Fears for a jailed Egyptian blogger on hunger strike. Web users in the Philippines criticizing a fake photo posted online by a government agency. And the controversial web site that publishes photographs and video footage of French police officers.
Fears for jailed Egyptian blogger on hunger strike
Tense confrontations between demonstrators and police in front of a military court in Cairo when activists gathered on Tuesday to demand the release of Maikel Nabil, a 26 year old blogger who has been on hunger strike since the 23rd of August in protest of his three year prison sentence for “insulting the army”.
His appeal was to be heard on Tuesday but has been postponed and fears are growing for his health. In this video, which was posted online by the daily newspaper Al-Ahram, Maikel Nabil’s brother Mark says he has lost a lot of weight since he began the fast and is saying he is prepared to die in prison.
A number of human rights organizations have also been voicing their concern. Amnesty International thinks the blogger’s life is in danger and is calling upon the Egyptian authorities to take immediate action or they will be held responsible for his death.
Many web users feel the case of Maikel Nabil is symbolic of the post Mubarak era, run by a military council which has continued the former regime’s way of doing things.
The young man was indeed imprisoned over remarks made on his blog in which he allegedly said the armed forces had repressed demonstrations before and after the Egyptian revolution.
By campaigning for this blogger, activists are also maintaining pressure on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has been strongly criticized for taking so long to implement the promised reforms and for making thousands of civilians appear before military tribunals.
Philippines: web users criticize fake government photo
Web users in the Philippines are in uproar over a photo posted on the Facebook page of the Philippines Department of Public Works and Highways last week. It depicts three officials assessing the damage caused by Typhoon Nesat. It turns out the photo is fake and was put together with the help of some photo editing software, sparking lively reactions online.
Blogger Pierre Albert San Diego says the Department of Public Works has done an amateur job on the photo editing. He has studied the controversial photo and says there are at least 5 details which point towards it being a stage managed event, like the fact that two of the three men can also be seen in the background. The blogger says if the three officials had simply done their jobs and taken the time to access the damage then they would not have been obliged to put together the fake photo.
Faced with the growing condemnation, the government agency has apologized to the people of the Philippines in a message posted on its Facebook page, saying the photo is a fake but the three officials were not involved in the hoax in any way, and were actually on site taking part in assessment activities.
But this apology has had little effect of web users across the Philippines who continue to poke fun at the three men in the fake photo. Scores of other image edited photos like these ones have emerged online over the past few days, placing the officials in the most unlikely scenarios. It’s an original way for citizens to criticize the authorities’ terrible error in communications.
French "Copwatch" site sparks controversy
"Who protects us from the police?” This is the question on the welcome page of the website CopWatch which has been set up to monitor police activity and denounce acts of police brutality in France. The site which recently went live and is run by anonymous activists publishes the names and photos of police officers from in and around Paris and also in Northern France. The information is gathered from CCTV footage or from police officers’ Facebook profiles. The authorities have strongly condemned the initiative and filed a legal motion to block the site.
Social network buzz
"RIP Soulja Boy" is now trending on social networks. News that the American rapper had allegedly been shot and killed at a party in Atlanta in the early hours of Wednesday morning has spread across the web like wildfire. It remains a rumour and has not been confirmed, but has meet met with widespread reaction from web users who have been sharing their disbelief and sadness.
Video of the day
First year engineering students at Toronto University in Canada found themselves caught up in a flash mob just before they were to sit down to a test. The supervisors were also in on the surprise and hopefully it helped the students relax a little before the stress of sitting an exam.