Al Jazeera unveils new portal for citizen reporters
Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 06-05-2012
A multi lingual citizen media sharing service called Sharek is to go live in the third quarter of 2012, the Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera has announced.
Famed throughout the world for its video contributions from citizens during the Arab uprisings, Al Jazeera claims over 70,000 videos have been uploaded to date to its existing portal.
"Footage from people on the street has been critical to our reporting in the region over the last year and a half," Moeed Ahmad, head of new media, Al Jazeera told delegates to UNESCO's World Press Freedom Conference in Tunis on Thursday (4 May).
"We've received an enormous 70,000 videos from Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and many other countries. At critical times we were receiving a clip every second. We're extremely grateful to everyone who has sent in video – they have helped inform us and our viewers around the world," he added.
The new portal Sharek (Arabic for 'share') will operate an accreditation system, to distinguish reliable and regular content contributors. Once users reach a 'trust score threshold', their videos will be available to view before moderation, says the broadcaster.
"Al Jazeera is committed to fostering a culture of citizen reporting in communities across the region and worldwide. That is why visitors to Sharek are able to watch footage that doesn't necessarily make it onto our screens. It's also why we're training would-be journalists from communities in the Middle East and Africa," said Ahmad.
The broadcaster is seeking user feedback, inviting people to look at the current portal at http://sharek.aljazeera.net and to send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.