Tag Archives: Social Media

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.




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.

Video Activism: The Power Of Your Point Of View

Disillusioned with one-sided news coverage from mainstream media, activists during the past twenty years have been packing their video cameras as essential speaking-up gear. The medium of Video has proved to be a dramatic weapon in reporting a crisis. Video activism gives voice to how your every-day activist experiences the issues at hand and makes the cause more co-involving for like-minded audiences around the world.

Video activism has been present since the 1960’s. The power brought to the individual by the hand-held camera has proved detrimental to the democratization of audiovisual news-coverage. The increasing user-friendliness of video technology along with the increase in affordability has led to the explosion of the video activist phenomenon during the past couple of decades. Supported by organized networks, video sharing sites such as Youtube, as well as by the social media boom, it has become increasingly easier for dedicated activists as well as impromptu users moved to action, to get their message through.

Watch the video on Video Activism against torture in Egypt and against corruption in Tunisia by clicking the link: http://www.informationactivism.org/tactic10video

Some important features, particular to Video Activism make this an efficient way of speaking up. As stated on the network VideoActivism.org:

  • Video Activism deters police violence.
  • Video Activism helps to document what occurs at actions, for legal follow-up purposes.
  • Video Activism doesn’t water-down, or alter the message of the people.
  • Video Activism allows the people themselves to shape public debate about our world of multiple crises, articulating what is truly relevant news about the world we share. The huge number of people who have their own video cameras at demonstrations today is testament to the democratization of electronic communications.
  • Video Activism is a big feature of the growing world of independent media. More and more concerned people, all over the world, are actually making their own media and by-passing the established, corporate-owned press with their own stories and their unique visions of a better world.

For the past twenty years people around the world have been increasingly turning to the video camera, a tool classically used by police and authoritarian governments, in order to bring to light their own sense of truth and justice. Manolis Andriotakis and Onur Metin are both experienced video activists who will be sharing the tricks of their trade at the Buffer Zone Bloggers weekend.

#18DaysInEgypt: Crowd-sourcing History

As widely acknowledged, a significant part of the revolution in Egypt was both documented and encouraged by the use of social media. For more than three weeks, the Egyptians uploaded hundreds of videos and pictures and left a trail of an infinite number of tweets between the January 25 protests that invigorated the movement and the day Hosni Mubarak stepped down. Now all this inside information is in danger of being lost to oblivion. It is true that the web provides a chance for immediate publication of events anywhere and by anyone in the world, but it is also true that tweets, uploads and posts have a short life span, being quickly liquidated by the same networks that allowed them to exist.

18 Days in Egypt is a project launched by former New York Times video journalist and current Knight fellow at Stanford University, Jigar Mehta. It aims to be an interactive, crowd-sourced documentary about the events of the revolution. “We want to use the same tools to tell the story as the story was told to us,” Mehta says. The site wants to tackle the difficult task of providing the right context for the raw videos and news that others have posted and collected. The project calls on people around the world to tag media from Egypt by its date, place and type. The documentary itself will evolve as footage flows in over the coming months. Mehta and his team are mulling several different formats for the final product, including an interactive feature like Arcade Fire’s Wilderness Downtown, which would allow users to view any moment of the 18-day revolution.

Design, content and social media join forces with 18 Days in Egypt, in the struggle to preserve the very personal side of history, that has emerged with events in Northern Africa. 18 Days in Egypt intents to make history not only accessible but sharable for generations to come. Follow the story on their site http://18daysinegypt.com/

When social media became news

Inside The Egyptian Revolution

Wael Ghonim is the Google executive who helped jumpstart Egypt’s democratic revolution … with a Facebook page memorializing a victim of the regime’s violence. Speaking at TEDxCairo, he tells the inside story of what happened when everyday Egyptians showed that “the power of the people is stronger than the people in power.”

The revolution will be bloggerized?

The revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya marked a tremendus shift in, among other things, the way we perceive the role of social media.

Who would believe a few years ago that facebook, twitter and youtube would become powerful tools in the struggle for the protection of human rights, freedom of speech and social change? Very few people and certainly not their initial creators.

On Saturday, 30th of April, bloggers and journalists from Middle East will share their views and experiences with the digital community of Nicosia in a web meeting organised by the NGO Support Centre and the CCMC.

Where: CCMC, Nicosia Buffer Zone (next to Ledra Palace)

When: 30 April 2011