Fascinating stories I hear every day from the guys in Bucharest setting up the World Blogging Forum.
For example, some of the bloggers they wanted to invite are imprisoned because they were talking about online activism as the government wanted to send a signal to other online voices in order to keep silent. This is the case of the case of Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli in Azerbaijan – it seems that OSCE, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders etc already following the case closely.
This reminded me that sometimes blogging is not as safe as one might think. Wael Abbas (Egypt) is one of the VIP speakers invited to share blogging experiences at the World Blogging Forum in Bucharest:
Wael Abbas is an internationally renownedÂ EgyptianÂ journalist, blogger and human rights activist who blogs at Misr Digital (Egyptian Awareness).Â He reported an incident of mob harassment of women, and broadcast several videos of police brutality. His actions lead to the conviction of police for torture, but he has been harassed by the Egyptian government, and his accounts with YouTube Yahoo were closed. YouTube has since restored his account and most of his videos. Facebook has deleted Waelâ€™s account.
Wael continuously covered political activities in Egypt that donâ€™t receive enough coverage in the traditional media like demonstrations calling for change in Egypt, sit-ins and workers strikes, published videos exposing election rigging and police violence against peaceful demonstrators especially the events of the presidential referendum in 2005 when he posted photos of the hired thugs who molested female activists and exposed the pro Mubarak demonstrators who get paid to demonstrate.
In September 2007, his YouTube account was shut down. All the videos he had sent to YouTube were no longer available. They included videos of police brutality, voting irregularities and anti-government protests. About 12 or 13 were of violence in police stations.
Abbas was announced the winner of a journalism award by theÂ International Center for Journalists onÂ August 24,Â 2007.Â He has also won the Human Rights Watchâ€™s Hellman/Hammett Award 2008.
CNN named him Middle East Person of the Year 2007 and he was considered one of the Most Influential People in the year 2006 by BBC.