Citizen journalism in Lebanon and Bread in Egypt

Some Middle East Arab countries, despite being in a most censored region of the world, try to join by all means, the cohorts of bloggers, social nets and now,  Citizen Journalism, I quote,..

..”Citizen journalism initiative launched in Lebanon.” (10.04.2008) 

The first alternative online publication in the Arab world has been launched in Lebanon, according to the Menassat Web site. The “e-newspaper,” called Jaridtak, meaning “your newspaper,” is directed at Arabic-speakers throughout the world and to the world at large through English- and French-language Web sites,”.. see here.Jaridtak, meaning ,,your newspaper-6

See here Jaridtak translated in English

“Meet your newspaper” is an interview   with Jaridtak founder Maya Rahhal, published in Menassat (literally means “platforms” in Arabic) , I quote,…

……”Jaridtak (Your newspaper) is the first Arabic-language experiment with citizen e-journalism; it is entirely written by its readers.Maya Rahal (Maya Rahhal). ..”M.R. : ‘No newspaper today reflects the opinion of the impartial citizen’ “…”MENASSAT: What kind of subjects will Jaridtak tackle? M.R.: We want to stay away from politics. The subjects are social, concerning every person, away from politics. However, this doesn’t mean that we won’t publish political articles. We study the real interest of the citizen. For instance, the most popular article today is about the first lady of France, Carla Bruni.”… see moreCarla Bruni2


‘Menassat’ ,the host site of the above interview, in the article ” From Beirut with love” issued a statement by his editorial team, highlighting the fears of censoring, and pointing to their common dilemmas as to how and what to publish, I quote:


..”Please allow us to introduce ourselves. We’re a brand-new website with a network of correspondents throughout the Arab world. Our modest mission: to defend press freedom and freedom of expression wherever we can find it. “..Sure enough, there is censorship in Lebanon. Somewhere in the towering General Security building in Beirut .. is a man with a black marker who routinely crosses out any mention of Israel in foreign publications. (Esteez, if you are reading this: we would love to interview you some day.) There is also a special unit whose job it is to attend every single theater premiere. (The Lebanese know never to go to the premiere – it is the toned-down version for the state censors.) But that’s about it for censorship in Lebanon. It is the reason why we are building the website here and not in, say, Damascus – where we would surely be shut down -, or in Baghdad – where we would likely be shot down,  see more.

A good example of the Internet’s irreducible essence is exemplified  by the “Bread Crisis” in Egypt .  Menassat brings her story of the riots in:  “Revenge of the art_egypt_bread_ap pyjamahedeen” (By John Ehab in Cairo and Alexandra Sandels in Beirut), and in some sense shows how a cyber guerrilla works..”In the old days when you wanted to suppress a general strike you just sent in the troops to crack some heads. Nowadays, Egypt’s security forces are facing an army of Internet-savvy activists using Twitter, Facebook, text messaging and blogging as their weapons.”..

And another  quote, ..”  Egypt’s outspoken bloggers constitute one of the most active blogging communities in the Arab world and their online activism has become a constant pain for the authorities. Waging war on the regime from their bedrooms, they sometimes proudly refer to themselves as the “pyjamahedeen.” for the full interesting article see here.  And finally, good news  for the contributors of  the Libanian citizen journal ‘Jaridtak’ will be, if they upload theirs articles  without too much censorship .

I published this story on NowPublic and add here the comments by  NowPublic editors and contributing members.
good stuff:korzac, I like this story. It’s good stuff. Very interesting!

amyjudd, thanks for the comment and the GS.

Great to see these initiatives taking hold in the Middle East.

Rachel, thanks for the comment.

BTW, there is a Citizen Journal in Israel…here, (In Hebrew).

Barry, thanks for the comment and GS.

I just posted a story from their web page, Saudi’s 1st Female Photojournalist “Shock and Awe”

I read your story and as always a good story.. see my comment on your post

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