Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

Thu93 2020

Last update18:06 PM GMT

Back to Homepage
Font Size : 12 point 14 point 16 point 18 point
:: Issues > Other Blogs
Egypt: Internet activists and “influence”
Egypt: Internet activists and “influence”
The use of the Internet in Egypt as a platform for political activism has been the topic of discussion in various political circles and in the media.
Wednesday, December 30,2009 19:17
by Muhammed Hamza

The use of the Internet in Egypt as a platform for political activism has been the topic of discussion in various political circles and in the media.

Bloggers have come under the spotlight when they started to expose and bring to public attention cases of human rights violations and physical abuse against detainees in police stations. Others have been expressing their political views, which are quite critical of the government and the policies of the state as a whole.

They have managed to grab the attention of the media at home and human rights and media freedom organizations abroad.

Likewise, the social networking website Facebook has been utilized by activists who promoted and called for a number of general strikes in protest against soaring prices and poor wages.

This kind of online activism is, by all means, a positive phenomenon in a country where, in the past, people had no access to any such platform to express their anti-government ideas freely. However, this phenomenon should still be kept in perspective.

Some people have to talk about the “influence” of online activists on society. It seems far too early to speak about “influence” at this stage if we are realistic.

We have first to take a look at some facts; Internet penetration in Egypt is as low as 13% and those interested in the internet are mostly the youths.

It is no secret that most of the young Egyptian people who have internet access are more concerned to look for entertainment on the cyberspace than get involved in politics.

If you visit any Internet café in Egypt and have a look around at the computer screens, you would find 99% of the users are chatting with girls.

Without the mainstream media, online activism would not have been easily heard of. It was newspapers and TV stations that shed light on their activities and their presence.

The phenomenon of bloggers and Facebook activists still remains confined to boundaries. There is a barrier between them and the ordinary Egyptian citizen. If you ask an Egyptian in his 40 or 50 on the street or even young people who do not read newspapers (and how many they are) if they know anything about mudawin (blogger), they would mostly say “No.”

Most of the young people are interested in entertainment and a variety of other things and old people are more concerned to find a living to provide for their families in a difficult economic situation where prices of commodities have been soaring and the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Forty percent of Egyptians live below or around the poverty line of less than two dollars a day.

I recall here why the recent call for a stay-at-home strike by the 6th of April Youth Movement fell flat among people. Simply because there is a missing link, ordinary people may not have even heard of it. Even if they did, how they would just answer a call for a general strike coming from people they do not know or see or even trust.

To have influence on people, Internet activists have first to be on the street, have to connect with people, and have to say we are here, not in a far virtual world.

tags: Internet Activists / Political Activism / Bloggers / Facebook / Detainees / Freedom / Social Networking
Posted in Other Blogs , Other Issues  
Related Articles
Egypt's Opposition Party Turns to Facebook for Support
Egypt: Bargaining Bloggers to stop opposing the Government
Stopping Bloggers at Cairo Airport : A Mounting Trend
Continued detention of bloggers shows disregard for law in Egypt
Solidarity for Bloggers, Aboul Fotouh curtailed by Egypt security forces
Bloggers held in Egypt without charge
BM News: Brotherhood to start campaign if bloggers not released
Three bloggers detained, says rights group
Crackdown on Egypt’s Islamist bloggers
Egypt loves their bloggers – in handcuffs that is
Continued Detenion Of Two Bloggers at Cairo airport.
The Facebook Revolution
Egyptian bloggers put new face on dissent
EGYPT: Thanks to Facebook, Young Women Take to Political Activism
Showing Its Twitter Envy, Facebook Gets Serious About SMS
Yes, It Is Bread We Fight For, But We Fight for Facebook Too
Should we support internet activists in the Middle East?
Internet-inspired activism of Middle East’s Generation Facebook
Policy of kidnapping Egyptian Internet activists returns, after it stopped for a month
Security Forces Arrest Bloggers, 39 April 6th Activists
Egypt must halt campaign against bloggers
Facebook launches Arabic version
Facebook under attack
Endless Escalation Between Egyptian Bloggers, Regime
Egyptian Bloggers and Journalists in the Hot Seat
Revolution, Facebook-Style
Facebook As a Platform for Anti-Establishment Protests in Egypt
Revolution, Facebook-Style
The Middle East’s Generation Facebook
Can Facebook Defeat Terrorism?
The Middle East’s Generation Facebook
Bloggers bucking the Brotherhood in Egypt
Faiyum Bloggers Violated At The Prison
ANHRI Sharply Criticizes Arresting Internet Activists In Egypt
ANHRI: Egyptian Internet Bloggers Vulnerable To Arrest & Persecution
Cairo Activists Use Facebook to Rattle Regime
Bloggers and the Brotherhood
MB, Kefaya Launch Facebook Campaign Against NDP Conference
Revolutions Without Revolutionaries? Network Theory, Facebook, and the Egyptian Blogosphere
Islam Vs. Secularism on Facebook
Facebook reflects struggle over Islam’s role
Egypt bloggers take on U.S. elections
Rumors of a Facebook block persist in Egypt
Mass Arrests of Internet Activists in Egypt Yesterday and Abduction of Ahmed Maher in Alexandria