While Muslims have been in slumber, a revolution took place in the field of mass communication and transfer of information during the 20th century.
Starting from the invention of the printing press and right through to the development of radio, television, computers and satellites, we saw how these tools empowered those who could competently use them in moulding the attitudes and behaviour of individuals and societies.
While Muslims were still busy with out-of-date Daawah methodologies of knocking on doors and sermonizing in mosques, others had harnessed these modern tools of communication and completely monopolised mass media. Thus in spite of all the enthusiasm about Islam, the Ummah stood powerless, not being able to express their ideas and views on a mass scale.
What we thought and how we reacted was directed by what CNN had shown in its news coverage during the night, what BBC had transmitted through the radio in the morning, which topic had been put on the front pages of Time magazine during the week and which Hollwood movie we saw last weekend. It seemed that Muslims as individuals and as a society had lost control of themselves and their affairs.
Because Muslims had not given due importance to education and progress they had fallen behind in the development of modern organisations and institutions in tune with the times and and in accordance with a modern lifestyle.
[blockquote style=”3″]Due to the lack of expertise in media management, Muslims throughout the world including, Muslim governments, Islamic movements and Muslim communities were dependent on global media networks monopolised by a few for all information on the affairs of the Ummah. Perhaps Aljazeera may have been an exception that did break the monopoly of a few, but keeps on paying the price where its offices have been bombed and its journalists put behind bars.[/blockquote]
However the 21st century brought about yet another revolution in mass communication starting with common access for all to mobile phones, email and finally the internet. Now the multimedia technologies have empowered individuals and societies to convey their messages through a variety of mediums, words, images, audio and video, beyond national boundaries, and break the monopoly of global media corporations.
However this great development and empowerment of ordinary people in the field of mass communications has brought another casualty, the end of privacy. Personal information, records of communication and documents can not be only accessed by internet technology providers, intelligence agencies and governments, but also by organisations with vested interests and dodgy agendas.
As always there is some bad news together with the good news.