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Internet : a weapon on mass revolution ?

first_img News Download the article in PDF Organisation Almost 500 bloggers were arrested in 2008 because of their online activity. Gamal Eid, Director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights in Cairo said, “It was the worst year since 1952”, the date on which Egypt theoretically became a democracy. To find out more, read the article. Related documents Internet : a weapon of mass revolution ?PDF – 703.91 KB Detained woman journalist pressured by interrogator, harassed by prison staff April 6, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Internet : a weapon on mass revolution ? News February 1, 2021 Find out more January 22, 2021 Find out more Less press freedom than ever in Egypt, 10 years after revolution EgyptMiddle East – North Africa EgyptMiddle East – North Africa RSF_en Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein back home after four years in prison Short history of a contested viral strikeA strike broke out on 6 April 2008 in Mahalla, north of Cairo, site of the country’s largest textile factory. The same day, members of a group on the social networking site Facebook were arrested for having passed on information about the strike. 1,254 strikes are known to be organised in the country between 6 April and 31 December 2008, despite the fact that they are illegal. Agence France-Presse correspondent in Cairo, Mona Salem described the 6 April movement as a “rare” moment in contemporary Egyptian history. Having covered the story for the agency, she believes the interest of the movement “does not lie in its results, because nothing has changed. It simply shows that young people without any particular political affiliation care about what is going on in their society”. This nationalist upsurge has puzzled the government, which has been caught off its guard. Social networking sites can be used as a means of getting out protest messages and the Internet represents an invaluable space for the new Egyptian generation since it is gradually replacing the unions and political campaigning in the universities. “The government is like an octopus reaching out its tentacles to try to find a guilty party every time it is criticised. The Internet helps us to make our protest better known. It doesn’t matter that there wasn’t any demonstration in one city. Thanks to this means of communication, it can take place in another”, one “6 April” blogger told Reporters Without Borders. الإنترنت: سلاح الثورة الشاملة؟ Since 6 April 2008, many Egyptian Internet users have been tirelessly communicating a message that their society must change. Having grown up under the state of emergency law that prevents them from expressing themselves freely, they have also been the first in line for harassment from the authorities. More than 500 of them were arrested in 2008, because of the content of their online posts. The Internet has been a background clamour in Egyptian political life since the 2005 legislative elections. It’s a buzz that is attracting more and more Egyptians. The reputation of the local blogopshere is growing at the same speed as the numbers of its enthusiastic users. Today the country has the highest Internet penetration rate on the African continent (20% of the population regularly goes online).The fact that young Egyptians are turning to the Internet in ever greater numbers has led to the authorities’ stepping up their surveillance of this group. Security agents now throng the stock exchange district of the capital (Borsa Street) listening in to bloggers talking about “revolution”, “change”, “anger”, and the date of 6 April 2009.A call went out in 2009 for 6 April to become a day of “anger”. Every means of communication has since been pressed into service to spread the message far and wide, including slogans scrawled on bank notes and thousands of text messages sent to random phone numbers. The young Facebook users have no political experience and their real numbers are unknown. But that is their strength. Since any type of meeting is banned under the state of emergency law which the country has been under for 28 years, the Internet allows meetings to be held through a computer.If you can’t control the Internet, intimidate its users “We have an independent press but it doesn’t break any rules. We post photos and film on our blogs to break those rules. It is a bit like letting the genie out of the lamp, which can never go back into it”, said Wael Abbas, one of Egypt’s most emblematic bloggers. It was he who exposed one of the biggest scandals of the decade, by posting videos on his blog in January 2007, showing two police officers carrying out acts of torture in a Cairo police station, almost certainly leading to their conviction and being sent to prison, something which has not happened in the country for more than 20 years. Many young people started blogging because they were inspired by his example. Since the development of the Internet trend, the screw has been tightening around telecommunications. Since 2008, Egyptians have been unable to get an unregistered telephone line but the control is not total. New rules are now in force under which users of WiFi now have to pay for a connection, for which they need to provide an email address to have the password and user name sent. Moreover, a draft law is under debate in Parliament about Net regulation, providing for prison sentences for “abusive Internet use” and for “publication of multi-media content without government permission”. But the bloggers have continued their work. Blogger Mohammed Adel, who was held for four months for posting articles online and taking up a political position on the Israel-Palestinian question, has not given up. To date, he still does not know where he was held. It was his fourth arrest in two years, but he continues the fight. News February 6, 2021 Find out more News “Whoever affronts the President of the Republic can be convicted of detention” (penal code, article 179)“Freedom of opinion is guaranteed. Every individual has the right to express his opinion and to publicise it verbally or in writing or by photography or by other means within the limits of the law. Self-criticism and constructive criticism is the guarantee for the safety of the national structure” (Constitution, article 47) Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Egypt Receive email alerts The “6 April” movement is much more than a simple Facebook story. It is pushing at the limits of dissidence. “In Egypt, dissidence is being homosexual or undermining established moral order”, says Iman Farag. “It has nothing to do with young people being concerned about the future of their country, who learn about politics from books. Perhaps that is their “revolution”. Compared to countries seen as repressive like China, Vietnam or, closer, Tunisia, Libya and Saudi Arabia, the Egyptian regime does not see these young people as dissidents. Activists who use this network do not hide themselves and their means of communication rely on completely open viral techniques. But this story is an example of a challenge thrown down to the authorities: “If you are there, show yourself. If you think that we live by the rule of law, prove it.” to go furtherlast_img read more

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