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Tag: arabic social media
Since Twitter began offering its services in Turkish on April 26th 2011, it has become a major social media instrument reaching the masses in Turkey. However it is nowhere near the immense movement that is ‘Facebook’ , as Turkey has one of the largest communities of Facebook users globally. Twitter, on the other hand plays a leading role, in that many tweeps are influential figures like artists, journalists and even some politicians who tweet their views, initiate discussions and interact with followers. Last year 16.6% off all Turkish Internet users were on Twitter. Turkey’s conventional media has also begun to refer to Twitter’s Trending Topics to reshape their daily news coverage, so that Twitter hashtags of these ‘Trending Topics’ can create a greater opportunity to reach a wider Turkish audience via the conventional media. This obviously lends political value to this platform for anyone trying to amplify a voice for their causes.
However, since Twitter’s announcement that it may censor tweets on local networks according to demands from goverments, suspicions have emerged as to whether the government of Turkey is merely making use of Twitter’s new “feature” or if Twitter actively intervenes the Turkish trending topic list.
On February 8th, during a session of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM), opposition MPs occupied the parliamentary speech podium to protest a government proposal on shortening the permitted speech durations for opposition deputies during discussions on legislation. Turkish social media users, led by opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP and active tweep Melda Onur, started the #occupyTBMM hashtag to build support for the protest in the Assembly. Government friendly tweeps answered with their own hashtag, #isgaleson (End the Occupation). The opposition’s hashtag first appeared in the Trending Topics list but vanished after half an hour and only the pro-government hashtag remained in the list.
The Anarschi blog published a post about this situation. It wrote: “Some sort of censorship drew my attention. On Twitter, thousands of people tweeted using the #occupytbmm hashtag. It became the second most discussed topic within 10 minutes, then it instantly vanished. Apparently, there was a direct intervention on Twitter and it was blocked from being a trending topic. I don’t know what really happened but there was a filtering in Turkey. The funny thing is, it’s the MPs who started this hashtag.”
Also, a graph comparing the two rival hashtags circulated on Twitter by pro-occupation tweeps. The graph showed the #occupytbmm hashtag had more volume than its rival.
Similarly, on night of February 15th, Kurdish users initiated the #freedomforocalan hashtag, demanding the release of Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the illegal Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkish nationalists responded by creating the #babykillerocalan hashtag. The first hashtag easily made the Trending Topics list as the third most-shared hashtag, while the latter did not appear. However, within a minute, the #freedomforocalan hashtag was dropped from the list and replaced by another hashtag that was not previously mentioned on the list and thereafter moved into third place. Kurdish users considered this to be an obvious act of censorship.
Pro-PKK news agency ANF mentioned the possibility of a filtering, saying: “The campaigners asked social media users to make the #freedomforocalan hashtag a worldwide trending topic, in case of censorship for the Turkish TT list.”
Kurdish socia media users also circulated a graph comparing the hashtag with a non-political TV-related hashtag which made the TT list.
Furthermore, Turkish nationalists claimed their #babykillerocalan hashtag did not remain in the Trending list, despite having more volume than the #freedomforocalan hashtag.
In Turkey, Facebook has an office and its Turkish team has been the source of controversy for acts like censoring the accounts of gay activists groups and individuals, such as the gay Kurdish journalist Bawer Çakır’s, even though there was no violation of Turkish laws. After these attempts at censorship were taken to the mainstream media, Facebook Turkey reopened the accounts.
In a similar case, Facebook Turkey first refused to close the fan pages praising Armenian journalist Hrant Dink’s murderer, Ogun Samast, but after a campaign (led by Bawer Çakır), they agreed to close all accounts lauding the Dink murder and propagating hate speech.
These examples, combined with Twitter’s recent “selective content blocking policy” announcement and its topsy-turvy Trending Topics, created speculation and concerns about censorship among Turkish social media users – a predicatable reaction for a country, in which governmental pressure on conventional media has grown in recent years.
However, the problems social media users report do not really overlap with Twitter’s new policy. The social media company made no announcements about tweaking the Trending Topics list; moreover it promised not to clear out content invisibly, and to leave a “tweet witheld” sign whenever a tweet is blocked in a region. Therefore, the sudden fluctuations in the trending topic list do not seem related to this new policy, unless some other unannounced filtering practice is in place.
