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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Arresting bloggers

The great thing about Entrecard is that it allowed me to see the so-much-bigger blogosphere out there.

It can be a bit overwhelming, the array of blogs. There are myriad blogs on making money online, cooking cakes, looking for homes, caring for pets, writing a book, and bashing your government. The blogosphere is a living, breathing, growing slice of cyberspace that fuels life as much as it is fueled by it.

And the Philippines is not to be left behind. I saw that at least two bloggers- Ms Noemi and Karlo have already whipped up teasers for the 2008 edition of the Philippine Blog Awards. This ought to be a very interesting next few months, as excellent blogs and bloggers come to the fore and the best of the lot receive the coveted trophies (and quite possibly more hits and feed subscribers!).

Despite the small-minded posturing of officials and local media’s protestation (with the backing of foreign journalists and news organizations), the freedom of speech enjoyed by denizens of the Philippine blogosphere is a clear indication that we still have much to be thankful for in our country.

In a stark juxtaposition, there is a Saudi blogger- Fouad Al Farhan- who has been arrested last month by his government for criticisms he posted on his website. This incident pretty much escaped many of us since it happened in the middle of the holiday rush. I myself learned of this incident when I saw Ahmed, the blogger who fills the pages of SaudiJeans.org (one of the handful of non-Filipino blogs I try to read regularly) as he was being interviewed on CNN sometime after Christmas. This post is rather late as well. But I wander off track yet again.

What makes Fouad special is that he was one of the first bloggers in Saudi to write unashamedly about the ills of their society without hiding behind a pseudonym or pen name. He refused to back down despite the harassment he was said to be experiencing online and in the real world. And the fears of many of his friends and supporters materialized two weeks before Christmas when he was taken into government custody and to this day remains therein.



Whatever our motive is for being online and keeping blogs- to make money, teach others how to bake a cake, sell a house, show off our literary skills, or criticize government- I believe that we shouldn’t take such an incident sitting down. Even though there would be some of us would be hard-pressed to find Saudi Arabia on the map, let’s remember what Martin Luther King, Jr said: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Please sign the online petition to free Fouad. If you need more information or updates regarding his case, you can visit SaudiJeans.org and Fouad’s very own blog.

God bless all the possible finalists, winners, and organizers of the 2nd Philippine Blog Awards, God bless Fouad and his family.

Blog on!

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3 Comments:

Blogger lateralus said...

Egypt has similarly arrested bloggers for criticizing Islam and the government. Oh well. At least it's not yet happening in the Philippines.

If anything, bloggers are gaining ground on the old media as far as credibility is concerned. :) We beat them to the Malou Fernandez story last year and bloggers dominated the talk shows.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 4:01:00 PM  
Blogger nina said...

excuse me po, hindi po to related sa post nyo. wow sir belated happy birthday! (tama po ba?)
p.s.
sir hindi ko makuha yung centennial logo sa centennial site. pno nyo po nakuha? thanks.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 9:32:00 PM  
Blogger ian said...

@lateralus: i think something close to blog censorship happened a while back? when the site of BoyBastos was deemed pornographic? but of course that IS another matter altogether.

too bad i missed the malou fernandez backlash from bloggers! i was in gallivanting, este, studying outside the country that time and internet access was not very reliable =0 anywho, from the little that trickled into my consciousness- kudos to the Pinoy Blogosphere for leading the revolt against that revolting lady!

@nina: salamat sa pagbati!

i just the centennial logo from the website hahaha may i just email it to you?

Thursday, January 17, 2008 1:20:00 PM  

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