Revolutionary Media – News in the hands of the people

Yomna Elsayed’s article “Revolutionary Media on a Budget: Facebook-only Social Journalism” brings to light the complex world of amateur journalism that has been fueled by the Arab Spring revolutions. Her assessment of its potential for growth is interesting and brings to light major factors in the media world, including the influence of major news outlets in comparison to these new homegrown sources. The growth of this burgeoning industry can be directly linked to the use of facebook as a major organizational tool during the Arab Spring itself. Since then, citizens seem to have taken it upon themselves to act as the voice of the populace at large, the most extreme case being the rebels in Syria, who post videos regularly of conditions in the country to counter the information being disseminated by the government. The significance of this is interesting. Growth of homegrown news leads to questions of veracity in reports, as well as professionalism and the influence of personal biases on reporting. That said, the prevalence of homegrown media has already been seen in Egypt, along with the potential for exposure  of government policy indirectly. The outcry over the reporting by major news agencies over the arrest of Bassem Youssef came about because of Mr. Youssef’s popularity stemming from development and broadcast of youtube videos prior to the creation of his own program. The direct influence of one citizen on popular culture and regional media is staggering and speaks to the potential for growth of homegrown media throughout the Middle East.


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