Digital Freedom & Control: Middle East

The Arab world has been rocked by upheavals that  almost no one predicted. A debate has raged in academic circles, magazine pages, blogs and coffee shops, on the origins of the Arab Spring – why 2011, why Tunisia first, why Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and now Syria? Western observers have been quick to point to the Internet and its endless possibilities – Twitter, Facebook, blogs, online publications, Wikileaks – as the catalyst for the Arab revolutions. This report explores those claims. These stories will attempt to answer the central questions of who controls, who fought and is still fighting for control of the Internet in the Middle East. The reports will explore the varied phenomena at work: social media and leaked documents; the advent of bloggers; government control and censorship.

New Paradigms of Journalism, by Umair Irfan
Developing a free press online and America’s role in process.

Viral Video and the Arab Uprisings, by Sulome Anderson
Online videos and their impact in Egypt and Tunisia.

Social Media: Catalyst or Hype? by Lakshmi Kumaraswami and Mariya Karimjee 
Were social media the key, or simply one factor among many?

Drenched by the Leaks, by Shibani Mahtani  
How leaked documents have changed relationships between Arab rulers and their citizens.

Cat and Mouse in Cyberspace, by Idil Abshir and Hala Droubi
Governments struggle to control the changing Middle East media landscape.

The points on this map show the Internet penetration of each country. Click on each point for that country's data and a link to the corresponding article.

Digital Freedom and Control
Russia and Asia
Latin America
Middle East

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