A Bad Weekend for ME Bloggers and Social Networkers
It’s proving to be a bad weekend for bloggers and social networkers in the Middle East. First we had the arrest of the Egyptian blogger delegation, though most have apparently been freed on being returned to Cairo; next, a Jordanian appeals court ruled that the country’s press and publications law applies to electronic media; if the quoted post is correct, it suggests a blogger or Facebook poster might even be jailed for a comment posted to their account by someone else. And Jordan is one of the more wired IT countries. And for good measure, Iran’s police chief is warning that e-mailers and tweeters organizing protests will be punished more harshly than the protesters proper. And saying that the use of proxies won’t protect them.
Did I ever mention that last summer, when Iran cracked down on the protests by virtually shutting down the Internet, my Google Analytics numbers for Iran dropped from a fair number of hits a day to zero. Except that every other day — every other day except Fridays when the Government is closed — I got precisely one visit from Tehran, and nothing from elsewhere in Iran. Who could that be, that had access when everyone else didn’t, and Fridays off? Hmm…
In the long run, I think this is King Canute telling the sea to roll back, but in the short run, a lot of people could get jail time.