By Ali Abunimah
"This month The Electronic Intifada, an independent online publication about Palestine and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, marks its eighth anniversary. When we started, the co-founders did not realize that we were engaging in an early experiment in what is now called "new media" or "citizen journalism" before those terms were coined.
EI built on earlier pioneering uses of the Internet by Palestinians and their allies who for the first time had the means to communicate with each other, and with Palestinians inside the homeland, circumventing enforced separation and pervasive media censorship. The Internet provided me, as a Palestinian who grew up in the Diaspora, with a real sense of community, connection and empowerment. It became in one sense a virtual country where Palestinians could meet, debate and even coordinate joint action in defense of their rights. Many of the people whose work I hold in highest regard I first met online.
Palestinians readily took to the Internet because their narratives and analyses were -- and still are -- systematically shut out of the mainstream media....."