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The Revolution Will Be Televised, and also Manipulated

The Revolution Will Be Televised, and also Manipulated

By Ramzy Baroud In the final days of the Libyan conflict, as NATO conducted a nonstop bombing campaign, an Aljazeera Arabic television correspondent’s actions raised more than eyebrows. They also raised serious questions regarding the journalistic responsibility of Arab media – or in fact any media – during times of conflict. Using a handheld transceiver, […]

Arab Awakening and Western Media: Time for New Revolutionary Discourse

Arab Awakening and Western Media: Time for New Revolutionary Discourse

By Ramzy Baroud When President Ali Abdullah Saleh tried desperately to quell Yemen’s popular uprising, he appealed to tribalism, customs and traditions. All his efforts evidently failed, and the revolution continued unabated. When Saleh denounced women for joining men in demonstrations in Sana’a – playing on cultural sensitivities and a very selective interpretation of religion […]

Arab Media Cannot Ignore the Truth about Libya’s Blacks

Arab Media Cannot Ignore the Truth about Libya’s Blacks

By Ramzy Baroud, Special to Gulf News When Libyan rebels intercepted and seized a British intelligence and Special Forces unit in early March, the matter was handled with a sense of urgency and diplomacy. While all eight members of the SAS unit were reportedly released ‘unharmed’, black Africans haven’t been so lucky. Since the popular […]

Mixed Messages: Arabs Challenge Israeli Hasbara

Mixed Messages: Arabs Challenge Israeli Hasbara

By Ramzy Baroud When the Libyan people took on their reviled dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, Israeli officials seemed puzzled by the alarming and unprecedented trend of popular awakenings in the Arab world. Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has claimed that these awakenings are only proof of the ‘weakening’ of the Arabs – even at a time […]

Generalizing Tunisia: Context Overrides Story

Generalizing Tunisia: Context Overrides Story

By Ramzy Baroud When faced with problems, most authoritarian regimes maintain a policy of rigidity when the appropriate response would be flexibility, political wisdom and concessions. This policy gives authoritarian leaders their ability to control their populations to serve the interests of a few individuals and political and military elites. It can also, however, usher […]

WikiLeaks Indicts, Vindicates U.S. Diplomats

WikiLeaks Indicts, Vindicates U.S. Diplomats

By Ramzy Baroud The WikiLeaks vs. the US government saga started in July, when 77,000 secret US documents directly relating to Afghanistan were made available to major media organizations. Many of us shook our heads with a mixture of disgust and vindication. We had long been aware of the brutality of the war, and the […]

Regarding US Muslims: A Misguided Debate

By Ramzy Baroud Laurie Goodstein’s article, ‘American Muslims Ask, Will We Ever Belong?’ was intended as a sympathetic reading of the concerns of US Muslim communities facing increasing levels of hostility and fear. While generally insightful and sensibly written, the article also highlights the very misconceptions that riddle the bizarre debate pitting American Muslims against […]

Facebook and Muslim Outrage

By RAMZY BAROUD ‘Any depictions of the prophet are considered blasphemous by Muslims,’ wrote Agencies, as reported readily by Aljazeera.net English. The above statement is meant to fully summarize the reason behind the outrage that arises in Pakistan and other parts of the Muslim world whenever some provocative ‘artist’ decides to express his freedom of […]

‘The Internet is a Game Changer’

‘The Internet is a Game Changer’

By RAMZY BAROUD The debate is no longer confined to a few academics in distant universities. It is now a widely prevalent, mainstream topic of discussion. How will the news of the future be distributed? The jury is still out, but not completely. Increasingly, we are driven to believe that the future will be paperless. […]

The South Reduced: How the News Promotes a Mistaken View of the World

By RAMZY BAROUD I am not good at flying kites. But during a recent visit to the Olympic Village of Beijing, I felt compelled to do so. Despite the cold and late hour, there were many kite runners around me. A salesman insisted that I try my hand before committing to any purchase, and I […]

From Neptune to Gaza

From Neptune to Gaza

In excerpts from a speech prepared for the Hetherington Memorial Lecture, Ramzy Baroud argues for a history of the people, by the people and for the people. By Ramzy Baroud Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune. — […]

Dispatch from China: Number 15 Has Left the Building

By RAMZY BAROUD Li Changchun is often referred to as one of the most powerful men in China, in Asia and, increasingly, in the world. He is a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee. On April 8, he awaited our arrival at the Great […]

Indispensable IslamOnline Must Not Fail

By RAMZY BAROUD A widely popular Islamic website has been, until very recently, an undisputed success story. IslamOnline arrived at a time that millions of Muslims needed a common platform and a unifying outlet. Here was a website that neither shunned nor alienated. Its influence was upbeat and positive, rather than destructive or divisive. While […]

Challenging History: Why the Oppressed Must Tell Their Own Story

By RAMZY BAROUD When American historian Howard Zinn passed away recently, he left behind a legacy that redefined our relationship to history altogether. Professor Zinn dared to challenge the way history was told and written. In fact he went as far as to defy the conventional construction of historical discourses through the pen of victor […]

Western Media, Not Israeli Hasbara

By RAMZY BAROUD With the dreadful threat of yet another Israeli war in the Middle East looming, Israeli propaganda machine is likely to go into full gear. In fact, trial balloons have already been sent out bearing supposedly unrehearsed comments by former Israeli Army general and current Minister Yossi Peled, suggesting that another war is […]

