Friday, February 11, 2011

Egypt: Bloggers/Net laid groundwork for today's uprising

With the state in control of all major media in Egypt, brave Egyptian "citizen journalists" have risked imprisonment and torture to blog or tweet about human rights abuses. Renowned Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas interviewed annoyingly by elitist BBC anchor. Over the years, Abbas has been harassed, censored and assaulted by authorities, and was briefly detained during the current demonstrations.

I've been showing this fascinating 2008 video (with not-great English translation) -- "Internet Freedom in Egypt" -- since it appeared online.

Last June, 28-year-old Khaled Said was beaten to death in public for the crime of Internet use. His martyrdom inspired protests and Internet organizing that sparked some of the current uprising. Google exec and activist Wael Ghonim is believed to have set up the powerful Facebook page "We Are All Khaled Said."

Blogger Marwa Rakha, born and raised in Egypt, posted about a mass detention of bloggers, including Wael Abbas, who tried to cover the aftermath of a massacre of Egyptian Christians.

"Rantings of a Sandmonkey" blogger -- who recently revealed himself to be Mahmoud Salem -- had also posted videos of police torture (along with Wael Abbas and others). The icon on his blog doesn't quite resemble blogger.

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