Blogging in The Arab World

Courtney C. Radsch at ResetDOC:

Until recently, journalism in the Arab world suffered under the heavy hand of authoritarian rulers who sought to control the symbolic power of the media, the major arbiter of public opinion. With the increasing importance of citizen journalism on the Internet, which has burgeoned since blogging started to gain popularity in 2003, the new media are not only impacting mainstream journalism but the political process itself. With the force of the blogosphere coming on the heals of the explosion of Arabic satellite news media over the past decade, the public has more diverse, credible, and culturally relevant information source to choose from than ever before. Online citizen journalism in the form of web logs (blogs) video blogs (vlogs) is emerging as a powerful force in the Arab world, where it is challenging the ability of the state to control the information environment and forcing mainstream journalists to compete with online citizen journalists.

Blogging in Egypt is taking off, although it is still relatively unknown and certainly not popular among the general public. However, among journalists and the professional, globalized class, it is an emergent phenomeneon. The Egyptian blog ring claims more than 1500 blogs, with slightly less than half of those published in English ( The Egyptian Blog Review’s motto “from citizens to watchdogs” proclaims the potential for new forms of citizen media to bypass state control and self-censorship, evidence of the impact changes in global communications systems are having. These changes favor narrowcasting and transnational, sub-state media that provide a more realistic view of the world than the traditional state-run media.