Reflections on fascism, autocracy, media and the democratic political process

fullsizeoutput_153PRINCETON BLOG: Something I wrote for my class blog at Princeton University where I taught a journalism seminar this past semester, based on a lecture soon after the US Presidential elections, by Egyptian journalist Yasmine El-Rashidi, a fellow visiting Ferris Professor of Journalism with the University’s Council of Humanities

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PERSONAL POLITICAL: Confessions of a tweet addict

My column Personal Political in Hardnews, India, written a couple of weeks ago. Was too caught up in event on the ground and forgot to post it. Still relevant.

Beena Sarwar

I admit it. I’m addicted to twitter.

Like many others, the first time I heard about this ‘social networking tool’, my initial response was, “What’s the point?”

It was in spring 2006, at the end of a journalism fellowship in the USA. “Try it,” urged Jeb Sharp, a radio journalist. “It’s cool. You can update friends about what you’re thinking or doing and you have to do it in 140 characters or less.”

Out of curiosity, I made myself a twitter account. The whole thing seemed a bit silly. The twitter icon is a little blue bird. The messages you post are called ‘tweets’. It all sounds very fluffy and twittery. And why create a twitter account if you have facebook? Continue reading

Egypt police then and now – remembering May 25, 2005

Egypt is the second biggest recipient of American aid and military hardware, long used by the Mubarak regime to brutalise the people. The Egyptian police are even more brutal than in Pakistan. Watching the situation now on Al Jazeera livestream, when the police have been forced to retreat before the might of the people, I remembered the time some years back when they humiliated and stripped women protestors in public – I posted a message out to my yahoogroup back in May 2005 Eyewitness testimonies: Molestation of Democracy in Egypt. Around the world people observed solidarity with the protestors in Egypt, responding to a call to wear black on Jun 1, 2005. I later wrote this article, posted to my yahoogroup as Personal Political: Women, public space, Cairo and Lahore – copied below. Imagine if there had been twitter and facebook then… Continue reading

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