Will Social Media Democratize the Arab World?

Will Social Media Democratize the Arab World?

Will Social Media Democratize the Arab World?

Al Jazeera English’s Ahmed Shihab-Eldin explains how social media facilitates political movements in the Arab world.


Al Jazeera English’s Ahmed Shihab-Eldin’s new show, The Stream, which debuts today, has an ambitious goal: Shihab-Eldin wants The Stream to “leverage voices who often don’t make it into mainstream media” by engaging wired communities across the world.

Shihab-Eldin spoke with The Nation at the 2011 National Conference for Media Reform in Boston about how he was one of the few in the media who began to follow Tunisia before it was clear that a revolution was unfolding. He talks about how the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa all began as “popular uprisings,” not religious uprisings. And, he adds that his new show will take a bottom-up look at many of the ongoing uprisings and examine how social media is helping people circumvent oppression.

“The potential democratization of the Arab world is directly related to the potential democratization of media,” concludes Shihab-Eldin.

For more, visit The Stream on Al Jazeera English’s website.

—Kevin Gosztola

Dear reader,

I hope you enjoyed the article you just read. It’s just one of the many deeply reported and boundary-pushing stories we publish every day at The Nation. In a time of continued erosion of our fundamental rights and urgent global struggles for peace, independent journalism is now more vital than ever.

As a Nation reader, you are likely an engaged progressive who is passionate about bold ideas. I know I can count on you to help sustain our mission-driven journalism.

This month, we’re kicking off an ambitious Summer Fundraising Campaign with the goal of raising $15,000. With your support, we can continue to produce the hard-hitting journalism you rely on to cut through the noise of conservative, corporate media. Please, donate today.

A better world is out there—and we need your support to reach it.


Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

Ad Policy