Instigators of Change

Arab Bloggers Meet to Discuss Free Speech, Reject ‘Journalist’ Label

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The First Arab Bloggers Meeting in Beirut, covered by Jessica Dheere, illuminated many important truths in regards to bloggers and their work. “Morocco has 30,000 bloggers; Facebook is blocked in Tunisia; photojournalists help Egyptian bloggers by passing along outtakes,” etc, etc. It’s compelling that despite the tapestry of problems that Arab countries continue to face, bloggers living under these repressive regimes continue to fight for free speech and human rights. Blogs have continuously been a space to discuss these issues, and though the blogosphere is limitless, there is sense of unanimity between these bloggers.

The blogosphere is not a safe space, it’s a space that can land you in prison, or worse. Bloggers express how they are already prisoners because they live under these repressive regimes, but despite these difficulties, they continue to instigate for change. In a sense these bloggers act as journalists, by covering all aspects of repressiveness in Arab countries, and yet they refuse to be called journalists. I agree with their rejection of the “journalists” label because as opposed to actual journalists who simply report, bloggers are immersed and active. Bloggers are essentially societal and political activists, they are the ultimate “instigators of change.” In short, in the readings and in class, there is a constant reiteration of how important of a role bloggers play, which I completely agree. As Jessica Dheere concluded, the more they write and blog, the more their acts are “speaking truth to power.”

 

Mapping the Arabic blogosphere: politics and dissent online

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The above map illustrates a network map of the Arabic blogosphere with each dot representing a blog. The article, “Mapping the Arabic blogosphere: politics and dissent online,” illustrated the idea of a “networked public sphere,” which was proposed by Yochai Benkler. In short, Benkler’s “network public sphere,” refers to an online space which has gone from being dominated by the government/elite, to being a space that has a sense of freedom in which where “members of society can cooperate, exchange political opinions and observations, and collaborate as watchdogs over powerful social institutions.”

Instigators of Change

3 thoughts on “Instigators of Change

  1. sanasayedi says:

    I liked how you stressed the idea that the bloggers do not consider themselves as journalists. I think this is particularly important in the Middle east because many countries in the Middle east know that the news doesn’t represent the correct view and many are skeptical about reports. Digital activists allowed people to express their messages and tell what is really happening where the journalists and news organizations failed to do so. They not only try to provoke change and educate people but they are alos putting their lives in danger of being caught and arrested or killed. So they are entirely different from journalists in the region which the government controls what the news is. I liked how you added the map of the Arab blogosphere, it really shows where all the action is happening.

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  2. lizpina says:

    The idea that bloggers don’t consider themselves as journalists is very intriguing, especially when it includes them covering stories about these important social movements. I think the bloggers’ denial of being considered a journalist comes from the reputation journalist have. For instance, they aren’t the primary source to their stories, but many bloggers are. I also feel that bloggers want to be distinguished from journalists because they believe they provide something more than just a report but a key to a movement that can be life changing.

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  3. I like how you were able to talk about the Mapping of the Arabic blogosphere. It is interesting to see how the blogosphere presents different countries but also can be quite confusing trying to understand how they connect. As we mentioned in class, it would of been a lot easier if they could explain what the size of the bubbles meant and what the large yellow dot signified. I agree with you that the blogosphere is not a safe place and it also makes me uncomfortable knowing that blogging can cost people their lives. We America we get to blog whenever and about whatever; forgetting how valuable this tool is for other countries.

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