• February 19, 2007

MB blogs: A Step Towards More Freedom of Expression

MB blogs: A Step Towards More Freedom of Expression

After Internet activists, Internet parties and websites which discuss political and social issues which were previously tabooed in Egypt and the Arab world, Egyptian bloggers emerged to discuss various issues in Egypt and talk more freely and even sarcastically on the cyberspace about public concerns; their frank and revolutionary opinions in these weblogs may make famous newspapers or websites stop short of quoting from them !


During the past two years, when Egyptian bloggers started their activity, the weblogs have served as a cathartic effect for the youth to get rid of their frustrations in the political and social arenas, through writing in a private blog set up by every young man and young woman with full freedom and for free on the Internet, to defy taboos in art, politics, religion and literature through writing about every thing, any thing and against any thing !


The blogger mostly gives his weblog a comic or sarcastic pseudonym, or he may give it a name that reflects the conditions of corruption or political and social frustrations that he wants to give vent to. 

Bloggers Lead Press


The bloggers managed to top all other media, including the press, as they are affording something more than giving information; they have used technology to help people give vent to their feelings, and give people the chance to express themselves and show their own views their conflicting feelings.


The most important point is that these bloggers are faster than the press and even televisions as much as publishing news is concerned; they post news, pictures, commentaries, political analyses, stories, diaries and feelings, in a way that makes them a strong rival to other media which sometimes take news from them, specially after using digital video cameras to take shots of demonstrations and possible confrontations with the police, and posting footages of the incidents on their weblogs on the same day.


The only difference may be the standard of accuracy, credibility and authentication of information which are a concern for newspapers and other media, while they aren’t available at the blogger who posts one-sided views, news and comments which may reflect a personal opinion.


Egyptians Bloggers


Like the US bloggers who played a political role in revealing Bush administration’s exercises in Iraq, the Egyptian bloggers launched their weblogs out of the same field, the political concerns, and they have made use of these free pages on the Internet to post their views freely in various fields, including literary, artistic, political, personal and social ones; these weblogs increased to the extent that, since the phenomenon started two years ago, the number of Egyptian bloggers has reached more than 1000.


This phenomenon started in Egypt in mid 2004 when the campaign rejecting the hereditary transfer of power snowballed and while the demonstrations of Kifaya Movement were launched (for the first time in December 2004) to oppose the hereditary transfer of power from Mubarak Sr. to Mubarak Jr. and they became tougher throughout 2005 with intense preparations ahead of the Egyptian presidential and legislative elections; in the midst of this atmosphere emerged weblogs to express views of Egyptian people who reject the idea of transferring rule from president Mubarak to his son Gamal, and to attack the wide-spread corruption, calling for reform and change, and posting pictures of demonstrations that were taking to streets and news about seminars, lectures and statements around these controversial issues.


The most famous weblogs were affiliated to Egyptian Liberal, Leftist, Nasserist trends, in addition to the Islamic movement especially the Muslim Brotherhood group.


One of the most famous weblogs is the mainly English language

http//baheyya.Blogspot.com  that gives foreign surfers the chance to follow up what is happening in Egypt.


These weblogs, specially those written in English and French languages (about 50 % of the Egyptian weblogs) helped people outside know the detention of a number of famous bloggers and posting news which US, European and Japanese newspapers sometimes quoted from them.


The Western focus was shed on the weblog http//baheyya.blogspot.com which is specialized in political analyses, and has been browsed by about ten thousand persons after Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, an Egyptian political analyst, hinted at it.

There is also the weblog http//www.manalaa.net which has been set up by a couple of human rights activists and it won the prize of Reporters Without Borders as the best weblog in Arabic.


The web site http//www.egybloggers.com shows that the number of Egyptians weblogs has reached 1034, including 559 (53 %) in Arabic, 469 (45 %) in English, and six only (0.6 %) in French.


The report of the international center for press freedom confirmed that there is a considerable rise in the number Arabic weblogs in the last few years, adding that although these weblogs are seemingly diverse, but they have a common factor: thay have distinguished critical approach that poses a a new challenge to authorities in the Arab world.


There are many political and personal weblogs in The Egyptian Blog Ring that includes 212 English language weblogs, 228 Arabic language weblogs and 4 French ones that reflect a steadily and continuously growing community that has a considerable consciousness and considerable unity, but there is a huge gap between this cyberspace community and the great majority of Egyptian young men.


