So much great news to condense into one small space this week, but here’s a selection of some of the best!

YouTube channels on the rise in Middle East

According to a report in The National, the popularity of the online video sharing website YouTube has increased ‘phenomenally’ in Arab countries, with particular growth in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Syria.

The Arab Media Forum 2012 which wrapped-up on Wednesday in Dubai discussed the growing presence of YouTube in the region during a session entitled ‘The YouTube Channels…Individual Platforms that Compete with the Satellite Stations’. During the session, panellists discussed the ways in which YouTube has “facilitated the creation of a new era in news broadcasting allowing producers to project their personal viewpoints on current issues”.

According to the panellists, YouTube has become a viable platform to express independent views by sharing recorded and live programmes that spotlight social, political and religious issues in a more accessible format.

As quoted in The National, anchor Bassem Youssef said he uses his YouTube show to promote his own point of view rather than a specific message. “I think YouTube is not simply to provide information but to pass on our own interpretation and viewpoint of these messages.”

See full article here.

Sky News launches in UAE

Sky News Arabia launched on Sunday, broadcasting their 24-hour news feed into more than 50 million homes across the Middle East and North Africa.

Sky News Arabia intends to go head to head with regional giants Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya in the wake the Arab Spring. As quoted in The National, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the chairman of Sky News Arabia, said the station would aim to meet demand for a “high-calibre, independent news channel” about the Arab world.

See full article here.

Twitter plays outsize role in 2012 Presidential campaign

A recent study by the Pew Research Centre in the United States found that, whilst only around 13% of American adults have joined Twitter, the micro-blogging site is becoming an increasingly essential political tool in this year’s Presidential Election race.

According to a report in the Huffington Post, Twitter is “an essential tool for campaigns to test-drive themes and make news with a group of politically wired “influencers” who process and share those messages with the broader world.”

In a related post, Mashable reported the positive sentiment President Obama accumulated after announcing his support for gay-marriage on Wednesday, with “Politicians, celebrities and media personalities all used social media to react.”

An analysis by Topsy charts the positive sentiment score between 12am – 1pm Pacific Standard Time:

Live Tweet brain surgery

Finally, rounding off The Week That Was, we bring you a Live Tweet Brain Surgery.

The story, which emerged on Mashable this week, reports Dr. Kim Dong of Houston’s Memorial Hermann hospital’s performance of a brain tumour removal, which was tweeted live by hospital staff. The tweets were accompanied by live photos and videos posted to Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest during the procedure.

As quoted on Mashable, Dr. Kim said, “What will come out of this is a detailed, real-time sequence of what happens in a brain surgery through all the stages from preparation, to shaving the hair, to making the incision, to draping,” Dr. Kim told Mashable on Monday. “People are very anxious and want to know what goes on in a brain surgery like this.”

See full article here.