Cyberactivism and Citizen Journalism in Egypt: Digital Dissidence and Political Change
When I began studying the impact of new media in Egypt in 2006 the Internet was new and social networking usually took place at a bar. But after spending just one day on the ground I became fascinated by the centrality of media in youth activism and the emerging Egyptian blogosphere. Not long after I started my research, I started to believe that indeed these Internet-based ICTs could have profound cumulative effects, and presented a paper at the IAMCR conference in Cairo based on my initial research entitled ‘The Revolution Will be Blogged: Cyberactivism in Egypt.’ But as the process of writing stretched over the years the cumulative effect of a politics of small things became even more apparent when President Hosni Mubarak stepped down. I have continued to observe the nexus of media, technology and rights from a range of vantage points: as a journalist at an Arab media outlet, from a human rights NGOs, and from the United Nations. These different, multifaceted perspectives have made it clear that even without revolutionary change, the findings presented in my book have implications for social movements across the world.
Media Evolution on the Eve of the Arab Spring
“The blogosphere of the Muslim Brotherhood, a highly textual counterpublic within an often sedentary and reactive citizen audience, became, along with the April 6 youth movement, perhaps the most organized social public in uneasy friction with the state.”
From the editors: Media Evolution on the Eve of the Arab Spring brings together some of the most celebrated and respected names in Arab media research to reflect on the communication conditions that preceded and made the Arab uprisings possible.
Covering Bin Laden: Global Media and the World’s Most Wanted Man
The story of Al Jazeera’s meteoric rise is tied up with Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the so-called War on Terror. Both Al Qaeda and Al Jazeera are phenomena at the nexus of globalization, resistance, and identity. Their rise to global prominence was also made possible by globalization and networked transnational media, namely the Internet and satellite television. Al Jazeera was often credited with building a new public sphere and pan-Arab identity while at the same time providing an Arab perspective on the series of U.S.-led incursions in the Middle East that became known as the War on Terror. Its rise happened to coincide with Al Qaeda’s rise and occurred amid extensive American forays into the Middle East, which were widely opposed in the region and thus not surprisingly led to highly critical coverage of a range of U.S. actions and policies toward the region and toward Muslims. Al Qaeda is primarily known to the outside world through the media and to its ideological adherents through mediated networks on the Internet and social media.