Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Media boom during Arab Spring - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

What sectors clearly and directly benefited from the events of the Arab Spring? This is an excellent question, particularly in light of the ongoing talk regarding the regional economic destruction and financial ruin that has occurred as a result of the Arab Spring earthquakes. So, in light of all this, how can any sector or sectors have benefited from the Arab Spring?

Perhaps the obvious answer is that the sector that has most benefited from the Arab Spring is the media sector.

In Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, there has been a “volcanic eruption” in the field of media freedoms and freedom of expression in traditional media outlets. This includes newspapers, magazines, radio and television, not to mention more modern media sectors such as social media.

Dozens of neglected and ignored cadres found new career opportunities after different media procedures and methods were permitted, thereby reviving a stagnating and decaying market. Of course, this was not free from errors and mistakes, in the same manner as new business experiments are never free from this, whether they are ultimately beneficial or detrimental. Therefore, the market and the consumer remain the ultimate judge. In this particular case, the increased liquidity in the intensified media coverage was accompanied by numerous transgressions regarding “the truth”, not to mention exaggerations in reporting. Indeed, some things that have been reported have been outright lies, either for well-known purposes, or perhaps for unknown purposes. This is something that has placed huge pressure on the legal and legislative issues regarding the media, not to mention media oversight, preventing the development of media regulations and laws in dealing with new and unprecedented issues.

Despite all these chaotic issues appearing on the media scene, I believe this will be a temporary phenomenon that will eventually be followed by calm and normality. This return to calm and a state of normality will be even more likely if there is adequate training which will generate the minimum requirements of professionalism and competence in this sensitive and precise field.

The people in the Arab world are generally inhibited and suppressed, they have the freedom to criticize others, but they cannot address the issues that affect their own situation and circumstances. Should they dare to do so, this will most likely have a high price on their dignity, freedom and personal situation in general.

In a free state, the media is considered the fourth estate, following the three main authorities, namely the executive, legislative and judicial branches of power. The media has its own special role and position and is well respected, in addition to being an important and influential economic sector in its own right. This is due to the media products that it produces and which are consumed by the general public, not to mention the thousands of industries and services that support media production. These industries and services are integral and require comprehensive cooperation.

The forthcoming period will be defined by major scrutiny for those media outlets that cannot persevere and survive in a fierce and combative market. Failures may be down to poor production or lack of funding or lack of consistency due to old faces leaving and new faces arriving…this is the state of capitalism, whatever the case. Despite the dismal economic scene in the Arab world, the media boom reveals that there are dozens of talented and gifted media outlets that require opportunity, support and funding, and this ultimately translates into opportunities for investment and employment. This is the most important issue that must be paid attention to, and there must be no over-sensitivity in this regard.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

More Posts