Bahraini Blogwars

19 May, '07

There is an excellent investigative and opinion piece in Al-Wasat today about blogs and blogging in Bahrain by Adel Marzooq (Arabic). He raises quite a number of questions which require some mulling over and addressed – maybe at our next bloggers’ gathering or through a series of posts (or podcasts?) as thinking about them can enrich the blogging experience here.

He purports for instance that Al-Wasat is the only national newspaper giving blogs full attention, and that is very true, we are not mentioned on a regular basis in any of the other Arabic papers. Both English papers do cover us quite well with features and reports. The other Arabic papers might want to investigate why Al-Wasat is choosing to dedicate an editor to follow our writings, that might open up an avenue to them which has so far escaped them. I would refer them to what Dr. Gergash thinks of blogs and how the political leadership is viewing this new media.

Another issue Adel raises is the cliquey nature of blogs in Bahrain as he categorises us in various strata: bourgoise, personal in nature, political, opposition, activist, little people, etc.

He also suggests that a state of “war” exists in the Bahraini blogosphere as some choose to have only their close blogfriends in their links sections and fight tooth and nail to remove any “outsider” to be considered for inclusion in that blogroll, which clearly demonstrates the cliquiness of the enterprise, he claims. I am not sure I agree with his assertions; as an example, I can say from personal experience that I removed the blogroll because it got to be too long and messy to have, and as I have the aggigator for Bahraini blogs anyway, I just link to one site which contains all of those that I track on a daily basis. The other non-Bahraini sites I do read are all publicly available in my bloglines list. It’s just how I choose to “neatify” things, and I’m anal about that!

He’s got other points of view as well as far as the effectiveness of this new medium and of course its reach in the community, which he says is starting to erode the traditional fora, the main reason of which is the easy availability of free hosting platforms and of course the ability of the writer to be his own master, rather than be beholden to forum moderators.

It’s a good read as I said and is an honest attempt to address blogs in the first serious major Arabic national newspaper in Bahrain.

Well done my friend and thank you very much for your attention. Now we need to talk to the Shura Councilors to ensure that they don’t leave us high and dry when the new Press & Publications Law is discussed.

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Comments (2)

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  1. milter says:

    It’s good to see that the “official” news media are keeping an eye on the local blogs.

    I’ve been advocating the importance of local bloggers in The Middle East in my own country several times in blogs here in Denmark. I see it as a very important way to break the monopoly on news and opinions that at the moment lies in the hands of other people.

    In Ireland that monopoly was to a great extent broken by radio shows where hosts introduced aspects of Irish life that would not normally be touched by anybody else. It made a lot of people realize that they were not alone in their doubts about the version of the “truth” they had been presented to until then.

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