Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bloggers in jail, today Egypt, tomorrow?

Hosni Mubarak has been seen as one of the most palatable dictators of the Middle East, which is not saying much. Well, in his old age, and perhaps with some senility creeping, his regime has sent a blogger to jail. The reason, according to the Washington Post Editorial is that he reported on some stuff as an eye witness. Stuff such as directed rioting by Islamist extremist against the Christian Copt community of Alexandria.

What is even more remarkable is that the Post editors use material form another noted Egyptian blogger (who knows of this blog by the way). Sandmonkey has been writing a few entries about his colleague now in jail, Abdel Kareem Nabil Soliman. You can read his extensive article at PJM, or some of his entries here, here or here.

Now, all is there, from the anguish to see a fellow blogger jailed for reporting what the censored media does not report to whether stay in Egypt and risk one's life. The parallel with Venezuela is starting. Right now Venezuelan opposition bloggers have little more to worry but pesky chavista supporters visiting, insulting and even sometime threatening (the worst come from e-mail letters...). But imagine if RCTV is shut up, if Globovision starts self censorship, if the TalCual fine becomes a mere precedent, if newspapers are tamed... Bloggers would be next and this is not necessarily that far in the future. One year? Two? It does not matter, what is crucial is that bloggers must start watching their back, in particular if they cover some events live as this blogger or Miguel have done in the past when luck made us cross path with news.

Today there is nothing comparable to anti Coptic riots in Alexandria, but the culture of violence and hatred preached now everyday from El Supremo can only lead someday to some nasty outbreak. We have already seem too many journalists attacked by chavista followers, we are living with the daily consequences of the Tascon list (list of links on the right side), now probably expanded to those who sent money to Tal Cual as these people will probably be labelled as "very dangerous enemies". If you do not express vocally your support of Chavez you may be barred from many a public service, including jobs, and more, much more discrimination, subtle or not, that keep creeping, creating second class citizens, and not forgetting even that old scourge of anti semitism. It seems that it is not a matter of IF, but more and more of WHEN a blogger will put to the index. Do not forget that there was already a first salvo with the infamous paid advertisement against the "anglo american conspiracy". Chavez needs targets and too many lackeys are willing to oblige him.

-The end-

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