<$BlogItemTitle$> <$BlogItemTitle$>Broadcasters of Tomorrow

Monday, July 28, 2008

Blogs & Facebook in Egypt Seen as Dangerous

More Egyptian bloggers have been arrested. Amnesty International on Saturday urged the authorities in Egypt to free 16 Internet activists jailed for more than two weeks for "threatening national security." Amnesty International believes them to be prisoners of conscience, detained merely for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.
This after a group of people Egypt calls "Internet activists" used their '6 April Youth' Facebook group, to organise a group of about 30 young people who gathered on a beach in Alexandria for a peaceful protest. That's when the 16 were arrested. Public protests are illegal under the state of emergency in force in Egypt for 27 years.
"Amnesty International believes all 16 to be prisoners of conscience, detained for their participation in a peaceful protest. Bloggers continue to face threats and harassment for their work as rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly continue to be restricted in Egypt," it said.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Iran Blogs = Death Penalty ?

Harvard’s Internet and Democracy blog reports Iran drafted a bill "establishing weblogs and sites promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy", as crimes punishable by death. If the bill is passed, publish a blog in Iran and you could get the death penalty.
The new bill states those convicted of these crimes "should be punished as 'mohareb' (enemy of God) and 'corrupt on the earth."
Blogging in Iran is very popular. Cyber-savvy young Iranians have been criticising the political system for years.
In fact, Arab blogs are growing at a rapid rate despite bloggers being jailed for blogging. (See our previous posts) The February 2007 edition of the Columbia Journalism Review said that “blogging has taken off in the Arab world because it presents an opportunity to reclaim individuality. In a region where leaders, be they Hassan Nasrallah or Ismail Haniya, claim to speak on behalf of all Arabs, a blog is a chance to contradict, to undermine, and to assert. “
It seems that the Iranian bill is not likely to pass since only 19 members of the Majlis have signed on. At least 129 votes would be needed for it to be approved.
What do you think about the power of Arab bloggers to affect change and the power of authorities to stop them? Please post a comment.