Muslim Brotherhood Bloggers, Farewell to Organizational Restrictions


Amid this huge number of weblogs, the blogs of the Muslim Brotherhood’s young members emerged to draw a new media line outside the Muslim Brotherhood ‘s traditional media.


With the spread of weblogs among MB young men, there emerge free areas in which they can express themselves spontaneously and in simple words avoiding the phraseology of the group’s cadres and leaders. They are expressing the Muslim Brotherhood’s grassroots; there also some MB-affiliated young women who began also to hit this virtual reality.


Hossam el-Hamalawy, one of the most famous Egyptian bloggers, whos is publishing http://arabist.net/arabawy , says that the Muslim Brotherhood experience with the Internet started early, seeing the Islamic group as among first political powers to use the Internet and Email groups from an early time.

El-Hamalawy suggested that he was receiving many Emails and statements from Muslim Brotherhood Email Groups as early as 2002.


El-Hamalawy added that the weblogs have been introduced to Egypt by the secularists, specially Leftists whether the mainstream Left ( those affiliated to a leftist party or group ) or leftist individuals; but the actual revolution of weblogs in Egypt was during 2005 referendum, after which bloggers managed to make weblogs a credited source of news.

El-Hamalawy pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood’s young members’ use of the weblogs took place later on may be because the weblogs are considered personal diaries in which personal feelings are expressed while the Muslim Brotherhood discourse avoids such methods, specially under the tense relation with the regime and security.


El Hamalawi added that the most important Muslim Brotherhood weblog that has been recently browsing is:

http://ana-ikhwan.blogspot.com/ because it follows up the news of detentions among the Muslim Brotherhood group. 


The Following is a group of Weblogs of MB Youth



the blogger says she loves weblogs and bloggers for a long time ago and she has been jealous of any one having a weblog through which he can freely express his and his friends’ views.



the blogger says about her self that she is an Egyptian young woman who was brought up on religion and good manners outside Egypt; when she settled in Egypt she sought a good company and found it only inside the Muslim Brotherhood group; although she has set up this weblog since a while, but she doesn’t update it and promised that she will regularly update it and interact with surfers.



She is an Egyptian Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood female member who loves her country Egypt; she says she is writing about herself, dreams and aspirations; she wants to write without restrictions, without anyone ordering her.


The aforementioned are the first Muslim Brotherhood female members to enter the community of bloggers.

  http://ebn-akh.blogspot.com:  He is a Muslim Brotherhood young man from Asyut University; he says he wants to see Egypt a free country.



He is a young man who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood; he gives the surfers no hint about his identity. He only has many cares and concerns which he register in his weblog.


this weblog belongs to Magdi Saad who is one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s cultured youth.


http://ikhwanyouth.blogspot.com/: he is one of the Muslim Brotherhood youth and wants to give his personal view of course; he says ” I try to think and think with no limits; in this blog I try that write my thoughts so as to gain be mature.

http://egyptianme.blogspot.com/ He says about himself:” Because I am a normal human being, I want to express my views frankly and to translate my ideas into character; accordingly, this weblog has been set up.


http://kawakby.blogspot.com/ belongs to Islam Lotfi who is: one of thousands of Egyptian young men who believe that the Islamic solution is inevitable; he says:” I gave my weblog the name Kawakby for the valuable role of sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Kawakbi in the history of the liberation of the Islamic Nation in a way that makes him among a few who deserve the title “revolutionary Muslims”.


http://al7our.maktoobblog.com/ freedom is our issue: he says about the weblog:” this weblog loves freedom and dreams of justice; its blogger is, like it, is flying while the ceiling of his speeches is in the sky, his aspirations above the clouds to reach paradise!


http://al-ghareeb.blogspot.com/ a stranger: He is called Abdul Rahman; he says: amid debris and wreckage, emerges and rises light.


But there is a question:

why haven’t the Muslim Brotherhood weblogs established themselves like those of the Leftist bloggers?

That may attributed to the following reasons:


1-The method according to which the Muslim Brotherhood members are brought up is at odds with the idea of weblogs, a public and independent discussion of incidents.


2-The weak care for media in the group has been reflected on individuals.( definitely the Muslim Brotherhood members established many web sites that follows up and observe the political and social landscape, special during the parliamentary elections but all of them were approved and sponsored by the group. All these web sites were official mouth pieces of the group which were expressing its leadership; their effect didn’t last for so long despite the political and social weight of the group).

3-The weblogs established by MB young men are more of personal diaries or analyses than weblogs that create incidents.


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