Whereas the concerns of Turkish social media users may not be well-founded, these incidents point to another problem about Twitter. It is not completely known how Twitter’s algorithms work and whether they work as planned. Especially since the transition to the “New Twitter”, users complain about seeing the users they blocked in their “following” list, their number of followers bounce back and forth. So, what Turkish users perceive as censorship, may well be another eccentricity of the new kid on the block.
Twitter’s mysterious ways of working lead to a critical question. Is the ultimate social tool – through which the people of the Middle East have raised democratic demands, among them transparent government and free and independent media – transparent enough itself? In the Turkish example, Twitter does not even have an office in Turkey to which social media can address their concerns. An environment with an apparently unstable way of working and not so much explanation about it, evidently has potential to provoke concern and speculation. If these issues are not resolved, the next call for transparency on Twitter may put the micro-blogging site itself under the microscope for scrutiny.
The Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that recently buzzed on various Social Media platforms. This explicit search was conducted only on Twitter about the latest developments of Turkey censoring Twitter.
If you are further interested in monitoring any special event, political development or a certain brand/product we welcome you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also appreciate any suggestions and improvements for this Blog. Also follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook-Page to get regular updates regarding future Buzz Reports.
Interested in other social media stories? Read our latest Buzz-Reports:
A few weeks ago SocialEyez published a Buzz-Report on the Social Media trends of the first round of elections in Egypt. The result showed that 75% of Egyptians were in favor of the election although a majority claimed to continue resistance against the SCAF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces).
Now, after the second and third round of elections are completed and the results were published, we decided to take a look at online conversations and discussions regarding these last phases of the voting to get a concluding picture. In this report we will try to get answers for following questions:
- What were the most frequently discussed Social Media topics?
- Were there signs of an opinion shift during the various electoral stages?
- How did the image of the woman who got beaten by Egypt’s military have an influence on the elections?
The results are divided into the two different rounds of elections. The synthesis of all three rounds of elections are provided within the conclusion.
Egypt Elections Round 2
Round two of the elections took place between December 14th and 15th 2011, with the run-off one week later on December 21st-22nd. Among all rounds this round had the lowest volume with only 4,608 captured comments compared to 13,815 during first stage. A key issue that was picked up in the majority of mentions was with reference to the high turnout. In general, many users were satisfied with the high number of voters and also acknowledged the relatively stable and calm condition during the voting period Raehat Al-ward Wal-Ful wrote on the Facebook page of Rasd News Network (RNN), an online news service: “The Egyptian people are great and the elite who claim that the people don’t understand [politics] so they make bad choices are not able to understand the real nature of the wonderful and brave Egyptians. A salute to the genuine Egyptian nation, including its youth, elders, children, males and females.”
User Rasha Barakat alludes the fact of the religious freedom: “It’s real! I have seen Christian ladies wearing the cross, women like my mother, my sister and I wearing hijab, women wearing abaya, and women wearing niqab. All people were respectable. I didn’t see propaganda outside the polling stations and no one tried to convince others to vote for a certain candidate.”
Nevertheless some users, like Tweeter Omar El-Halwagy claimed that this save situation was only a delusion: “Security success around the polling stations only, but the scene is totally different 10 meters away.”
Concerning the role of the MB (Muslim Brotherhood) the discussions were full of controversy. Especially in the blog http://tears-demo3.blogspot.com, one user highlighted the difficult relationship between the MB as a group and the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) as a party: “They *the Brotherhood+ said the group, Brotherhood, will be dedicated to da’awa (guidance or calls to follow the proper religious code) and the party, Freedom and Justice, to politics, but this hasn’t happened.” On the opposing side many users expressed their contentment about their great election outcome.
Finally, for the general share of topics, SocialEyez took Microblogs as an example and highlighted the main topics based on their percentage of volume. Out of 1500 total captured Tweets, the majority of Tweets was related to the role of martyrs in the revolution. (See graphic below for more results)
Overall, in comparison to the first round of elections, the volume of Social Media discussions has decreased significantly. In this time-frame, the elections were merely one of the top discussed topics, while other discussions were focused primarily on the role of the constitution, Egyptians support for the “Buy Egyptians Campaign” and the daily clashes with the military, in which one incident stirred the Buzz.
