Wanderlust…

The International Reporting (and Life) Adventures of Vivian Salama

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In the Egypt Independent’s closure, an end of a beginning

Posted by vmsalama on April 30, 2013

by Vivian Salama

Columbia Journalism Review

April 30, 2013

Like many things in Egypt these days, the fight to save the Egypt Independent from termination went viral almost instantly. A cry for help by the newspaper’s editors earlier this year cited “the current economic crisis” as reason for the looming closure of the country’s most highly respected English-language newspaper, as well as the “political limitations manifested in rising restrictions on freedom of expression” since the election of President Mohamed Morsi.

Journalists protest outside the Journalists' Syndicate in Cairo

Journalists protest outside the Journalists’ Syndicate in Cairo

 

“On April 25, after weeks of international campaigns and fundraisers, the executive management of the Independent abruptly pulled the plug on its operations, days earlier than scheduled. A statement from the editorial staff read:

“Four years after the birth of Egypt Independent, the management of Al-Masry Media Corporation has informed our editorial team that our print and onlinenews operation is being shut down.”

Because we owe it to our readers, we decided to put together a closing edition, which would have been available on 25 April, to explain the conditions under which a strong voice of independent and progressive journalism in Egypt is being terminated.

Opened four years ago as an English language division to privately owned Arabic daily El Masry El Youm, the newspaper was one of few that chronicled the real beginnings of the Egyptian revolution, from the economic deterioration to the death of Khaled Said, brutally beaten to death by police in Alexandria in 2010—coverage of which went viral on social media websites, planting the seed for the January 25, 2011 popular uprising.

“This kind of press played an important role in the wave of contentious politics that started in 2005 and onwards,” said Lina Attalah, editor in chief of the now defunctEgypt Independent. The paper’s closure has made headlines around the world, as it represents a blatant setback for a revolution hard fought and now, seemingly, coming apart at the seams.

Like a handful of news organizations in Egypt today, Egypt Independent lured a new generation of journalists that were not schooled in the art of self-censorship, once a necessity to operate safely as a reporter in Egypt. These newly untethered journalists put emphasis on the post-uprising day-to-day struggles, as well as on more mainstream coverage of street battles, sectarian strife, and rape. Most importantly, the paper provided a medium for bilingual Egyptians to speak to people beyond their borders with an intellectual, analytical, nuanced voice, often tackling issues that would otherwise not get attention in the international media. (more….)

Posted in Al Jazeera, Arab, Arab Media & Society, Arab Spring, Arabic, Bloggers, Cairo University, Censorship, Comedy, Constitution, corruption, Culture, Daily Star Egypt, dictatorship, discrimination, Economy, Education, Egypt, Elections, Employment, Freedom of Speech, Journalism, Judiciary, Media, Middle East, Mubarak, Muslim Brotherhood, Politics, Protests | Leave a Comment »

Middle East Activists Muzzled and Arrested in Arab Gulf States

Posted by vmsalama on April 5, 2013

April 4, 2013

The Daily Beast (click here for original link)

By Vivian Salama

Within hours of being handed a two-year jail term for allegedly insulting the ruler of Kuwait, 27-year old Hamed Al Khalidi turned to Twitter– the very apparatus that got him into trouble—with a poem:

“I said: why prison?

I’m not a thief; I’m not a criminal…

neither deliberate nor accidental.

But when I realized my sentence serves my country,

I began to enjoy prison as though it is paradise.”

gulf activismAl Khalidi is part of a growing list of young activists in Kuwait and across the Arab Gulf being targeted for “electronic crimes”—for voicing the very same longing for freedom, justice, and opportunity as those in countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, where online activism catalyzed mass street protests. Days before Al Khalidi’s sentencing, the Kuwaiti appeals court extended the jail term of another opposition Twitterer, Bader al-Rashidi, from two to five years on charges that he attempted to instigate a coup and insulted the country’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah. Kuwait, home to the most dynamic political system in the Gulf, has already sentenced some 10 online activists to various prison terms on charges ranging from insulting members of parliament (or the Emir) to inciting protests.

