Blogs Are What Blogs Do

I focused on various areas of the globe to give a rounded opinion of the same questions. I wrote to three separate bloggers whose intentions varied depending on what they covered. All of the bloggers used multimedia to tell their stories.

But Marwa Rakha seemed to have the most experience as a writing and publisher of blogs. She is a relationship and dating writer and she appears on a show in Cairo called Rotana Cafe, which has hip cool cultural folks on air to show the latest trend and happenings.

Marwa Rakha (Egypt)

* Gender Issues

* Social Media

Rotana Cafe

More blogs

Pamela Mutamba (Sub-Saharan Africa)
Juan Arellano (Peru)

Are there any restrictions on your writing that you have to adhere to by blogging where you do?

Marwa Rakha (Egypt): As a blogger, I enjoy more freedom than mainstream media journalists and writers. I still have to be careful because direct personal attacks can get me in trouble. For example, I cannot attack the President or government figures using names, curses, or direct unfounded accusations. The same applies to religion and God. I can argue, refute arguments, state my opinion but without scorn or contempt.
Pamela Mutamba (Sub-Saharan Africa): No
Juan Arellano (Peru): No, not in my blog nor on any other places I’ve published.

What are some of the bigger issues that you see reoccurring that you find yourself blogging about?

Marwa Rakha (Egypt): I am more involved in freedom of expression issues, censorship issues, sexual harassment issues, and Female Genital Mutilation issues
Pamela Mutamba (Sub-Saharan Africa): Justice and Human Rights and democracy
Juan Arellano (Peru): indigenous advocating, climate threats, local politics. In personal terms, my travels, photos I take.

What is difficult about blogging in your country? Is it easy to access the information you need to post your blog? Do you ever do any investigating?

Marwa Rakha (Egypt): The most difficult thing is reaching out to the masses of Egyptians who do not have access to the internet, who do not know how to use a computer, or who do not know how to read. I have never tried contacting any official or politician … most of my posts are my own opinion pieces and commentaries on current events. As a blogger, all the information I need is “a provocative incident”. But if you are asking about statistics and news archives … every one in Egypt – blogger or not – has an issue accessing such data.
Pamela Mutamba (Sub-Saharan Africa): Bad internet connection, no high speed internet connection.
Juan Arellano (Peru): I think difficulty lies in making your voice be heard, known bloggers are a closed circle and media rarely quotes others than them.

How does the internet play into your role as a researcher? (For example, do you follow certain websites, twitter feeds, use it to contact sources, etc…)

Marwa Rakha (Egypt): I mainly follow Egyptian bloggers on their blogs and sites, twitter, a facebook … Facebook has given Egyptians a great venting space. Social media in general is working in favor of young opposition.
Pamela Mutamba (Sub-Saharan Africa): Yes.
Juan Arellano (Peru): Since I’m not a journalist I hardly do investigations, but when looking for info or opinions I use to rely on blogsearch and searchtwitter, apart from the blogs I already know.

Where do you get your blog post story ideas from?

Marwa Rakha (Egypt): Recent events, news, or being an eye witness to a certain incident
Pamela Mutamba (Sub-Saharan Africa): News or blogosphere items.
Juan Arellano (Peru): Anywhere, really.

What topics are under-covered that you feel need more recognition?

Marwa Rakha (Egypt): Corruption … on all levels.
Pamela Mutamba (Sub-Saharan Africa): How people overseas feel about world affairs.
Juan Arellano (Peru): Cultural topics don’t use to have a great coverage.

How are blogs viewed in your country? Are they viewed like news, a supplementary to news, or more of a source of opinion?

Marwa Rakha (Egypt): Mainly as a source of opinion … with the exception of some blogger who mainly report news and cover demonstrations, strikes, and crackdowns.
Pamela Mutamba (Sub-Saharan Africa): Source of opinion & supplementary news.
Juan Arellano (Peru): Mainly as an alternate source of opinion, but almost only when are run by journalists or people related to main media.

How do you think blogs should be used by the public in regards to news?

Marwa Rakha (Egypt): Bloggers show the dirt that has been swept under the carpet.
Pamela Mutamba (Sub-Saharan Africa): Absolutely especially at times when newspapers are banned blogs are the only source of independent news.
Juan Arellano (Peru): One of the many ways of use blogs would be to use them to rise hyper local issues, to people outside from Lima, that rarely makes it to the main media.

By Devin

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