Iran and Latin America: The Media States Its Case

Iran and Latin America: The Media States Its Case

By RAMZY BAROUD Should the United States be concerned about Iran’s determined efforts to reach out to Latin America? Or, as was suggestively described in the Economist, by the Ayatollahs’ strategy of cozying up to Latin America? The US continues to see the world as its own business. It gives itself and its allies, most […]

Media Vultures Are Coming: Freedom of Expression at Risk

By RAMZY BAROUD As you flip through a range of channels on your TV or browse through a stack of newspapers and magazines at a newsstand, you may feel lucky about living in a world where such a plethora of viewpoints is available. It might also seem that the apparent increase in media choices also […]

Globalization Unchecked: How Alien Media is Suffocating Real Culture

By RAMZY BAROUD A Muslim family sits across of me in café, in a largely Muslim Asia country. An older woman shyly hunches over and desperately trying to avoid eye contact with the giant plasma screen TV, blazing loud music on the popular music video channel, MTV. The scantily dressed presenter introduces her ‘top song’ […]

War, Negation and Muslim Identity Revisited

By RAMZY BAROUD A Muslim writer begins an article with, ‘who says the campaign for animal rights was started in the West ..’ She goes on to argue that Islam provided the original treatise on the humane treatment of animals. Her case was poorly constructed, inadequately executed, although the essence of her idea was to […]

Journalistic Imperatives: Saying What Others Mightn’t

By RAMZY BAROUD The world of journalism, like any other profession, can be muddled with a plethora of distractions, self-interests and agendas that certainly do not serve the cause of a free press. Outside as well as inside pressures and interests often compromise the very essence of the journalist’s mission. In general terms, a journalist […]

Palestine in the American Imagination: Religion, Politics and Media

By RAMZY BAROUD Abstract: A study of the political, religious and cultural factors underlying the pro-Israeli bias apparent in the Western media today, as depicted in the mainstream news and television programmes. As Palestinians hurriedly buried their loved ones in the Gaza Strip following a deadly Israeli onslaught, which further contributed to Gaza’s worst humanitarian […]

Beyond Media Revolutions: Is Arab Media Truly Free?

By RAMZY BAROUD On February 12, 2008, Arab League information ministers issued a communiqué outlining ‘tough’ guidelines for Arab satellite channels. The new guidelines specifically prohibited the broadcasting of negative reporting of heads of state, religious or national figures. In following days, a massive campaign of denunciation, led by those who felt targeted by the […]

Basra Battles: Barely Half the Story

By RAMZY BAROUD When it comes to Iraq, reporters appear intent on omitting or fabricating news. The latest battles in Basra, Iraq’s second largest city and a vital oil seaport, furnished ample instances of misleading and manipulative practice in corporate journalism today. One commonly used tactic is to describe events using self-styled or "official" terminology, […]

Where Are the Iraqis in the Iraq War?

By RAMZY BAROUD Five years after the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, mainstream media is once more making the topic an object of intense scrutiny. The costs and implications of the war are endlessly covered from all possible angles, with one notable exception — the cost to the Iraqi people themselves. Through all the […]

‘Unwavering Commitment’ to Inequality

By RAMZY BAROUD Death hovered over Gaza long before locally-made Palestinian rockets struck near the Israeli southern town of Sderot on February 27, killing Roni Yechiah and sparking an Israeli ‘retaliation’ that has already claimed over 120 Palestinian lives. Yechiah’s death was actually the first of its kind in nine months, and understandably so. The […]

Media Language and War: Manufacturing Convenient Realities

By RAMZY BAROUD In the competitive world of media today, swift and conveniently selective reporting is of prime importance. GoogleNews, for example, claims to scan 4,500 news sources, of which only a few are highlighted as main stories. There are thousands of similar services, all competing to produce a story in the fastest time. Thorough […]

A Matter of Opinion

By RAMZY BAROUD What do an organic farmer from Spain, a union worker activist from Brazil and a human rights scholar living in London have in common? They are all individuals who affect substantive change in their communities and they are also individuals who are overlooked by the corporate media. The latter has its own […]

Policing Truth: The Debate on Palestine, Israel

By RAMZY BAROUD The last time I spoke publicly in the United States before my current tour was nearly four years ago. During that time I travelled the world, passing my message to people in nearly 20 countries. Wherever I went, my calls for justice for the Palestinian people and for global alternatives to racism […]

Managing Consent: The Art of War, Democracy and Public Relations

By RAMZY BAROUD It is Edward Bernays who fine-tuned the art of public relations in the 20th century. Using many of the psychoanalytic theories put forward by his uncle Sigmund Freud, he developed a mastery of public manipulation, suggesting that such manipulation was essential to democracy itself. Bernays strongly believed that people are simply "stupid" […]

The Alternative Media: Free Speech is Still Possible

By RAMZY BAROUD To speak of an alternative media is to acknowledge the deficiency of the prevailing media, the mainstream, in addressing the issues, catering to the concerns, and responding to the woes of the general public, the overwhelming majority of people who are almost completely disregarded by the corporate media everywhere. It is disheartening, […]

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