Born in Palestine in the 1969, Wadah Khanfar had and intese career as a journalist, reporting from South Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq. He became bureau chief in Baghdad for the Al Jazeera network and finally director general of the Al Jazeera network in 2006. He recently resigned in September 2011 because, as he said, he wanted to move to new projects after his network largely contributed to the spread of the Arab Spring. Ironically, a member of the royal family in Quatar took his place.
Al Jazeera, had the merit, during the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, of reporting from within. While other Western media were showing only aseptic images of aerial bombings. In this way they started to gain trust, especially from the people directly involved in the conflict. The network was also one of the first to accept media contribution from citizens, after severe verification of the information only.
Nobody could have explained better, in Perugia, the revolution journalism is going through: 1) The fact social networks are not easy to control brings a new redistribution of powers. 2) The cheaper technology allows a very large number of people to produce broadcast quality media.
Only 10 years ago video-reporting was extremely expensive, requiring big companies and large funding, which also meant dependance from the centre of powers and corporations. Now there is the opportunity to reform journalism and a new economical model for its sustenance should be found. This will lead to a more decentralized world where the duty of the journalist should be to empower people with proper knowledge.