17 Mar 2009
Those of us who know Anas' sleep, travel, and work patterns were not surprised to hear that, having just last week finished his PhD, sold his Nissan Micra, packed up after three years in Cardiff, and relocated to his new global HQ in Toronto (from which he will be masterminding Meedan's tech strategy), our good friend pushed directly back to London to sit on two panels today (March 16) at the London Middle East Institute, SOAS conference on Arab Media.
The pan-Arab satellite TV ‘revolution’ turned the Arab media into a subject of worldwide interest due to its perceived political importance. But the media scene in the Arab world has continued to change with the emergence and evolution of internet-based media. Websites, on-line forums, blogs and other new media have become an increasingly significant part of it. Traditional outlets, whether print or broadcast, have had to adapt to retain audiences. The audiences have started interacting with the media in new ways. And internet access has exposed them to an unprecedented quantity and diversity of multilingual inputs from outside the region. While the development of on-line media in the Arab world has been slower than elsewhere, its impact is growing and its potential is great – as evidenced by the marked recent rise in efforts by Arab governments to control or constrain Arab cyberspace.
Anas sat on a panel titled Old and New Media and chaired by Naomi Sakr, from the Arab Media Centre, University of Westminster, which included:
The Emergence of Arabic New Media- Anas Tawileh, Meedan
Arab Publishing and ‘Marketing Myopia’- Faisal Abbas, Asharq al-Awsat
Pan-Arab Television: the Second Generation- Khaled Elshami, Alhiwar TV
The Arab Press in the Internet Age- Maher Othman, al-Quds.com
Going Multi-Platform: the case of BBC Arabic - Hosam El Sokkari, BBC Arabic
New Media and News Coverage: the 2007 Jordanian elections-Deena Dajani, Loughborough University
New Media and News Coverage: Arab social media and the Gaza conflict- Will Ward, Arab Media & Society -(&Meedan Media Database Steward)
Anas also sat on a panel on the Arab Blogosphere chaired by AbuArdvark (aka, the ever-insightful Marc Lynch), which included: Wael Abbas(Egypt); Naseem Tarawneh (Jordan); Olfa Jami (Tunisia); Ali Abdulemam (Bahrain); Maha Taki (Lebanon); and, Anas Tawileh (Syria).
Exciting times for Arab New Media, to be sure. Meedan, I was pleased to hear, was given a very warm reception. Expect a first hand debrief from Anas in the next week or so.