PULLMAN, Wash. Images of unrest and protest in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen can be tied directly to the Arab media revolution, says Lawrence Pintak, Founding Dean of the Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University. Pintak has more than 30 years experience in the Middle East as a CBS news correspondent and various other roles. His book, “The New Arab Journalist: Mission and Identity in a Time of Turmoil,” is being published in the U.S. this week.
“You would not have these uprisings without satellite television in the Arab world,” said Pintak. “Social media has played a big role, absolutely, in helping the activists organize and network. But it’s satellite television, the fact that people in Egypt, people in Yemen, people in Jordan, are sitting at home, watching this play out on TV – that is what has spread this electronic virus of change.”
Pintak’s book describes how dramatic changes in Arab journalism are changing the relationship between governments and the people of the Arab world. He notes that the current upheaval underscores a grim reality for authoritarian regimes the world over. “The electronic dam has burst and, with it, their ability to control the flow of information,” according to the Murrow dean. “The demand for change has become an electronic virus, seeping into nations through every unblocked pore.”
Pintak’s comments are born from firsthand experience. As well as serving as a journalist, he also served as director of the Center for Journalism Training and Research at The American University in Cairo.
Editors Note: Soundbytes from Lawrence Pintak are available for download at http://188.8.131.52/Dropboxes/WSUNews/. The file is called “pintakSOTs” and is available in multiple video and audio formats. RIGHT-CLICK to download to machine. Do not open in browser.
SOT #1 You would not have these uprisings without satellite television in the Arab world. Social media has played a big role, absolutely, in helping the activists organize and network. But it’s satellite television, the fact that people in Egypt, people in Yemen, people in Jordan, are sitting at home, watching this play out on TV, that is what has spread this electronic virus of change.
Sot #2 Egyptians have long been humiliated, have long been angry, have long been fed up with the regime, but they didn’t do anything about it. They watched Tunisians rise up, overthrow their President and said “hey, we can do this too!”
SOT #3 The region is changing. There is no putting this genie back in the bottle, to use a bad cliché. Arab governments across the region are seeing what’s happening in Egypt, what happened in Tunisia, and they’re already changing.