The recent outbreak of civil unrest in the Arab world has once more put that region in the spotlight of the international media. The spirit of revolt at the heart of the uprisings has taken the world by surprise. So too has the speed at which the inclination to revolt has spread, inflaming country after country like spattering wildfire. Since the flames were first lit (metaphorically and literally) in Tunisia, smouldering fires of protest have ignited all over the region, fuelled by an apparently unrelenting momentum. The popular movements for political change have provided fodder for endless hours of reportage and analysis. They seem to demand commentary. Both traditional, ‘static’ forms of media (newspapers, television bulletins) and newer, apparently more ‘dynamic’ forms of communication (internet blogs, social networking sites, mobile phone networks) have been powerful tools in the dissemination of information, within and without the Arab world.
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