“The government of Kuwait and other Gulf governments have begun to feel the danger of Twitter that toppled presidents and governments in the Arab countries and it is clear from the way they are abusing many Twitter users with these false charges,” said Mohammed Al Humaidi, a lawyer and director of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights. “Most of the Gulf governments don’t have a law specifically linked to electronic crimes, and so this is unconstitutional.” (more…)

Posted in Abu Dhabi, Algeria, Arab, Arab Spring, Arabic, Bahrain, Bloggers, Censorship, corruption, dictatorship, discrimination, Dubai, Economy, Egypt, Elections, Employment, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Hosni Mubarak, Internet, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Journalism, Khalidi, Media, Middle East, Mohamed Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood, Oman, Persian Gulf, Politics, Protests, Qatar, Religion, Saudi Arabia, Skype, Social Media, Television, Tunisia, Twitter, United Arab Emirates, Viber, Whatsapp | Leave a Comment »

Saudi Arabia: The Internet’s Enemy Cracks Down on Skype, Whatsapp, and Viber

Posted by vmsalama on March 29, 2013

by Vivian Salama

Mar 29, 2013

The Daily Beast 

Infamous for the severe measures it uses to crack down on alleged security threats, Saudi Arabia is now picking on web-based communication apps, which teens rely on heavily for daily contact. Vivian Salama reports.

Photo by HASSAN AMMARSkype, Whatsapp and Viber are subject to a ban in Saudi Arabia, as it demands the rights to monitor all communications via these web-based communications apps.

Despite a medley of applications now available to help Internet users avert such a ban, the kingdom declared that it would block the services within its borders unless the operators grant the government surveillance rights. The companies have until Saturday—the start of the Saudi workweek— to respond to Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), local news reports said.

While Saudi Arabia is infamous for taking authoritarian measures to crack down on perceived security threats, it has increasingly shifted its attention toward the telecommunications sector in recent months. The CITC announced in September that all pre-paid SIM card users must enter a personal identification number when recharging their accounts and the number must match the one registered with their mobile operator when the SIM is purchased. The country’s second-largest telecom company, known as Mobily, was temporarily banned from selling its pay-as-you-go SIM cards after it failed to comply with the new regulations.

“A proposal for a ban would be driven by political and security concerns as opposed to economic concerns,” said Aiyah Saihati, a Saudi businesswoman and writer. “The Saudi government is refraining from taking an extremely authoritarian style dealing with its critical youth population. Saudi may try, without censorship, to find ways to monitor communications.”

As revolution gripped much of the Arab world in 2011, Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, spearheaded a counterrevolution—working to appease its critics with monetary and political concessions, while suppressing protests via brutal crackdowns. Reporters Without Borders lists Saudi Arabia as an “Enemy of the Internet,” saying last year that “its rigid opposition to the simmering unrest on the Web caused it to tighten its Internet stranglehold even more to stifle all political and social protests.” (click here to read more…)

 

Posted in Abu Dhabi, Arab, Arab Spring, Arabic, Bahrain, Blackberry, Bloggers, Business, Censorship, dictatorship, Dubai, Economy, Education, Egypt, Elections, Employment, Film, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Google, Human Rights, Internet, Islam, Israel, Jihad, Journalism, Kuwait, Libya, Media, Middle East, Oman, Politics, Protests, Qatar, Religion, Saudi Arabia, Sexuality, Shi'ite, Skype, Social Media, Television, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Viber, Whatsapp, Women, YouTube | Leave a Comment »

Egypt’s Historic Vote is Underway!

Posted by vmsalama on May 24, 2012

At long last, voting is underway in Egypt!!! Citizens queued from early hours to vote for the first president since overthrowing Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. It’s been a tumultuous road to get to this day, but even from thousands of miles away I can sense the excitement of my Egyptian friends and family, many of whom voted today for the first time in their lives. I happen to be a junkie of political cartoons and have been collecting many along the way to Election Day.

Here are a couple I wanted to share. (I will be writing an editorial on the election in a few days when we have a better indication of how the people voted).

Which one is your favorite?!! (I think the one of Obama is my favorite!)

 

Posted in Arab, Arab Spring, Bahrain, Bloggers, burqa, dictatorship, Economy, Education, Egypt, Elections, Employment, Freedom of Speech, halal, Human Rights, Internet, Islam, Lebanon, Libya, Media, Middle East, military, Mubarak, Muslim Brotherhood, Obama, Persian Gulf, Politics, Protests, Religion, Salafi, Saudi Arabia, State of Emergency, Succession, Syria, Television, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates | Leave a Comment »

Greetings from Algeria

Posted by vmsalama on May 19, 2012

I’ve had a fascinating week in Algeria, learning about the culture and political climate. Many saw Algeria as an inevitable candidate for an “Arab Spring,” but on the ground, I found the people to be experiencing major war fatigue and would prefer a diplomatic approach to their issues. I will post some photos in the coming days, but here is one of my articles:

