Media will play an important role in Libya future

Events of today have shown the resilience and determination of the citizens of Libya as Tripoli falls under control of the National Transitional Council for the first time. The media has played an important role in spreading the message of democracy but it has also been used as a propaganda tool by the Gaddafi regime to stay in power.

The media’s role will be central to Libya in the future as the NTC seeks to build a legitimate government and unite the country. TV stations have been used as tools by the Gaddafi regime to crush a popular uprising and keep moral high for loyalist fighters. However, media in the hands and direction of the Libyan people will change the tone for the first time in over 4 decades, and show the country and the world, their ambitions for the coming years.

The power of social media, first hand videos and the idea of ‘transparency’ will hold the new transitional government accountable to deliver its obligations to the Libyan people. In an ever connected world, the use of video sharing, and social networks will be important for families to stay together, keep neighborhoods safe and help create new communities and initiatives.

As history has shown, the influence of newspapers, radio and TV has a universal impact on entire populations. This summer, the riots we saw in the UK were beamed to every TV in the UK, and spread like a virus on the web. This immediately gave fuel to rioters who were keen to join in at a point when police where overwhelmed. This kind of reporting is unfortunately true to unfolding events not just in the west, but elsewhere in the world. The Arab spring is just the beginning of this new kind of movement and it seems that interactive media allows people to stay ‘on the same page’. How the media will react and ‘influence’ the Libyan people in the future will help or hinder its rise to freedom. Who will control what, and how will people be influenced by the messages they see?

Have you seen first hand accounts of videos, or reporting in Libya? How has this affected you?

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