Controversy of an image showing a woman who got beaten by Egypt’s military
Between the last rounds of elections, the attention of the online community shifted to an incident that was the beginning of a large discussion about the general role of the military in Egypt and their handling towards protesters. Pictures and videos from a woman beaten up by the military, later known as the “Abaya Girl”, were posted across the web, with great attention on offline media networks as well.
Over 73% of monitored Social Media users opposed the excessive use of force by the military against protesters and expressed deep concern against the military. On Facebook Wael Salem stated: “This is totally unacceptable! Tantawi and his dogs are attacking and killing our sons and daughters!” On the news website Al Dostor one reader added “This is not an army. It’s rather an armed militia affiliated with Hosni Mubarak. They are the cursed dogs of Mubarak.”
Around one quarter (22%) of all monitored comments defended the military police’s behavior or even accused the protesters of fabricating footage. On Facebook the fan Hana Qamar said: “We all are supporting the army. They are doing their jobs to protect the public interest. All Egyptians know that all the videos showing soldiers beating people are not real. All of them have been fabricated.” Another comment on the Forum Fatakt questions: “Why would a respectable girl go to a place like that at a time when the country is on fire?! What’s the objective? Revolution against what? And whhhhhhhhy? Has she gone mad?!”
For more discussions follow this link.
Egypt Elections Round 3
The final round of elections once again has seen a low volume of comments compared to the first stage. The round took place during the first week of January 2012, with the run-off on the 9th and 10th. Unlike the previous rounds most discussions were less focused on the procedure of the election, but more on the results and the final outcome. Users were talking about the great results of the Muslim Brotherhood’s FJP, with the majority of users expressing their satisfaction with the results. In the overall discussion regarding round three of the elections, this topic had an approximate share of 25% of all posts concerning the elections. Here are some examples of popular Tweets:
Another focal point was related to the great losses of former regime leaders. Estimated 70% of users expressed satisfaction with the bad results these candidates received. User Mohamed Ibrahim declared: “I’m proud of the conscious Egyptian nation that proved it is not an ignorant nation and has been able to isolate all former regime remnants from the elections without the need to issue the political isolation law. Hold your head up high, you are an Egyptian!”, while on Facebook Abeda Elbanna added: “Thank goodness. Former regime remnants won the elections some time ago due to rigging. I’m so happy that God provided the Justice and Freedom party candidates with victory because they were the most oppressed faction at the hands of the remnants during the elections. I hope that same victory goes to the martyrs and injured when they get their rights back. May God punish the tyrants and make them examples for other people.”
After comparing all three rounds of Egypt elections within Social Media channels some basic trends became apparent. First and foremost, the total volume captured was dropping during these stages. Highest volume by far was reached during the first round (13,815), followed by the third (6,540) and second stage (4,608). The contrast between the first stage and the following two stages can be explained by the intial excitement surrounding the elections when they first began, which may have faded during the course of the month. It may also be the case that due to the Islamist lead, the results of the elections had become eminent to a good number of Social Media users, who then shifted their focus to other topics of discussion.
The main topic throughout all rounds can be identified as deliberations about the role of the Muslim Brotherhood. Furthermore, there was a predominant focus on the behavior of the SCAF, intensified by the image of a beaten Egypt woman.
While in the beginning of the elections discussions about the procedures and safety were predominant, in the last rounds the comments shifted to the final outcome of the elections.
Overall the Egypt Elections demonstrated an apparent shift towards a new and open Egypt. The numerous and intense discussions, especially on Social Networks, expressed a new culture of dialogue. Nevertheless the big controversy which was identified concerning many topics could suggest that there is still a long way to go.
Background: How does the system of Egyptian elections work?
