Noha Atef on Skype call in Nicosia’s Buffer Zone

Noha Atef, courtesy of Noha Atef, under Creative Commons license

Guest post from attendee at BZB 30 April 2011:

I just heard a live web discussion with Noha Atef, journalist, activist and editor of http://www.tortureinegypt.net. Noha was incredibly inspiring, offering her perspective on the recent events in Egypt, with insight, charm, humour, and a searing intelligence. Noha spoke about the role of social media in the Egyptian revolution, and urged us not to switch off from the situation in Egypt, now that it has seemingly dropped off the news agenda. It’s been a great afternoon here in the buffer zone, but best of all has been hearing directly from people like Noha. Thank you Ms Atef.

Visit:

http://tortureinegypt.net/

http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/author/noha-atef/

Tahrir Square, Cairo, 2011

Egypt’s blogosphere and its role in the ‘leaderless revolution’

Just attended a live web interview with Egyptian blogger Adel Iskandar, who genuinely inspired attendees of BZB’s second day.

Wow. Amazing eloquence, compelling lucidity. The courage and integrity – and sense of humour – of a voice of Egypt’s “leaderless revolution” as he put it.

As well as offering a sobering insight and first-hand accounts of the cost of blogging in Egypt under Mubarak – not to mention its pivotal role in “breaking the wall of fear” that inspired the country’s recent uprising –  Iskandar was gracious enough to field questions from attendees.

Among the things we learned:

  • The likely difficulties in shifting the institutionalised sycophancy of traditional media, despite the sudden availability of more objective reportage. (Definitely not going to happen overnight.)
  • The breadth of the political and financial power of the country’s military – “the largest construction company in Egypt”
  • The possible influence of the Muslim Brotherhood beyond the upcoming polls and constitutional changes
  • The threat posed by the ‘blogging drain’ with the more prominent voices of Egypt’s blogosphere now being invited to travel the world, sharing their experiences…

Despite minor technical difficulties, the BZB web interview with Iskandar allowed us a human face in the midst of all the media verbiage about Egypt’s new political realities.

What a privilege to be reminded of the power of blogging and social media. How humbling to be reminded of the self-expression we take for granted.

Government of Turkey will choose which websites are allowed.

Guest post from attendee at BZB 30 April 2011:
Breaking News From Turkey:

According to Regulations about “Secure Usage of Internet in Turkey”, from beginning of 22th of August, every single internet user in Turkey is forced to choose a filter package,  which are “family pack”, “children pack”, “standard pack” and “only including TR pack”. All packages have different limitations and filters, and if you do not choose one of them, your access to internet is filtered with standard filter.

According to this “halal internet” plan, all the content is under control of the government and if this regulation is applied, only websites “verified” will be allowed to enter.

There won’t be a list of “denied websites”, but if the user tries to enter one of those sites, s/he will met the “this site is not allowed” message.

Before that regulation, such site censorships (like youtube, wordpress or blogspot) can be passed via DNS changes by users, illegally. With these new regulation, these changes are also strictly banned. Since IP addresses of the sites are also blocked,

“The allowed websites” will be identified by the government.

Pornographic content, Skype program and some left wing newspapers are on the ban list.

This ban will be applied after 22th of August.

Users are planning to make an anti-censor campaign.

A simple try for a short activist video in Cyprus!

350 Workers fired from the Cypriot Turkish Airlines in a strike. They were living in a simple tent for 138 days.

A worker is explaining the situation.

Lang: Turkish

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJmZHyO4ZGQ

Photo Gallery of Day 1 of Buffer Zone Bloggers

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Buffer Zone Bloggers is happening now!

A quick update on the first day of BZB in Nicosia’s buffer zone! Great turnout, and lots of interesting discussion going on. Here is a photo from the social media workshop which took place outside in the sunshine:

The Present State of Internet Freedom

The excitement is rising as Buffer Zone Bloggers prepares to launch tomorrow, Friday 29 April 2011. We look forward to greeting our numerous registrants who are coming hungry for fun, information and community. It is also only 5 days away from the World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2011. So as our final post before the event, we thought we should report on the conditions of internet freedom around the world.

Freedom On The Net 2011 Map

Freedom On The Net 2011 Map

 FreedomHouse.org, an independent watchdog organization that supports the expansion of freedom around the world” for the past 70 years, has released a report, earlier in the month, investigating the global state of internet freedom. According to Freedom on the Net 2011: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media, cyber attacks, politically motivated censorship, and government control over internet infrastructure are among the diverse and growing threats to internet freedom.

As internet communication explodes around the globe, with the number of users doubling during the past two years, certain governments seem to be increasingly inclined towards restricting the free flow of information and otherwise inhibiting the rights of users. “These detailed findings clearly show that internet freedom cannot be taken for granted,” said David J. Kramer, executive director of Freedom House. “Nondemocratic regimes are devoting more attention and resources to censorship and other forms of interference with online expression.” But it’s not only the autocratic regimes that are following the trend. The United States comes second, after Estonia, lagging behind in terms of broadband penetration and connection speeds. Further, the U.S. government’s surveillance powers seem to provide cause for some concern.

Freedom on the Net 2011 identifies key trends in internet freedom in 37 countries. Evaluation for each country is based on barriers to access, limitations on content, and violations of users’ rights. More than half of the countries evaluated, demonstrate a negative trajectory of measures taken in dealing with the above. Their actions include crackdowns on bloggers, increased censorship, and targeted cyber attacks, often coinciding with broader political turmoil.

For more information on the subject please click on the following links.

IFEX: extensive article on Freedom on the Net 2011

FreedomHouse.org: the organization, the report, the media

World Press Freedom Day: info