Why Algeria’s Grievances Don’t Spark a Revolution

By Vivian Salama

Time.com (Click here for original link)

Earlier this month, a policeman offering no explanation simply confiscated the cigarettes that Rachak Hamza, 25, had been vending in a desperate effort to make ends meet. Local papers in the easter Algerian port city of Jijel, say Hamza erupted in a “fit of rage,” returning to the scene with a tank of gas which he used to drench his body before lighting a match. But unlike the similar act of outrage by vegetable vendor Mohammed Bouazizi that triggered last year’s revolution in neighboring Tunisia, Hamza’s story was quickly forgotten. Indeed, it was just one of at least 50 acts of self-immolation as protest reported across Algeria since January last year, according to local health authorities. None of them has, thus far, inspired a revolt.

"We want freedom" -- in Ain Taya, Algeria/Photo by Vivian Salama

“We want freedom” — in Ain Taya, Algeria/Photo by Vivian Salama

Closer to the capital, the words “we want freedom” are spray-painted in Arabic alongside mobile homes in the suburb of Ain Taya. Down the road, in French, the words “On Vuet Vivre” — we want to live — decorate another building.

Algeria’s ruling party took nearly half the seats in parliamentary elections last week, a stunning deviation from previous votes that saw significant opposition victories, particularly among Islamist parties. The ruling National Liberation Front said Wednesday the vote confirmed the electorate’s desire “to safeguard national stability,” but opposition groups have cried fraud. If the wave of religious conservatism sweeping this North African country is any indication, Islamists are far more influential in Algeria than its election results reflect.

On the street, beleaguered citizens believe change is beyond reach. Unemployment is too high; youth activism is too low; and memories are still seared by the decade-long bloodbath that followed the military’s overturning of the 1991 election that looked set to bring the Islamists to power. Corruption is rampant, draining the country of much of the wealth generated by its oil exports. “The issue here, very simple, is democracy,” says Makri Abderrazak, a former member of parliament and vice president of the Movement for the Society of Peace, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which swept elections in Tunisia and Egypt. “People want jobs, people want basic rights, people want to benefit from the country’s resources, but this government is not giving them the chance and this fraudulent election means things will only get worse.”  (more…)

Centre Ville Algiers/By Vivian Salama

Centre Ville Algiers/By Vivian Salama

Posted in Africa, Arab, Arab Spring, Arabic, Bloggers, Economy, Education, Elections, Employment, Europe, France, Internet, Islam, Middle East, Muslim Brotherhood | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

“The Protester”: A Photo Journal of the Egyptian Revolution

Posted by vmsalama on December 15, 2011

Thanks to TIME Magazine for recognizing the revolutionaries all over the world… I’ve been meaning to write this for quite some time but only finding the chance to do it now.

A year ago when Mohammed Bouazizi, a fruit vendor in Tunisia, burned himself out of frustration from a political system that neglected him, I was en route to Beirut ahead of the Christmas holiday and writing, mainly, about the credit crunch in the Arab Gulf states and mounting concerns that the banking system would not soon recover from the blow. Days after I returned from Beirut, my host, Rania Abouzeid, came to stay with me in Dubai in a desperate attempt to fly to Tunisia, where flights were almost entirely grounded amid an uprising across the country. It was hard to imagine then that the desperate act of this young man not only set in motion a revolution in his country, but around across the region.

Jan. 27, 2011: me and Rania Abouzeid heading to Cairo (at 3am -- ughhh!!!)

On January 14, 2011, following a month of violent protests against his rule, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali – Tunisia’s president since 1987 — was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia along with his wife and their three children.  A week later, Rania and I were on a flight to Cairo where calls for a revolution had begun to circulate on social media websites. They were days I will never forget, and with TIME Magazine’s 2011 Person of the Year issue being dedicated this year to The Protester, I want to share with you all a few memories and photos of the protesters I met in Cairo this year. (Click here to read some of my stories on the Arab Spring)

On January 27, two days after the protests officially begun, Internet and mobile phone service was completely cut off in Egypt and we were left guessing where crowds were gathering. After trying a few spots around town, Rania and I decided to go toward the Mohendiseen neighborhood near the Moustafa Mahmoud mosque. It was a good guess! About 500 protesters had gathered after Friday prayers where they came face to face with riot police chanting slogans like “The people want the end of the regime” and “Hosni Mubarak: illegitimate.”

