The Good Internet Journalists
In the United States the proliferation of news online is at the core of the journalism crisis. How will newspapers make money, how will journalists be compensated, etc.? All very good questions. I believe that these questions have an answer– that there is a solution or an array of solutions to address the transformation that is taking place for news right now.
On the other hand, in other areas of the world, online news is just getting started. What follows? The debacle over freedom of press. I was intrigued to read in the New York Times yesterday, two articles (amongst albeit many examples), of how news in Morocco and Egypt is taking the internet stage.
In Web Offers Voice to Journalists in Morocco, Moroccan print journalist Ali Lmrabet, was charged in 2001 with defamation to the monarchy and in 2005 was barred from exercising his journalism career for 10 years. In the midst of it all, Lmrabet’s magazine Demain was shut down.
The Times adds, “Over the past two years, the Moroccan regime’s already draconian crackdown on the independent press has turned even harsher: prison sentences, censorship, huge fines and advertising boycotts.”
In lieu of the government’s harsh treatment of Lmrabet and other journalists, online sites have started to spring up. Some sites are seeing over 60,000 visitors a day! While it is unknown whether the Moroccan government is waiting to arrest courageous bloggers and journalists in their sleep, there is support from organizations like, Reporters Without Boarders who are advocating for governement reform.
In another article entitled, Surgeon Using Parody to Dissect the News in Egypt, surgeon turned YouTube sensation Bassem Youssef, has used techniques of Steven Colbert and John Stewart to parody the television news coverage of Egypt’s recent revolution.
The Times reports, “When Dr. Youssef made his Internet debut on March 8 in an episode that humorously exposed the absurdities of Egyptian television’s coverage of the events of the revolution, he was not entirely prepared for what came next. Dr. Youssef was counting on 10,000 hits to his channel within a couple of weeks. Instead, he got a million.”
With respect to the American view, I guess it could have been expected that Dr. Yousself’s angle for reporting would garner so much attention. Last year a Time Magazine poll found that Jon Stewart of The Daily Show was indeed America’s most trusted news anchor.
In closing, I recommend watching this 45 minute, mini-doc entitled, Punchlines for Progress: The Power and Importance of the Court Jester, which lays out a history of parody and its conflict with the press in America. Here is to extending the concept of free speech across all platforms.