The Washington Post

Syrian protesters emboldened by sight of themselves on al-Jazeera (video)

In a new video, purportedly from the western city of Hama, Syrian protesters are shown watching themselves live on al-Jazeera on a big screen. They are clearly emboldened by what they see, pumping their fists in the air and whistling as they watch the screen.

A man holds up a piece of paper on screen to prove that he and fellow protesters are being shown live on al-Jazeera. (YouTube)

Al-Jazeera, dubbed “The Voice of the Arab Spring,” has at many times been one of only a few media outlets covering the protests from within Syria, as the country has banned foreign media from entering. This week was no different.

Naturally, its coverage has caused backlash within the country, with one Syrian TV station even accusing al-Jazeera of fabricating the uprising to help the protesters. The Lede blog reported in September that the Syrian state-run Addounia TV said al-Jazeera had fabricated giant “cinematic replicas” of Syrian cities and squares. Al-Jazeera called the accusation “wackiness of the highest order.”

But al-Jazeera has played a galvanizing role in the protests, including in Syria, as is shown in the video out of Hama.

“The notion that there is a common struggle across the Arab world is something al-Jazeera helped create,” Marc Lynch, a professor of Middle East Studies at George Washington University told the New York Times in January 2011. “They did not cause these events, but it’s almost impossible to imagine all this happening without al-Jazeera.”

One year later, it’s clear the channel is still offering a microphone to that struggle:

More world news coverage:

- Iranian bill would bar warships from gulf

- China pushes for North Korean stability

- 2 men sentenced for murder in Britain

- Read more headlines from around the world


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