The Impact of Blogging on Middle Eastern Society

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Although millions of people around the world depend on a free press to convey them the news of the day via newspapers, television, and the Internet, many countries in the developing world lack the climate of openness that contributes to a credible press. It is a chicken and egg problem (which came first, the free press or the democratic government?), but it is clear that a democratic government contributes to a free press as much as the converse. Through the fog of decades of war, the Middle East has had particular difficulty sorting out fact from fiction, propaganda from proper news. While a free press cannot necessarily tell viewers which is which, it can give them the information they need to know to draw their own conclusions. In this regard, the Internet has become an equalizer among nations. And while a blog is not a replacement for a credible press, it can help an occluded society shift to one where active debate and rule of law are not stifled. Blogs in the Middle East have started this transition; freedom of information, no matter the information’s origin, is the cement that will help Arabs construct any kind of society they choose. Despite that Arab bloggers do not follow the same code of ethics or press laws as journalists, in the absence of a credible press their impact on society is valuable and has begun a societal shift and terrified the powers that be from Beirut to Cairo to Baghdad. Politically game-changing blogging in the Middle East began in Baghdad shortly after the US invasion of Iraq (Hamdy, 92). Although Arab outlets like Al Jazeera covered the war as best they could, the United States government made it extremely difficult through their policy of perception management, a policy that, ironically, could hav... ... middle of paper ... ...ly with tyrants - Obama must get tough on Egypt's Mubarak." Washington Post, The (DC) 15 Jun. 2010: A15. NewsBank. Web. 14 Jul. 2010. McCarthy, Rory. "Salam's Story." Guardian.co.uk 30 May 2003: n. pag. Web. 14 July 2010 Ottaway, Marina. "The More Things Change... Political Reform in the Arab World." World Policy Journal 26.2 (2009): 43-51. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 14 July 2010. Sharp, Heather. “Cedar Revolution’s Bitter Aftertaste.” BBC News 13 Feb. 2006: n. pag. Web. 21 July 2010. Simon, Mallory. "Student 'Twitters' His Way Out of Egyptian Jail." CNN.com 25 Apr. 2008: n. pag. Web. 14 July 2010. Slackman, Michael. "Day of Angry Protest Stuns Egypt." New York Times 6 Apr. 2008: n. pag. Web. 14 July 2010. Sudarsan, Raghavan. "Arab Activists Watch Iran And Wonder: 'Why Not Us?'." Washington Post, The n.d.: Newspaper Source. EBSCO. Web. 14 July 2010.

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