Three rounds of elections should be enough? Agreed, but certainly not in Egypt. This country is known for its “notorious complexity” and with regards to the Electoral System the procedures are anything but simple to understand. In order to get a brief overview, the Jordan based media website Al Bawaba published an insightful article explaining the difficult voting system “. Basically the elections consist of three rounds voting for the Lower House, two rounds for the Upper House and finally one vote for the new president. The elections for the Lower House, also known as the People’s Assembly (Majlis Ash Shaab) are now completed with the majority of seats for the Muslim Brotherhood. Total results of all three rounds can be viewed here. Two-thirds of the 498 people’s assembly seats were elected by proportional representation, using lists drawn up by parties or alliances. Seats were allocated proportionally based on a party’s showing in each of the 46 districts. The remaining third, 166 seats, in the lower house were open to individuals, who may or may not have party affiliations — two seats in each of the 83 districts. The elections for the Upper House, also known as Shura Council, are scheduled to start End of January 2012 until End of February. Eventually the presidential elections are expected to be held in July 2012.
Overall, more than 40 parties and 6,000 candidates have reportedly registered to participate in the elections. Approximately only the half over 80 million Egyptians are eligible to vote.
The three rounds for the Lower House were only one step in the electoral process. The results are crucial to get an overview of the current political atmosphere in Egypt and with the striking domination of the Muslim Brotherhood who set a clear signal showing the new balances of power. For the following elections it will be interesting to see what the next months will bring to Egypt and how the political system can develop. SocialEyez will follow this situation closely and update the readers regarding major Social Media trends. Stay connected.
The Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that recently buzzed on various Social Media platforms. This explicit search was conducted on all Social Media platforms in Egypt in Arabic and English language with the time-period from end of November 2011 to the mid of January 2012. The focus of the research was on Social Media discussions related to the second and third round of the Egypt Elections.
If you are further interested in monitoring any special event, political development or a certain brand/product we welcome you to contact us at email@example.com. We also appreciate any suggestions and improvements regarding this Blog. Also follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook-Page to get regular updates regarding future Buzz Reports.
Other Buzz-Reports related to this topic:
“Great success” or “Long way to go”? The online reactions to the first round of Egypt elections couldn’t be more different. Egyptians were voting on November 28 and 29, and the runoff December 5 and 6 in spite of the riots and deaths before the elections. The official turnout reached 52% which was the highest ever in an Egyptian election. On Twitter one user described the elections as “dirty” claiming that “observers are letting results stand for fear of an Islamist civil war like Algeria in ’92” whereas a user in a Forum writes: “I call upon all Egyptians to vote! It is a national duty. Another Blogger goes much further and suggests: “Egypt needs a new road map, not just elections”. Despite the high controversy concerning the results, a vast majority of users were in favor of participating in the parliamentary elections. Over 75% of all monitored social media users in Egypt supported the elections and only 15% were opposing it by arguing that elections under the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) were not legitimate.
Besides the ongoing discussions around whether to vote or not, users were also eager to discuss possible results and the final outcomes. In terms of Islamist leading ahead of the elections, 55% off all monitored comments welcomed the result. For example Tweeter Aliaa Hamed asked “Why are people shocked of the progress of the Brotherhood and Salafists, as if it was a surprise?! Those who feel sad shall work hard, run in the remaining two rounds, and vote for the civil streams.” Facebook fan Zeinab Zoza added “Egypt is Islamic, and this will make the secularists or liberals understand that the nation loves and trusts its religion and will not accept a secular state.” On the other side 40% opposed the results and even feared Islamists in power. On Youm7, an independent news website, reader Genuine Egyptian said: “Do you know what the Islamists will do if they take power? They will force all the women to wear veils; close all the cinemas and theaters, prevent women from driving cars, and destroy tourism.”
For a better overview the following results are divided by the social media types. Most data was captured on Microblogs (71%), fewest on Forums with only 1%.
Similar to the actual turnout in the Egyptian web-community the majority claimed to want to participate in the elections. About two out of three users supported participation in the elections, only one third was against the vote because of the “unfair” conditions. Interestingly 70% continued protests even though they favored the elections. For example prominent human rights campaigner Hossam Bahgat stated: “I’m against military rule and against the Ganzouri [new] cabinet and I support Tahrir Square and the immediate transfer of power to civilians, but I will participate in the elections.” Out of the group that called for a boycott of the elections 90% described the elections as corrupt as long as they are held under military rule. Blogger Ahmed Elmoqdamy said: “I would boycott the elections because they are illegitimate under the military rule that I call to topple.” Overall in the discussion most popular-used Hashtags were #Egypt, #Election and #egyelections. The protesters also used #SCAF, #NOSCAF and #tahrir.
