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