Facebook Helps to Reveal the Voice of a Silenced Public

Mustafa al Ezzi (The American University in Cairo, Egypt)

Cyber activism has begun to play a role in shaping journalism in many societies. This paper presents a case study of two interrelated public protests that took place in Egypt which were entirely organized through a Facebook group. The Egyptian press is known to have an extremely limited freedom of speech. All newspapers are restricted to covering topics within given government parameters. This paper looks at how this new Internet tool has begun to help the Egyptian press exercise more freedom of speech. It presents the results of a content analysis, of both government and independent newspapers, conducted for a 47-day period, starting one week before the first protest and ending one week after the second protest. It provides supporting evidence from in-depth interviews with a number of media experts. The study concludes that Facebook has played a role by helping print journalists practice more freedom of speech in Egypt.

Timing - Friday - Panel Session C1

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