We began to march, with the intention of going toward Tahrir Square. (Rania and I were quickly separated in the crowd and were each forced to continue reporting on our own). Weaving through side streets and alleys in the Cairo neighborhood, people watched us from balconies, throwing bottles of water, garlic and onions, and bottles of vinegar – all simply remedies for tear gas inhalation, because everyone knew what lie ahead.  The longer we marched, the more the crowd swelled, with protesters called on those people in their homes not to be afraid.
Photo by Vivian Salama

Cairo, January 27, 2011/Photo by Vivian Salama

photo by Vivian Salama

Cairo, January 27, 2011/Photo by Vivian Salama

Photo by Vivian Salama
Jan 27: Protesters Near Moustafa Mahmoud Mosque/Photo by Vivian SalamaS

Sure enough, we were quickly confronted by tanks and soldiers firing tear gas at the crowd. I’ve never seen so much camaraderie in my life. Soldiers at a nearby military hospital threw medical masks at the protesters and pharmacists handed them out to the crowds. At one point I felt quite ill from the tear gas. A man approached from behind me and pressed a vinegar-covered mask against my mouth and nose. A nearby vendor (who probably struggles to feed his own family with the pennies he earns) emptied his refrigerator, handing out water bottles and cans of soda to the fatigued protesters.

Every where I looked, people were helping each other, helping strangers tie their masks, sharing water bottles, aiding those who were most affected by the gas.

There was one point, marching with the crowd from Mohendiseen, when we approached a major intersection and I heard roaring cheers. I jumped up on a car to see what had happened and was personally overcome by emotion. From three different directions, massive groups of protesters were approaching the intersection – the other groups coming from as far as Giza and the Nasr City. They did this without Internet or mobile phones.

Photo by Vivian Salama

Cairo, January 27, 2011/Photo by Vivian Salama

Groups of young men pushed to the front of the crowd and began to battle riot police, taking over their vehicles and chasing them away. Our group, now numbered in the hundreds of thousands, pushed slowly across the historic Qasr El Nil bridge in an attempt to move into Tahrir. There were moments when I worried that an attack by the military would trigger a stampede – we were stuffed tightly onto the bridge. But every time protesters began to push back, the young men in the crowd would grab the women in the crowd and push them against the bridge railing so to protect them from being knocked down.

photo by Vivian Salama

Some were more prepared than others!! Cairo Jan. 27, 2011/Photo by Vivian Salama

It was a long night with protesters burning the ruling National Democratic Party headquarters and battling with soldiers in Tahrir. Riot police trucks were set on fire (and the Semiramis Hotel, where many journalists took refuge) was partially on fire for part of the evening. I was trapped in Tahrir for the night and forced to take a last minute room at the Semiramis. I woke up early the next morning to a different Cairo, where charred military tanks stood in the middle of Tahrir Square and smoke billowed from the NDP headquarters and, sadly, from the adjacent National Museum. It would take another two weeks (only!) to overthrow Hosni Mubarak but that first Friday was by far the most memorable. There is an Arabic expression that often refers to the Egyptian people as being “light blooded” (light hearted/good senses of humor). They definitely showed their spirit throughout the frustrating 19 days (and 30 years) it took to shake up their political system.

Photo by Vivian Salama

Tahrir Square, January 28, 2011/Photo by Vivian Salama

Photo by Vivian Salama

Tahrir Square, January 28, 2011/Photo by Vivian Salama

me in Tahrir (late January 2011)

I visited Bahrain in the weeks that followed and I spent a lot of time covering the uprisings in Yemen and, less so, the ongoing crisis in Syria. After years of battling misguided stereotypes of terrorism and violence, these protesters have showed the world that they desire freedom and a decent standard of living and they have the right to demand it just as those in Europe and the US demand of their governments.

The Tunisians, Egyptians and all the other citizens around the world fighting for democracy have a very long and bumpy road ahead.  The TIME Magazine Person of the Year issue questions whether there is a global tipping point for frustration. I believe what happened this year is, in large part, because of overpopulation and because of the global economic slowdown touched societies rich and poor – but toppled those that were already on the brink before markets crash. The world is smaller than ever thanks to the Internet and various technologies that allow us to share experiences with people on opposite corners of the world. As we continue to get closer, and the world, smaller, it will become impossible to distance ourselves from even the most seemingly remote events.