Other popular Tweets regarding the elections:
Among the Facebook Pages with the most discussions about the elections, was the fanpage ‘We Are All Khaled Said’ with close to 165,000 ‘Likes’ and over 2,400 ‘People Talking about it’. Originally this page was founded to honor an 28-year-old Egyptian who was tortured to death at the hands of two police officers. Since its launch this page serves as a common platform for all kind of protests against the regime and is also used as a popular exchange forum during the Egypt elections. One much shared post by famous activist Wael Ghonim stated on November 28: “Elections will be held tomorrow. In a nutshell, we all have to participate and choose our candidates. It’s one of the stages of the democratic transition in Egypt and we have to protect it. No one should lag behind the participation because the next parliament is the one that will decide upon the future of Egypt.” As a response for example fan Omar Helal said: “I’m anxious that the election will be held over two days, and I think it will be rigged.” The total post received over 3,300 Likes, 500 shares and 900 comments:
Generally many social media users like Emad Hussein, also dedicated the elections to January 25: “Despite all events, I’m very happy with and proud of today’s elections. Thanks for all who contributed to making this day. Thank you Tahrir Square.” Kimo Systimo goes even further and “salutes to the blood of the martyrs who made this possible and enables them to live freely”. On Facebook the overwhelming majority of posts were in Arabic language.
Some quotes from popular news websites:
Al Dostor (opposition news website): “Remember that every vote counts and regardless of who ultimately wins, we must all do our part and vote for the party and the candidates that represent our values and our aspirations for equality, justice and dignity for all Egyptians. People of Egypt, vote and save Egypt from the powers of darkness and fascism.”
Al Wafd News (liberal news website): “The Egyptian people insist on the success of the elections. We will stand against any attempt to spoil this democratic process.”
Masrawy (independent news website): “All the candidates are opportunists and politically corrupt. This parliament will be full of the ex-regime remnants who nominated themselves under new parties. This is the viewpoint of a lot of Egyptians.”
Youm7 (independent news website): “May God bless Egypt. This election is the most important thing now. All the Egyptians must unite and vote to participate in the success of the elections.”
Some quotes from popular forum entries:
Fatakat (specialized forum for women and their interests): “We must vote to move a step forward towards democracy. May God help us choose the best candidate.”
Christian Dogma (prominent Christian forum): “May God support all the voters. I hope that these elections will be transparent and fair.”
The second round of elections will take place on December 14 and 15 with the run-off on 21–22 December. Third round will continue on 3–4 January with the run-off on 10–11 January. The final presidential elections are expected to be held in July 2012.
The Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that recently buzzed on various social media platforms. This explicit search was conducted on all social media platforms in Egypt in Arabic and English language during the week of the Egypt elections. The focus of the research was on social media conversations and social media trends reflecting the sentiment towards the Egyptian vote.
If you are further interested in monitoring any special event, political development or a certain brand/product we welcome you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also appreciate any suggestions and improvements regarding this Blog. Also follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook-Page to get regular updates regarding future Buzz Reports.
Other Buzz-Reports related to this topic:
The National Day this weekend was something truly special. It did not only mark the 40th anniversary of the Union but also symbolized the pride and spirit of the nation. Regardless of locals, residents or foreign tourists everybody seemed to want to participate in the various events. The celebrations continued for 2 days starting the 1st of December with the spirit of the union vehicle parade in Yas Island that was held in an electrifying atmosphere of live music and excitement. Participants dressed up in traditional Emirati attire in decorated vehicles and motor bikes, along with face-painted children. Marching bands and performers were entertaining the crowd.
One highlight at the second day of the celebrations was the official National Day ceremony at Zayed Sports City in the heart of Abu Dhabi that showcased UAE’s history and achievements to thousands of spectators who came from all around the country to join the celebration.
This excitement was not only limited to the actual events but was also transferred to many discussions and conversations on social media platforms such as Microblogs and Social Networking Sites. Users informed each other about locations of events, discussed the celebrations or simply shared pictures and videos of the shows and parades. The top three topics were:
- National day celebration and activities.
