An overview on Egyptian bloggers and activism
In the arab region activists use sophisticated and creative blogs and tools to network nationally and internationally and to tackle issues such as human rights, freedom of speech and democracy. Especially in Egypt, where the blogosphere is very vibrant, in contrary to European political bloggers. On Egybloggers more than 320 blogs alone are listed in the 'politics section'. The blogs are written in English, Arabic or in both. This blogging network broadcasts campaigns and demonstrations, documenting human rights violations, for example, videos over you tube. Bloggers discus together with the diaspora the political future of Egypt. The global voice project links the Egyptian online activists to human rights bloggers worldwide. The Egyptian blog aggregator shows post on the latest news in Egypt.
The result is that blogs become important news sources in the Arab region. Even journalists turn to blogs such as arabist.net. http://www.arabist.net/ With the detention of many bloggers in Egypt and especially the 'Free Kareem' campaign, where people rally for the release of a prominent blogger, blogging activism got worldwide attention. In Twitter you can also read comments send by a blogger facing trial: "There was a court hearing today. Very short. We asked for time to read the technical report. Next hearing 8 July". Recently, activists from the Muslim Brotherhood started to use blogs to promulgate their cause also and push for the release of members who have been jailed.
The Egyptian blogosphere is not a new phenomenon. For years Egyptian bloggers used the web as a channel to organize their protests and create a transational public sphere for their topics. In 2005, the 'Kifaye' (Enough!) movement's demonstrations and protests were widely documented on blogs. An especially creative way of campaign is done by Ahmad Sherif, who asks for messages about the Egyptian President over you tube, which are then placed as google adsense (further explained). Latest, Sherif works now on another assignment which he calls 'Freedom Campaign' where he exposes topics such as premarital love and sex, freedom of faith and freedom of speech. There has also been some participation from the artists scene, such is the case of the creation of 'Cairofreeze' a blog for political caricatures. For the latest developments of the Egyptian blogosphere check out this entry on global voices. I am personally impressed about the activism of these bloggers and what they have achieved. Unfortunately, my Arabic is to weak to get even more informed on what is going on the Egyptian blogosphere.