Photo by Vivian Salama

Cairo, January 27, 2011/Photo by Vivian Salama

Posted in American, Arab, Arab League, Arab Spring, Arabic, Bloggers, Cairo University, Censorship, Coptic, Culture, dictatorship, discrimination, Economy, Education, Egypt, Elections, Employment, Environment, Foreign Policy, Hosni Mubarak, Internet, Journalism, Libya, Media, Middle East, military, Mubarak, Muslim Brotherhood, Negotiation, Obama, Politics, Qaddafi, Qatar, Recession, Refugees, Religion, State of Emergency, Succession, Syria, Terrorism, Tunisia, United Nations, United States, Yemen | Leave a Comment »

Hossein Deraskshan Arrested

Posted by vmsalama on November 24, 2008

I received some troubling news today about a friend of mine – journalist and blogger Hossein Derakhshan.  Hossein was arrested in Tehran, allegedly on charges of spying for the Israeli government.  Last week he was detained in Tehran, and Jahan News, an Iranian Pres Agency, put out news that he had ‘confessed’ to spying for Israel. No one has heard from his since, and his blog has not been updated for weeks.

Hossein had a very highly publicized trip to Israel a few years back which he not only blogged about (with video) and which was also highly covered in the Israeli media.  He’s been studying in Canada and then London for several years now and was returning home to live with his family. I spoke to him a few weeks ago and he was really thrilled to be returning home.

I wrote an article about Hossein a few years ago — that is how we met and have since become friends.  Here is my article, which illustrates his last run in with the Iranian authorities:

Arab and Iranian Bloggers: Emerging Threat to Official Line

 I suspect he is in a lot of trouble.  Charges like this are no joke in Iran, as the article below indicates.

Iran Executes Man in Spy Case, and Blogger’s Arrest Is Reported

Published: November 22, 2008
TEHRAN — Iran has executed a man convicted of spying for Israel, the semiofficial Fars news agency reported Saturday.
hossein1

The agency reported that Ali Ashtari was executed by hanging on Monday. It said he was arrested in 2006 and confessed during his trial in June to spying for Israel through security and telecommunication equipment.

Iranian news media reported in June that Mr. Ashtari, 45, had received a death sentence for spying. At the time, newspapers said he had been the manager of a company selling communication and security equipment to the Iranian government.

An Israeli official said in June that Israel had no knowledge of his case.

Tension between Iran and Israel has escalated in recent months over Iran’s nuclear program. Israel has not ruled out launching a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran does not recognize Israel as a state and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has spoken of Israel with hostility since his election in 2005.

A Web site affiliated with the Iranian Intelligence Ministry has reported that a high-profile blogger, Hossein Derakhshan, was also arrested this month and accused of spying for Israel. Judiciary officials have not confirmed his arrest but the Web site, Jahan News, reported that he had confessed to spying for Israel.

Mr. Derakhshan, an Iranian-Canadian, had lived in Canada since 2000 but moved back to Tehran a few weeks ago. He traveled to Israel in 2007 and wrote about it on his blog.

Abraham Rabinovich, an Israeli journalist who interviewed Mr. Derakhshan in Jerusalem two years ago, described him in an op-ed article for The International Herald Tribune on Friday as an “Iranian patriot” who through his blog “offered the first views of ordinary life in Israel that Iranians had been able to see.”

Mr. Rabinovich quoted Mr. Derakhshan as saying: “I want to humanize Israel for Iranians and tell them it’s not what the Islamic propaganda machine is saying, that Israelis are thirsty for Muslim blood. And I want to show Israel that the average Iranian isn’t even thinking about doing harm to Israel.”

Posted in Bloggers, Hossein Derakhshan, Iran, Israel | Leave a Comment »

Blogging in Cuba

Posted by vmsalama on March 8, 2008

My new pal Curt Hopkins, creator of the group Committee to Protect Bloggers and master of the domain blog.morphemetales.com, wrote to me this week with regard to something he’s looking at – Blogging in Cuba.  According to Curt, blogging did not exist in Cuba as recently as one year ago.  However, some have begun to spring up, some of them written by pro-Revolution types, in fact.  These guys have been critical in assessing the future of their country, particularly these days when their president of 49 years, Fidel Castro, announced that he would not return to political life (some have even speculated that the 81-year old ruler died, and the newspaper announcement was merely a cover-up so to prevent hysteria in the country.  Here’s the entry Curt posted this week.

