Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ayoon Wa Azan (The Blogosphere - Blogs 4)

Dar al-Hayat has an interesting article up about blogs and mentions two of my favorite sites, Miss Mubarek and Iraq the Modelt:

When I wrote about blogs at the beginning of last summer, I wrote thinking that 2004 was the year in which blogs reached maturity. However, last year saw new or alternative journalism become more widespread; I began to think that the current year could register the same increase of the last 2 years, or see even greater expansion.
Blogs are a daily journal and their authors can reveal or hide their identities, just like site visitors can. Visitors can add their comments on issues raised by the blog. Since there are free and easy ways to create links to other sites, the spread of ideas and information has truly spread like "wildfire."

Today there is an active Arab "blogosphere," raising its voice loudly. It has benefited from the freedom of expression made available electronically, and made known its opinion on the most important political issues. The Arab blogosphere has also addressed cooking and relations between the sexes, with a good amount of mockery and sarcasm. But the Arab blogosphere remains smaller than Iran's, where I've read that there are 700,000 blogs, a number I personally find hard to believe. However, blog monitoring sites confirm this figure.

Read the rest
Dar Al Hayat

Read part three as well:

Ayoon Wa Azan (The Internet Has Destroyed Constraints - Blogs 3)

And it's all good:

When I remember my days as an editor in chief in the Arab press, I can only remember the censorship that came along with it. I saw the day s in which we would oppose the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, or support them, it didn't matter - we weren't banned from publishing. Then we would print a photo of a model and the newspaper would be banned in this or that country.
In the 1990s, Arab satellite stations raised the ceiling. Their appearance coincided with the rise of the internet. Censors cannot control either media so easily, the way they used to control the traditional media, and newspapers and their readers have benefited. Today, it's the turn of the blogs, as a type of new journalism or alternative that challenges censorship. They are publishing what we thought was impossible to publish a decade or so ago.

The internet has destroyed constraints and given the younger generation of Arabs an opportunity to link up to the outside world, and give their opinions on local and international issues. Blogs have now appeared to add an important new dimension. They have created a generation of "citizen journalists" who are in contact with each other, conduct impromptu dialogue, and see that their opinions reach anywhere in the world where those interested in such opinions can be found.

The internet and blogs have taken on additional importance in countries where there is strict censorship, because they provide an area of freedom. Even though governments can ban sites and don't hesitate to arrest and try bloggers, sometimes imprisoning them, the experience of recent years says that blogs are always finding technological, or fraudulent means to get around governments and return to publication in new, or concealed form.

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