Radical Instrument

IT is changing the exercise of power. Radical Instrument is picking up the signals.

Posts Tagged ‘Al Jazeera

More on Al Jazeera and new media tools in NY Times

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Noam Cohen has an article in the Sunday digital edition of the NY Times on Al Jazeera’s new media efforts, discussed in my previous post. Another interesting development is coming this week:

“For example, Mohamed Nanabhay, the 29-year-old executive who established Al Jazeera’s new-media group, beginning in late 2006, said that Al Jazeera planned to announce this week that all its video material of the war in Gaza would become available under the most lenient Creative Commons license, which basically means it can be used by anyone — rival broadcaster, documentary maker or individual blogger, for example — as long as Al Jazeera is credited.”

Written by Mark

January 13, 2009 at 1:31 am

Al Jazeera crowdsources Gaza reporting

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Al Jazeera has effectively circumvented Israel’s ban on reporters in Gaza:  turn anyone with a cell phone or web access into a reporter. 

Al Jazeera Labs has adopted the Ushahidi Engine to set up its “Mapping the War in Gaza” service, which allows users to view, submit, and verify reports posted from both “formal” and informal sources. It isn’t perfect – I was able to “verify” an incident accidentally, as I clicked through the site – but it provides a fascinating model for both information sourcing and information consumption in a rapidly changing situation. By using the site’s filters, for instance, I was able to learn about (a) the possible killing of a senior Hamas figure today, (b) the IDF’s mandated shutdown of cell phone use by its personnel a few hours in advance of the ground invasion, and (c) a Human Rights Watch claim about the possible use by the IDF of white phosphorous.

Practitioners of military “information operations” should really think about tearing up the rulebook. Take the IDF, for instance.  Some questionable experiments with social media aside, it’s resorting to tactics – like the ban on media access, or the takeover of a Hamas television station – that are either simply dubious (how many people in Gaza are even watching television?) or are likely to antagonize any remaining international support. The fundamental flaw seems to be that the IDF is basing its information strategy on an outdated premise of how information is produced and consumed – and this effort by Al Jazeera Labs provides an interesting contrast.

P.S. – Because of what we’re seeing today, watch for the smartphone to evolve as a critical piece of a soldier’s kit in militaries worldwide over the next decade.

Written by Mark

January 11, 2009 at 1:23 am