First there was the launch of the English version of Al Jazeera and now there is the launch of France 24 on 6th December, which will operate 24/7 on a multimedia platform eventually in 4 languages. It starts 100% in French, 75% in English, by the end of 2007 they claim they will be broadcasting in Arabic and by 2010 in Spanish by which time they will need to consider seriously adding one of the Chinese languages as well.
Right now the mainstream media is embarking on a blogging frenzy. Reuters financial deal with Global Voices and France 24 will be very much integrated with bloggers. Britain’s newly launched free online version of the New Statesman is also to have a dedicated blogging section mixed with it’s own reporters blogs as well as bloggers from around the globe. Both these media groups are taking a different approach to the the BBC which has a dedicated but not very well publicised group of personal bloggers on it’s website and the UK Guardian which has created a series of blogs in “Comment is Free”. Yes it has a separate “blog” for various categories but they are in my mind anyway pretty pathetic. It is the “Comments are Free section that is the most active and interactive. Whether the newly launched Al Jazeera English and it’s original Arabic version also develop a blogging section either by inviting seasoned bloggers to contribute to its online site or by developing it’s own blogs, remains to be seen but judging by the global competition I suspect it will not be long before Middle Eastern bloggers are invited to participate on the online and TV version of Al Jazeera. They need to listen to Haitham and to Raising Yousuf if they are to extend their coverage and get a broader perspective and set of views.
We the people: we have the power, the ideas, the knowledge – keep on blogging, keep on challenging, keep on rolling! From a global south south perspective the blogosphere opens up the opportunity for the voiceless to speak and to be heard. The most important task for blogger activists is to support and make it possible for those previously unheard voices to find a way to speak out and this is where lies our power. We are the majority world and the WORD IS OUR WEAPON – use it and help and support others to use it.