Web users are celebrating as two French hostages are freed in Afghanistan. Egyptian bloggers are sharing accounts of the recent clashes in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. A video criticizing a Gaza bound flotilla is exposed as a hoax.
French hostages freed in Afghanistan
A year and half after they were taken hostage in Afghanistan, Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier have finally been freed.
A great number of web users had campaigned for the two French journalists’ freedom and have been celebrating their release on social networks. Near to 15 000 web users contributed to this virtual mosaic organized in May by Reporters without Borders.
Egypt: Clashes in Cairo's Tahrir square
Riot police fired tear gas and protesters threw stones in retaliation. As we can see in this online video, Cairo’s Tahrir square was the scene of violent clashes which began late Tuesday night and went on into the early hours of Wednesday morning. The demonstrators’ main demands were for the prosecution of former officials to be speeded up and for the head of the military council now ruling Egypt, to step down.
The authorities claim the violence was started by a group of men who disrupted a memorial service for protesters killed during the revolution. Blogger Gigi Ibrahim contests this version of events, she has uploaded this video and claims the police attacked the families of the victims’.
The army has posted a statement on Facebook, denouncing an attempt to « destabilize » the country, and urging people to ignore calls for rallies.
Activist groups including the April 6th Movement, which played a vital role in the revolution, have indeed called for an open sit-in in Tahrir Square in protest of the security forces’ use of violence.
And another demonstration scheduled for the 8th of July is also being planned on Facebook at the moment. Citizens are being encouraged to join a fresh demonstration in Tahrir Square to defend their revolution and maintain pressure on the army to speed up political reforms.
Actor impersonated activist attacking Gaza flotilla
As a convoy of pro-Palestinian activists is sailing towards the Gaza Strip, a video allegedly aimed at destabilizing the flotilla has sparked controversy. In this video, which was uploaded on the 23rd of June, a man introduces himself as Marc Pax, an Israeli gay rights activist. He claims the organizers of the latest flotilla of ships rejected his offer to mobilize a network of gay activists in support of their cause.
He goes on to discuss the hypocrisy of these pro-Palestinian activists and their ties with Hamas, which he says is homophobic.
But the problem is this man is actually an Israeli actor called Omer Gershon. He is featured on this Israeli celebrity web site and appears in this advert for a shoe brand.
The hoax was spotted by pro-Palestinian bloggers, including Benjamin Doherty from the site Electronic Intifada. He had shared his doubts over the authenticity of the man’s account as soon as the video appeared online, saying the man had no other history on the Internet.
Then Max Blummental added a post to his blog saying how odd it was that people with close ties to the Israeli government had been promoting this video on social networks. 8
Guy Seeman, an interne in the office of Benyamin Netanyahu (the Israeli Prime Minister) and David Sarenga, a former diplomat, were among the first to post this link on their Twitter accounts. And their messages were relayed by the government’s press office and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
And although the Israeli authorities claim they were taken in by the imposter, activists like Ali Abunimah suspect they were actually behind this hoax.
China launches state-run search engine
Last week, China’s state run newspaper People’s Daily launched its own search engine. It’s called Jike and was developed in collaboration with the country’s top search engine Baidu and Liu Jun a former Google employee.
And contrary to the American giant which for over a year now has been run through Hong Kong to avoid censorship, Jike will scrupulously respect the rules.
Video of the day
A forty year old man who has sent her a friend request, boys whose profile picture is of a car, and girls who comment on anything and everything …
16 year old Australian girl Madelaine Zammit, has written a song about everything that annoys her about social network Facebook. The song has been circulated all over the web, probably because the lyrics hit home with a great many web users.