Arab bloggers aim to boost cyberactivism

January 20, 2014
Egyptian anti-government bloggers work on their laptops from Cairo's Tahrir square on February 10, 2011

Arab bloggers on Monday discussed ways to boost cyberactivism at a meeting in the Jordanian capital, faced with new challenges three years after the start of Internet-fuelled revolts in their region.

"Discussions today included and how to defend ourselves through the Internet," Leila Nachawtai, a media coordinator at the launch of the Fourth Arab Bloggers Summit, told AFP.

Bloggers and activists from across the Middle East and North Africa are taking part in the four-day meeting "to debate and develop new strategies to deal with the rising challenges," organisers said in a statement.

"The summit is very important to explore ways of reporting news in any country and enhancing our roles as activists and bloggers," said Nachawtai, a Syrian-Spanish activist, writer and professor of Communications at Carlos III University in Madrid.

Only Thursday, the final day of the gathering, is open to media. Bloggers are to discuss censorship and surveillance, as well as "the shifting winds of activism."

Participants include Farea al-Muslimi, a Yemeni activist and journalist who addressed the US Congress last year on drone attacks on Yemen and was picked by Foreign Policy magazine as one of 100 global change makers for 2013.

Also among the speakers is Dubai-based commentator Sultan al-Qassemi, who was listed in the "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011" by TIME magazine.

Many activists in the region maintain that social media helped keep up the momentum of the protests that began in Tunisia, toppled two more dictators in Egypt and Libya in 2011, and continue to shake the region.

"The dire state of the region—and the increasingly central role that the Internet and social media are playing in shaping it—has added greater urgency to the summit," the organisers' statement said.

"Uncertainty about the future and political polarisation in the region have made attempted transitions to democracy difficult and often painful, especially for those of us, netizens, who supported and helped drive it."

Explore further: Global media watchdog names enemies of Internet

Related Stories

Global media watchdog names enemies of Internet

March 12, 2012

(AP) -- The Arab Spring is changing the face of Internet freedom, according to Reporters Without Borders, which released its latest "Enemies of the Internet" list Monday.

US 'concerned' by new Vietnam social media curbs

August 6, 2013

The United States on Tuesday said it was "deeply concerned" over a sweeping new Internet law in Vietnam which bans bloggers and social media users from sharing news stories online.

Facebook says 56 million 'like' it in Arab world

October 1, 2013

Facebook announced Tuesday that it has 56 million active users in the Middle East and North Africa, where activists used the social media network to organise Arab Spring uprisings.

Recommended for you

Nevada researchers trying to turn roadside weed into biofuel

November 26, 2015

Three decades ago, a University of Nevada researcher who obtained one of the first U.S. Energy Department grants to study the potential to turn plants into biofuels became convinced that a roadside weed—curly top gumweed—was ...

Glider pilots aim for the stratosphere

November 20, 2015

Talk about serendipity. Einar Enevoldson was strolling past a scientist's office in 1991 when he noticed a freshly printed image tacked to the wall. He was thunderstruck; it showed faint particles in the sky that proved something ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.