of protest across the Arab world that can be considered a “revolutionary rivalry” or positive competition for social and political change. This presentation traces the genesis of the Tunisian Revolution to earlier popular protests including the Gafsa revolts of 2008 and examines the role of “people’s media”, including Tunisia’s cyber-dissidents, satellite television channels and Facebook groups that were able to get around the severe restrictions on freedom of expression imposed by the former regime. It reflects on the challenge of transition and Tunisia’s progress in building a new media environment.

Fahem Boukadous is an independent Tunisian journalist and General Manager of Radio Sawt Al Manajem (Voice of the Mines), Gafsa. In January 2010 he was sentenced to four years in prison for promoting activist journalism, in a trial that lasted just five minutes. He was released 5 days after the fall of the dictator.

Francesco Diasio is an Italian journalist involved in community media and freedom of expression since two decades. His involvement in Tunisia started in 2005, with the support of independent media initiatives through political lobby and on the ground initiatives. He is the current Secretary of AMARC Europe.

Ahmed Samih, Radio Horytna, Egypt

Radio Horytna – Voices for Egyptian Freedom

In 2007 a group of young journalists in Cairo, dissatisfied by the mainstream Egyptian press, decided to start their own radio station, which they called Horytna – ‘Our Freedom’. Unable to gain a broadcast frequency they launched the station on the Internet, not only as a live audio stream but also developing the use of blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The station has gathered a loyal following, tackling controversial topics and encouraging young people to become politically active. It has become the voice of a new generation fighting for its place in society. Radio Horytna was among the first media on the scene when protestors occupied Tahrir Square on 25 January. With reporters in the Square and studios in an old building, just a few blocks away, Radio Horytna brought news from the heart of the Egyptian Revolution as it unfolded. This case study examines the role and impact of social and community media in Egypt and their importance in the context of the forthcoming elections.

Ahmed Samih is Director of the Cairo-based Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies and Founder of RadioRadio Horytna, Egypt’s first Internet radio.

Sawsan Zaideh, Vice-President MENA region, AMARC International / Radio Al Balad, Jordan

Social movements / social media a Jordanian perspective

This paper presents the role of community and social media in promoting social movements and their demands for reform in Jordan. Community and social media have played a major role in covering demonstrations freely. Community radio Al-Balad allocates much of its air time to live reports of protests, workers’ strikes and cultural activities demanding social and political reform. It works with a network of community and university radio stations, correspondents and citizen journalists. Facebook and Twitter are tools of change for youth movements in the region. Al-Balad radio and the wiki-blogs website 7iber.com are working to expand the impact of social media activism by monitoring and disseminating their content. The challenge now is to go beyond the virtual world and create forums for young activists to meet face-to-face and discuss their views on political, economic and social reform. There is a role for AMARC and others to facilitate regional networking among Arab world social media activists to enable exchanges and to learn from others experience.

Sawsan Zaideh is Vice-President for MENA region on AMARC International Board and Producer of Eye on the Media radio program for Radio Al Balad, the first community radio in Jordan and the first Internet-based radio in the Arab region.

Lina Chawaf, Radio Arabesque, Syria

Social media and the Syrian struggle

Lina Chawaf is a writer and broadcaster, and founder of Syria’s first private radio station, Radio Arabesque.

Muhamed Mahmoud Abu Janah, Shabab Libya FM, Libya (tbc)

Daoud Kuttab, AmmanNet/Radio Al Balad, Jordan

Media and Political Pluralism after the Arab Spring

Many Palestinians are talking publicly about the need to create new political parties different in structure, ideology and working procedures from the present set of nationalist or Islamic factions. Such scepticism about existing political configurations is not unique to Palestine. It can be argued that the absence of genuine political pluralism has been the major problem facing the Arab world. While those in power are working tirelessly to ensure that new electoral policies reinforce the status quo, young people in the Arab world who have been credited with creating the revolution seem unable to cause deep changes. To remedy this problem, some civil society activists have begun to educate themselves and their community in such political procedures and their consequences. A pluralistic multiparty system continues to be the best guarantee that the voices of Arab citizens will be respected and that change will be allowed to see the light, whether in a temporary process or in the long term. But political pluralism is only sustainable if accompanied by pluralism and independence of the media. The vital role of community media is to reach beyond the urban elites.

Daoud Kuttab is an award winning journalist and a leading community media activist. He is founder of AmmanNet and Radio Al Balad based in Amman, Jordan and General Manager of Penmedia, a Palestinian media NGO, based in Ramallah.

Concluding remarks: Emmanuel Boutterin, Vice President, AMARC International

Emmanuel Boutterin, magistrate, is the Vice-president of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC). He is notably responsible for the MENA regional zone of operation, as well as occupying the role of President of the Syndicat National des Radios Libres in France (Europe’s largest federation of community radios and associates), and being a member of the Conseil Supérieur de la Propriété Littéraire et Artistique as a representative on broadcasting. Founded in 1983, AMARC unites over 4000 community radios, federations, experts and partners of community media across 114 countries. It promotes the right to freedom of expression on an international, national and local level, working within towns, rural areas, and in sensitive zones across the world. AMARC’s goal is to defend and promote the interests of community radios based on the principles of solidarity and international cooperation

Chair: Steve Buckley, former President – AMARC/Mission leader for IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group on freedom of expression.

Steve Buckley is a communication rights activist and former President of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC). He has been involved for over ten years in supporting media reform in the Arab world including as a founder and mission leader for IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group on freedom of expression.

This panel is organized by the World Association of Community Radio broadcasters (AMARC) in collaboration with CMFE, and the support of IMS, AMARC and the Europe for Citizens Programme (EACEA)

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