Magdalena Maria Karolak looks at the output of Bahraini bloggers and concludes that although the bloggers initially contributed to civil society activism, the polarization of Bahrain society has since penetrated the blogosphere itself.
Courtney C. Radsch argues on the basis of the Kareem Amer case that although cyberactivists and rights organizations are capable of sustained campaigns in defense of freedom of expression, some governments at least are almost impervious to the pressure, even at the cost of significant damage to their international image.
Blogging has intensified political trends first triggered by the birth of satellite television and an independent print press but does not mark a new departure for Egyptian politics, argues Tom Isherwood.
In an age of homogenized reporting, bloggers on both sides of the Iraq war are filling the void of personal coverage and challenging the narratives of war planners and mainstream media alike. Wayne Hunt traces this phenomenon with two case studies.
More than ever before, governments and pressure groups sought to use social media like Facebook and YouTube to rally support during the Gaza conflict. Why did so many of these attempts fizzle? Managing Editor Will Ward investigates.
A vanguard of techies and activists used blogs to change the face of politics and journalism in Egypt. But once a small town, Egypt’s blogosphere now resembles a sprawling metropolis with a less clearly defined center, argues Courtney C. Radsch.
Facebook made a splash when it attracted 70,000 members to a group supporting an Egyptian general strike. But were these committed activists or fly by night fans? David Faris on the politics of social networking sites.
Can a heavy web presence boost opposition electoral fortunes? Do individualistic bloggers make it impossible to deliver a coherent message? Pete Ajemian looks at the Internet strategies of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Action Front in Jordan.
While the strength of the writing and research varies by chapter, New Media and the New Middle East
adds valuable data to a field where usage statistics and baseline information about audiences and advertising are virtually non-existent, says Book Reviews Editor Courtney C. Radsch.
George Weyman gives an in-depth look at the popular Egyptian blog Two Pairs of Eyes, and argues that its bloggers seek to re-formulate but not reject dominant social values.
With Riverbends blog, no longer is the reader limited to news reports from major networks or White House press conferences: the blog phenomena and particularly that of Riverbend and her blogging peers represents an uncensored real-time account of war, politics, and the perils of neo-imperialism, says Alexandra Izabela Jerome.
Marc Lynch traces the political impact of blogging in the Middle East arguing that Arab blogs have begun to exert real leverage meriting serious attention.
During the Hizbullah-Israel War, blogs provided alternative on-the-ground accounts of events, says Sune Haugbolle. But can they challenge the social authority of old media?
Through the 2006 summer war in Lebanon, blogging provided an outlet for Arabs in America to vent their frustrations, anxieties and criticisms of events. It also gave many a sense of reconnecting with other Arabs around the Diaspora, says Vivian Salama.
The times, as Bob Dylan sang in another context, are a changin. Across the Middle East, new television stations, radio stations and websites are sprouting like incongruous electronic mushrooms in what was once a media desert, says Co-Editor Lawrence Pintak.
When Bahrain Online founder Ali Abdulemam and his partners were arrested in February 2005 for hosting a critical United Nations human-rights report about Bahrain, fittingly enough the first to respond were colleagues in the Bahraini blogosphere, reports Luke Schleusener.
The real-world impact of blogs in the Middle East remains to be seen. But women bloggers stress that there is agency and empowerment in just being able to write, reports Sharon Otterman.
"The headline is a lie. I never did stop worrying about the Middle East and my hatred for its dictators is just as virulent as ever. But one thing has changed: I no longer feel the despair and indifference borne of years reporting on the regions leaders. And thats thanks to blogs," says Mona Eltahawy.
The future of political blogging in Egypt greatly depends on its fostering links with mainstream independent media, says Rania Al Malky. But what, if anything, has the blogging-led reform movement achieved to date?
When Claudia Gazzini went in search of the Libyan blogosphere, she found neither the blogs nor the bloggers. But what she did find was an increasingly vocal exile community using interactive websites and forums to push for change in their homeland.