- Trashing of the streets and the vandalism of properties.
- Citizens cleaning the city.
Between 11/27/2011 and 12/05/2011 the majority of all conversations were on Twitter. Thereby the main influencers with the highest number of Tweets were the users @UAENationalDay and @HamamaHarib. The general sentiment of the Tweets towards the National Day was positive. 60% positive comments were congratulating the royal family and the people of UAE and complementing the individuals who participated in cleaning the city after the celebration. 40% of neutral comments were sharing poetry, participating in competitions, mentioning historical facts. Total volume of the topics inside the UAE reached 21,319 comments with the following popular Hashtags:
#UAE40, #UAEforty, #UAEnationalday, #spiritoftheunion: Mostly talking about the celebrations, history of UAE, Poetry about loving UAE, the Royal family and the founder of the union His Highness Sheikh Zayed. Those Hashtags were used in 19,988 times (94%).
#SpotThe40: This Hashtag created by @UAENationalDay invited Twitter users to spot and snap a photo of the number 40 wherever they find it “40 as a symbol for the union that lasted for 40 years”. Those Hashtags were used in 141 cases (less than 1%).
#CleaningUAE Campaign: During the second day of the celebrations an initiative was started with a single Tweet by @HamamaHarib a female film & broadcast entrepreneur who wanted to give something back to her beloved country and transfer her affection to action by tweeting: “Please guys after the parade stop and clean the mess you did !! #cleaningourcountry #campaign”. The single Tweet affected many users who were upset from some disturbing actions led by a few youngsters who lacked discipline. People who responded to the call started to spread the word asking others to join the campaign and a new Hashtags raised up next to #UAE40 & #UAEforty inviting everyone who loves his country to #CleanUAE and not to depend on others to do the work of #cleaningUAE their mess. Those Hashtags were used 1,190 times (5% overall).
On Facebook and Google+ around to 1000 comments were posted. 441 positive, 428 neutral and only 31 negative. The page ‘UAE National Day’ Facebook fan page had over 30,000 Likes and 14,000 people talking about this. The page updates were mostly pictures and schedules about the various events. The last post about the official ceremony received almost 2000 Likes with 275 comments.
A comment by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was shared more than 250 times with over 7000 Likes: (“I salute the efforts of the young Emiratis who took the initiative to clean up after National Day celebrations. I am proud of their sense of national and civic duty”)
On Youtube there were numerous videos which showed the celebration. Even some newspapers used these documentations to implement in their articles. One video with 40 people talking about the National Day received 11,000 views. Another one about His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed celebrating the 40th National Day had 3,800 views. The most watched video was about the Ferrari Parade with 20,000 views. To get a good summary about all events we recommend to watch this clip with close to 2000 views:
Similar to Microblogs, Video-Sharing Platforms had a 42% share of positive coverage , 47% neutral coverage and 11% negative of coverage.
63 comments were captured on Message Boards & Forums. One example shows a Forum post sharing a military exhibition during the ceremony at Zayed Sports City. Another entry congratulates the people of UAE on 40th national day and shares a video Sheikh Mohammad ben Zayed dancing (Razfa) a traditional Bedouin dance with swords. There were seven positive comments congratulating the people of the UAE, nine neutral comments complementing the Royal Family.
Overall the online conversations were a good reflection of the general atmosphere and Social Networks are increasingly used to become a established medium for the National Day.
The Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that recently buzzed on various social media platforms. This explicit search was conducted on all social media platforms in the UAE in Arabic and English language between 11/27/2011 and 12/05/2011. The focus of the research was on social media conversations and social media trends reflecting the sentiment towards the events of the National Day.
If you are further interested in monitoring any special event, political development or a certain brand/product we highly welcome you to contact us at email@example.com. We also appreciate to receive any suggestions and improvements regarding this Blog. Also follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook-Page to get updates regarding future Buzz Reports.
