The establishment of Egyptian observatory for bloggers

December 4th, 2008 by Editor


  At the end of a training  workshop entitled ” Bloggers and Human Rights ” which was held by “Egyptian Organization For Human Rights ( EOHR) and the German Freidrich Naumann Foundation at Paramiza Hotel on 2nd and 3rd of December  2008 , human rights activists , a number of bloggers , parties youth , journalists ,NGOs and universities students called for the establishment of observatory for bloggers to monitor the news of bloggers who are detained or prevented to write their blogs .  

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada , secretary general of EOHR  , confirmed that the phenomenon of blogging  and bloggers is so  important  in an era of openness and information technology, but there are many obstacles facing the bloggers at their work as follows :


First: hiding  sites , confiscation and monitoring.

Second: the arrest of a number of bloggers according to their background political views o their blogs the matter which is considered a clear violation against the freedom of opinion and expression  .

Third : security tightening on the bloggers and their families .


Abu Seada called for the establishment of observatory  for bloggers that includes legal experts , media personnel , human rights activists , journalists and NGOs to defend the electronic  press and bloggers . Also he called for releasing a campaign to support their cases and reviewing all legislations related to the freedom of media , electronic press especially  articles that sentence journalists to imprisonment .


For his part , Dr. Said Al Masry  , director of social cases program at information center and decision support , gave a background on the meaning of the internet and its uses , pros and cons, and its role in supporting the human rights movement , however as for blogging , he indicated to the following facts :


– The number of Egyptian blogs is  160 000 blogs until April 2008 with a rate of 30.7 % of Arab blogs , and 0.2% of the total of blogs on the international level .


– The active percentage of the  Egyptian blogs is 48.3%, and the estimated   number of Egyptian bloggers are  more than 162.2 thousand bloggers between 20-30 years as the majority of them are male.


– Most blogs are urban, as it is about 8250  blogs in the urban governorates with the percentage of 88%   .  


Mr. Ahmed Seif Al-Islam Director of Hisham Mubarak  center , confirmed that although  there are articles that guarantee the freedom of opinion and expression in the Egyptian Constitution and the international covenants concerned with human right , we find a legal environment full with such articles that penalize journalists in all laws related to expression , publishing and printing  distributed in several laws including the Publication Law No. 20 of 1936, amended by Law No. 375 of 1956. and Law No. 97 of 1992, and the penal code No. 58 of 1937 and various amendments, and General Intelligence Law No. 100 of 1971 and amended by Law No. 1 of 1998, and Criminal procedures law  No.150of 1950and its amendments .



As for the practical side  , Mr. Wael Abbas,  journalist and blogger, and  Malik Mustafa sites developer   , gave a background on blogs  and the way to build it and its protection mechanisms .


It is worth noting that the training program will include the north and south governorates of Egypt to create a new generation from the young people bloggers concerned with human rights cases in general and the freedom of opinion and expression in particular , and to enable them to publish their blogs freely in accordance with the international covenants concerned with human rights .

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