Like so many people here in Qatar, I was glued to the Internet and television over the weekend watching the events unfold across Egypt. At times, information coming out seemed very sporadic. Updates were sparse, especially when it appeared as though Internet was cut in places and, of course, social media sites were blocked. Resourceful Egyptians found ways around all these moves and continued to communicate with one another and the rest of the world.
Still, the world hungered for news from Egypt. Doha-based Al Jazeera was in Egypt and captured powerful footage and photographs of as the events happened. Many news agencies – definitely smaller networks and newspapers – did not have the reporters, photographers or film crews on the ground, making it more difficult to tell the full story. Recognizing the importance sharing news from Egypt with the world, Al Jazeera made a majority of its footage available to the world as part of its Creative Commons Repository. Any footage shared in the Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository is available for free use by others as long as it is attributed to the network in all usage and leaves the Al Jazeera logo and branding intact. Photos are posted on Al Jazeera’s Flickr account and also available under a Creative Commons license.
Al Jazeera is truly a leader in using Creative Commons principles for the betterment of the global community. By making footage from Egypt available under a Creative Commons license, they are allowing the profound story to be shared with audiences across the globe in a deeper, more real way. Al Jazeera has done this with numerous world events, and in many cases, they are the most prominent network on the ground. They could “lockdown” their materials and charge usage fees, but instead choose to share it so it can have greater impact. Of course, the more it spreads, the better it is for growing the Al Jazeera brand.
As our eyes and minds remain focused on Egypt, take a moment to be thankful that there is an organization like Al Jazeera committed to sharing information openly and recognizing that true power of the Internet to engage people.
Note: The are now reports that Al Jazeera’s Bureau in Cairo has been shut down by Egypt’s government – obviously the story keeps developing.