Friday, April 15, 2011

Syria's young cyber activists keep protests in view

Citizen journalists defy threats of violence to replace harassed local reporters and banned foreign media with web technology

Hugh Macleod and a correspondent in Damascus
, Friday 15 April 2011

"....Among unprecedented and growing protests against the 41-year dictatorship of the Assad family over Syria, social media mavens such as Nakhle are emerging as the thread that binds disparate protests together. Foreign media have been all but barred from reporting from Syria and dozens of local and Arab journalists have been arrested or expelled. In their place, Syria's cyber activists are using social media and technology to ensure reporting gets out, linking the protesters on the street with the eyes and ears of the world.....

Until last month, Syria held one of the eldest and the youngest political prisoners in the world, 82-year-old Haithem Maleh, a veteran human rights campaigner who was released, and 19-year-old student blogger Tal al-Mallouhi, who remains behind bars. "Many of my friends were arrested in the last few days, especially the activists behind the computers," says Razan Zeitouna, a lawyer and human rights researcher who has played a key role inside Syria connecting activists with the media outside. She has been interrogated many times by the secret police....."

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