Whoever thought that when Muburak stepped down from power the Egyptian revolution was a closed chapter, is mistaken. The latest unrests, killings and arrests clarified by far: many problems remain unsolved and the gap between the Egyptian citizens and the Egypt military is still present. Especially young Egypt Bloggers continue to criticize the current conditions and are therefore constantly conflicting with the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF)
These Egyptian bloggers are not alone. All across the MENA region bloggers continue to protest for their rights. A lot of their repression remain unnoticed; only when an influential blogger like Alaa Abdel Fattah gets arrested or Ahmed Mansoor threatens with a hunger strike the mainstream media seem to be reporting them. But shortly after these initial reports are published such as the case of jailed Bloggers, they tend to be forgotten. Further look at the examples of Nasser bin Ghaith, Mohamed Tahan Jamal, Ahmed Abdul Khaleq and Hassan Ali al-Khamis who were arrested in April in the UAE or the 20-year-old Blogger Tal al-Mallohi who was arrested in Syria (see a full list of detained bloggers in Syria). A survey from the Harvard University actually claims that 7% of Arab bloggers have been arrested or detained over the past year while 30% have been threatened. Whether this number is accurate or not, Bloggers in the Middle East undergo a constant fear of suppression.
All these cases may have different reasons but with this week’s Buzz-Report SocialEyez wants to take a closer look at one specific Blogger Maikel Nabil and showcase the attention his story received in the world of social media.
Egypt Blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad (26) was arrested for publishing a blog post in which he criticized the role of the military in Egypt. Under a military court he was sentenced to three years of prison and an LE200 fine. On August 23rd, 2011 he reacted with a hunger strike which brought him international attention. Maikel’s brother Mark describes the situation as “Maikel is staying strong and will not be broken … He won’t stop his hunger strike until he gets justice”. Across Egypt many people shared sympathy and used all types of social media platforms to support Maikel. Several articles and blogs demanded his release and reported about his current health condition. Below is an example of the popular blog ‘FreeMaikel’.
Popular Hashtags were #MaikelNabil and #freeMaikel and the Facebook Page FreeMaikelNabil has over 60,000 Likes. These tools were used to organize the support. Nevertheless the final outcome is still uncertain. His trail was postponed again to the 27th of November.
The Buzz generated in relation to Maikel Nabil is depicted below. The quantitative analysis is based on conversations in Egypt only.
Since the start of the hunger strike on August 23rd the graph shows a constant shift in social media attention. Initially the first two weeks the volume was generally high which is also related to the extensive news coverage internationally. The next peak on October 4th is due to the postponement of the trial with close to 2000 comments on only one day, most of them on Twitter. A further Buzz-highlight was measured one month later when Maikel refused to show up at the court. It will be interesting to see which volume will be generated on the 27th of November when his next trial is scheduled to.
Share of Coverage
“Release Michael immediately, how come you imprison people who speak up their minds??? From now on the court should have nothing to do with what people think, and whoever is harmed by anyone’s opinion should only respond in the same manner”
“Ala’a Saif impronment was extended for 15 more days and postponement of sentence in the case of Michael Nabil till November the 27th. GOD damn military government”
“Demand the release of Maikel Nabil Sanad”
“@bothainakamel1 solidarity with you and #MaikelNabil good luck with the hunger strike”
- “Freedom for the detainees; Michael Nabil, Ala’a Abdel Fattah and Amer Al Behairi”
“Betrayers will never leave jail, and the rest of the 6-April betrayers will follow. I wish instead of apologizing you would teach your son how to respect the upper authority, and that the people he is with now are agents and saboteurs.”
“We should pay more attention to more important stuff than those atheists and please do not ever sympathy with them.”
“European Parliament passes resolution against military trials”
“Please sister, do not call them atheists as long as you do not know that for sure. Either you say something good about them or shut up which is way much better.”
This Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that recently buzzed on various social media platforms. The search was conducted on all social media platforms in Egypt in Arabic and English language from end of March until the mid of November. The focus of the research was on social media conversations and social media trends reflecting the sentiment towards the case of Maikel Nabil.
If you are further interested in monitoring a special event, political development or a certain brand/product we highly welcome you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also appreciate to receive any suggestions and improvements regarding this Blog. Also follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook-Page to get updates regarding future Buzz Reports.
Most readers of Media Week will have read and listened to countless discussions about how powerful social media can be, how it is changing the world, and creating new opportunities and challenges.
I would like to take some time to explain why I believe social media is the second most important thing to the Arab World and its 300 million citizens.
