Monday, January 17, 2011

Morning Brief: Apple CEO Steve Jobs to go on medical leave; New Media helps spark Tunisian revolution

Light posting as it is MLK Day here in the states.

Apple issued a statement this morning announcing that CEO Steve Jobs will go on medical leave, though retain his title of CEO:

At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.

I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.
Jobs was on medical leave for an extended time after he underwent treatment for pancreatic cancer, and received a liver transplant. He returned to the Apple campus in June 2009.

The Apple announcement may have been timed to coincide with the MLK holiday as US markets are closed today.

Writing on the English Al Jazeera website, Noureddine Miladi asks if the recent change in government in Tunisia was "a media led revolution?"
Contrary to civil unrests in Tunisia during the last few years, the dramatic death of 26 year old university graduate Mohamed Bouazizi sparked off angry protests in many parts of the country and have attracted international media attention thanks to social media networks...

...In light of the dramatic development of events, on a considerable scale, it has become evident that new media have been playing a key role this time around in keeping the momentum going, and bringing the voices of the disengaged Tunisian youth to the attention of world media, and hence to international public opinion.

Mobile phones, blogs, YouTube, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds have become instrumental in mediating the live coverage of protests and speeches, as well as police brutality in dispersing demonstrations.

The internet in this case has assumed the role of a very effective uncensored news agency from which every broadcaster and news corporation have been able to freely source newsfeeds, raw from the scene.

Such developments have proven very significant in changing the rules of the game, of journalism production and dissemination of information in a country where the government historically keeps tight control on the media and where almost no platform is available for opinions critical of the political elite.