Al Jazeera and TV7 Tunis on the Tunisian uprising

As The National`s columnist Sultan AlQassemi put it tonight on Twitter, “I think Al Jazeera is going to lose at least one bureau in the Arab world by the end of this episode”. He was referring to the incendiary episode of “Al ittijah al moakis” (Opposite direction) hosted live tonight as every Tuesday by Faisal Al Qasem, one of Al Jazeera`s most well known faces.

Tonight of course the episode was dealing with the Tunisian uprising who has led to the fall of Ben Ali`s regime. ” In every single Arab Republic you have a Sakher El Materi & Imad Trabelsi & Leila Ben Ali”, said Faisal on air.

And then: “The Western world works to raise the standards of the individual, Arab governments work to raise the standards of ONE individual: the  leader”.

That`s what the Arab regimes are fearing the most right now. That this “inconvenient truth” will be revealed soon to their populations -who already know it, of course- and that the people will feel themselves encouraged and pushed to do something similar to what Tunisians did.

Faisal`s guests focused on a quite incendiary talk on Syria. Twitter was running faster than ever with hypothesis on “who`s next” and Egypt got the pole position in this self made opinion poll.

I don`t know what`s going to happen and this is not the first time in more than ten years that I watch Faisal`s incendiary show provoking with “free talk”. But that `s for sure the first time ever I watch TV7 Tunis , the national Tunisian broadcaster, hosting a talk show with many guests, different opinions represented, talking about different paths the new country could eventually undertake, using words like “citizens” “democracy”  or “constitution”.

That`s probably the first time ever I see the reality of what`s going on being broadcast on an Arab government-owned TV channel. Before, you wouldn`t  be surprised if watching a children cartoon while something like a revolution was happening.


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