It’s no secret that our neighborhood is not renowned for freedom of any kind, especially freedom of speech. That is astounding when you think about the fact that an Arab man brought forth a message of freedom and equality that is now followed (in some measure) by one out of every four people on the planet.
Our ‘Fear of Freedom’ is a national disease; it cannot be blamed on a specific event, government or even colonial power. But it does exist and was best portrayed on August 2, 1991 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. We did not have satellite TV then. On August 3 state media referred fleetingly to a dispute between the two countries, on August 4 there was talk of a resolution – it was not until August 5 that most state owned media in many Arab countries acknowledged the ugly truth.
While things have changed for the better, I believe that “Fear of Freedom” remains. I also still believe that while governments in the region are not geared to handle full-fledged personal, political and professional freedoms – I no longer believe the tired argument that they stand in the way of that freedom. They are willing to enter a gradual and moderate process of change, provided the public, who drivers for and demands that freedom, is responsible, rational, peaceful and incremental in its steps.
How can this freedom be reached? How can this incremental process start when there is no civil society backbone and where forums of public discourse on accountability and liberty are limited, or nonexistent, in many Arab countries?
Enter social media.
Or should I say, the mosque, or chapel, of social media. You are free to come inside. You are free to say what you want. You are free to talk to who you want. You are free to act on what you believe.
President Nasser’s well-meaning but misguided Soviet policies of restrictions on public protests, freedom of congregation and freedom of speech that dominated modern Arab political thinking were discredited years ago, but lingered in the political culture of our societies today. What is happening in the mosque of social media is finally washing us clean of that heritage: it is breaking down the ‘Freedom of Fear.’
The fear to share opinions is fading away. The fear to advocate or oppose an idea is declining. The fear to set-up a business with no money and against the odds is going away. The fear of being different is going away. The fear of falling love with someone who is not pre-approved is going away.
Social media in the Arab World is replacing our self-inflicted ‘Fear of Freedom ‘ with a cautious excitement about the possibilities of a full and free life. The many political, business and conservative barriers that separated 300 million people of common language, heritage and faith into a collection of 22 smaller and weaker states is being swept aside by the great unifying nature of social media.
I refer specifically to social media because traditional media, and even Internet media represents one-way reporting from the news room to the public. Social media is connecting communities, businesses, leaders, innovators, educators in Rabat and Muscat, Jerusalem and Algiers, Fujairah and Suez.
Social media has allowed tens of millions of forgotten and once seemingly un-important people whose existence was marginal to the world and its business, to suddenly make a grand entrance into day-to-day life.
Today, by all accounts, more than 80 million (out of 300 million) Arabs are online and most of them use social media as their first destination on the Internet. Five year ago that number was less than 20 million. Five years from now that number will be 150 million people.
The impact of this great new mosque is not just that people are talking with a sense of freedom never seen before, but that it is allowing companies in Saudi Arabia to understand customers in the Maghreb. It’s allowing teachers in Yemen to ask academic communities in Damascus their opinion on how to overcome lack of funding for schools, and helping doctors in Jordan share their ideas with colleagues in the Sudan.
In fact, as companies like Maktoob, Watwet.com and others demonstrate the management of this great mosque of social media is itself driving innovation in technology, content and entrepreneurship that is capturing the attention of companies and governments around the world.
This is not top-line Internet connectivity – it is social media community that allows Arab people – not organizations or governments – to pick and choose who they want to talk to help improve their lives.
Monumental shifts that change entire nations usually happen quietly and under the superficial guise of something different – in this case the wonders of modern technology. But what happens beneath the surface is profound and eternal.
Social media has helped the Arab World re-establish the original mosque in Arab consciousness: a people of faith, freedom and hope are coming back to their roots; the talent and brilliance they brought to the world through Algebra, medicine, architecture, art, justice, women’s rights, children’s rights, education and more, is about to re-enter the world.
But for it to do so triumphantly, we must never cease to focus on the first most important thing in Arab living today: the re haul of our education systems to allow full, free and universal quality education for all. Not many Arabs will be able to grasp what is written on the walls of this great new mosque if they cannot read or think.
President, News Group
MD, Media Watch