Several times over the last couple of years we tried to find any evidence of blogging in Cuba, the last time was about a year ago. Then, there were none I could find (though they may have been out there somewhere). Now, there are a number of them, the best known of which is probably Yoani Sanchez of Generacion Y. Yoani created Consenso Desde Cuba, a blog site for Cubans and has been featured in media outside Cuba.We are trying to create an exhaustive list of Cuban bloggers (specifically, Cubans blogging from within Cuba). Here is what we have so far. If you know of any other bloggers, Cuban citizens blogging inside Cuba, regardless of political affiliation, please let us know in the comments. If we list a blog not written by a Cuban inside Cuba, please let us know that as well. We anticipate this list will grow over time. 

 

Desde aquí

El Blog de Dimas

El Blog del Forista ‘El Compañero’

Generación Y

mi isla al mediodia

NotiCuba

RegaladoRetazos

sin EV Asión   

So here’s what I ask from you.  If you have any information that might help Curt out – let either of us know!  I think this will make for a fascinating study.  I wish him luck!

Posted in Bloggers, Cuba | 3 Comments »

Egyptian blogger who posted images of police brutality booted from YouTube

Posted by vmsalama on November 30, 2007

Wow. This is really too bad — a blow to all cyber-dissidents around the world.

Check out my article on the political implications of Arab and Iranian bloggers: Arab and Iranian Bloggers: Emerging Threat to the Official Line

CAIRO (CNN) — An award-winning Egyptian human rights activist who posts
videos about police abuse  said he had his account suspended by YouTube because of complaints that the videos contain “inappropriate material.”

 

 

 

Wael Abbas, an anti-torture watchdog, told CNN on Wednesday that there have been 100 videos posted on his account containing images of torture, police brutality, demonstrations, strikes, sit-ins, and election irregularities. Material he has posted is no longer available on the popular video-sharing Web site.
      He said YouTube sent him an e-mail saying they suspended it. “They didn’t ask me to remove it. They said ‘your account isn’t working,’ ” he said.

      When asked about the account, a YouTube spokesperson said, “We take these matters very seriously, but we don’t comment on individual videos.”

      YouTube regulations state that “graphic or gratuitous violence” is not allowed and violations of the terms of use could result in the ending of an account and deleting all of the videos in it.

      “YouTube prohibits inappropriate content on the site, and our community effectively polices the site for inappropriate material,” the spokesperson said. “Users can flag content that they feel is inappropriate and once it is flagged it is reviewed by our staff and removed from the system within minutes if it violates our Community Guidelines or Terms of Use. We also disable the accounts of repeat offenders.”

      Abbas admitted that some of the videos were in fact “graphic,” but said it is important to convey strong imagery to underscore the issue of abuse and make an “impact on public opinion.” 

      He likened the importance of such graphic imagery to the photos and videos that emerged in 2004 and illustrated the brutality in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, stoking international outrage.

      “We managed to direct the attention of the people to something that was taboo, something that was never discussed before — which is police brutality and torture inside police stations,” said Abbas, referring to his videos.

      The 33-year-old Abbas also operates one of Egypt’s best known blogs, misrdigital.com, and the popularity exists in large part to the frequent postings about police abuse. 

      He has gotten international notice recently, with the International Center for Journalists recently awarding a Knight International Journalism Award to Abbas for his work.
 In one prominent incident, Abbas posted a video on his blog of a police officer binding and sodomizing an Egyptian bus driver who intervened in a dispute between police and another driver. 
      The video was one of the factors that led the conviction of two police officers, who were sentenced to three years each in connection with the incident. “It’s the first time Egyptian people saw something like that,” Abbas said, referring to beatings and torture. “It was a shock to the Egyptian people.”

      The blogger, who said he’s in a “state of shock” because he lost videos he’s uploaded for years, said he might resort to campaigning against YouTube. “We thought that YouTube was our ally,” Abbas said. “It helped show the truth in countries like Burma … With what they did now, it doesn’t seem like that anymore,” Abbas said.

      Abbas said he has also had a problem with Yahoo! because it shut down two
of his e-mail accounts, accusing him of being a spammer.

Posted in Bloggers, Egypt, Middle East | Leave a Comment »

How the World Sees America – Amar Bakshi speaks to my students

Posted by vmsalama on October 19, 2007

A special thanks to Washingtonpost.com’s young globe-trotting extraordinaire Amar Bakshi for hooking my students at Rutgers University up with this inside look into the world of a professional blogger/reporter/traveler/packpacker.  For anyone interested in new media reporting, I highly recommend you check out this clip Amar shot just days before leaving on his latest journey around the world.  Good luck, Amar!!

Posted in Amar Bakshi, Bloggers, Journalism, South Korea, Turkey, Washington Post | Leave a Comment »

 
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