AMMAN, Jan 23 (KUNA) -- The Fourth Arab Bloggers Meeting came to a close on
Thursday with the conferees recommending to Arabize blogging.
The three-day gathering, a Heinrich Boll Foundation-Global Voices joint
event, brought together some 85 digital activists, bloggers and academics from
the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and beyond.
The Arab bloggers admitted that they face problems in expressing themselves
in Arabic and addressing the Arab followers as far as new words and idioms are
concerned which force them to use other languages.
They asked the Arabic Language Academy to play a greater role in resolving
this problem and commended the United Nations Economic and Social Commission
for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA) efforts in this regard.
Speakers at the first session, themed "From Observers to Actors: A
Reflection on the Transitioning Role of Arab B loggers" acknowledged that
three years since the start of the Arab uprisings, digital activists and
bloggers in the MENA region have been facing new political paradigms and
challenges to their work due to uncertainty about the future and political
These challenges put strains on the attempted transitions to democracy and
the freedom of expression and often resulted in pains especially for activists
and bloggers who supported the Arab uprisings, according to the conferees.
The second session dealt the theme of "Censorship Doesn't Matter Anymore:
Surveillance is the Real Problem."
The speakers condemned the repressive practices of the security services
including the tapping on bloggers and violation of their privacies.
The third session "Creativity and Transition: Art and Artists in the
Post-Revolution," moderated by Mark LeVine - University of California Irvine -
analyzed the challenges facing Arab artists in the post-uprising era.
Other debates discussed topics such as "The Shifting Winds of Activism,"
"Does Internet Governance Matter in the Arab World?," and
"Activist/Journalist/Activist" with Hossam Hamalawy arguing that "in a
dictatorship independent journalism by default becomes a form of activism and
the spread of information is essentially an act of agitation."
Among the speakers were Hisham Almiraat, Mohamed ElGohary, Leila Nachawati,
Ellery Biddle, and Amira Al-Hussaini from the Global Voices; Jillian York -
Electronic Frontier Foundation; Amr Gharbeia; and Walid Al-Saqaf - the chair
of the Internet Society Yemen Chapter.
The first and second Arab bloggers meetings were held in Beirut in 2009 and
2010, the third was held in Tunisia in following year. (end)
KUNA 232149 Jan 14NNNN