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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Guest post: Mood shifts from upbeat to somber at AJForum

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By Ousama Itani

After the events of the first day of the Sixth Al Jazeera Forum, it’s clear that the world is an equally fascinating and heartbreaking place.

It was a day of passionate but respectful interaction between such a vast array of people from all over the globe. From Emirati bloggers and Tunisian activists to British presenters and Italian reporters, I honestly felt like the Sheraton Doha was becoming a microcosm of the world itself – albeit one comprised mostly of really smart and outspoken thinkers.

I attended two seminars yesterday, including the Al Jazeera Unplugged workshop hosted by the New Media department.

Unplugged included a great discussion on the role of blogging in democratic and non-democratic states, which I could tell was meaningful for everyone participating. The topic serious, the mood lighthearted, I think the workshop struck the right balance in keeping everyone engaged.

Especially interesting was the participants’ take on the term “blogger” itself – many of them agreeing the word was now either too vague, or outdated entirely.

News broke in the evening of the ambush and killing of Ali Hassan Al Jaber, an Al Jazeera cameraman, near Benghazi in Libya.

As we relaxed after dinner with newfound friends and long-time Twitter-follows, the mood changed noticeably. I have a feeling today’s sessions at the Forum will carry a more somber note, and I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say.

Watch the forum live here and check out the live blog

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