Activists condemn the recent arrests of bloggers in Oman. Web users have been celebrating the Euro 2012 football championships. And a Kenyan paraplegic embarks on an online fundraising campaign.
Several bloggers arrested in Oman
Some twenty human rights activists were arrested in Oman on Monday after gathering in front of a police station in the capital Muscat to demand the release of ten or so other activists who have been placed in detention over the past few days.
One of them, blogger Esmail Al-Muqbali was arrested on May 31 near to Fahud. He had travelled there to cover the strike carried out by oil industry workers who are demanding better working conditions.
Other arrests soon followed. Some have since been released, but according to local activists, at least nine bloggers, authors and poets remain in detention over alleged remarks or opinions expressed on the Internet. Bloggers like Nabhan Al-Hanashi who had openly criticized the authorities in blog posts.
And with calls for the release of these activists multiplying on the web, NGO Reporters without Borders has condemned the wave of arrests, claiming it is an attempt to stifle political and social dissent in this small Gulf sultanate.
Last year, in the wake of the Arab Spring, Oman was rocked by protests with demonstrators demanding, amongst other things, job creation. The authorities pledged reforms, but according to activists, they have yet to honour their promises.
Euro 2012 seen from the web
Euro 2012, which is being hosted by Poland and Ukraine, is well underway, and football enthusiasts are taking to the web, with all sorts of creative ways of celebrating the event. Here’s a roundup of some of the best online initiatives created for the European championships, which are held every four years.
18 year old British football fan Graham Love has recreated the highlights of previous championships … using Lego … from Michel Platini’s winning goal in the Euro 84 final to Greece’s victory over Portugal in 2004. An original project which took hours to complete and is enjoying huge success on the net, where the video has racked up hundreds of thousands of hits since it was posted online at the beginning of June.
One French web user, who goes under the online pseudonym Fab DS is following supporters from all the teams, throughout the competition. He films their reactions, the high points and low points, and then posts the videos online. It’s a fun idea and highlights the festive aspect of Euro 2012.
The site "Foot pouf" is more offbeat. It’s run by two women, and geared towards those who know little about the world of football. The blog takes on a light and comical tone, and offers all sorts of information on, amongst other things, the different teams and how the championships will unfurl. This should help the uninitiated pass themselves off as veritable experts.
And finally, the European football championship is also an opportunity for supporters to make fun of their rivals or play jokes on them … a group of Dutch fans for example, targeted the German team’s coach, by wheel clamping it, meaning it was momentarily stuck in the car park.
L’utilisation des réseaux sociaux dans le monde arabe
Blogger Khaled ElAhmad used a study carried out by the Dubai School of Government to produce these infographics which detail the use of social media in the Arab World. We learn for example that despite the important role attributed to these platforms in the popular uprisings across the region, just 0,26 % of Egyptians and 0,1 % of Tunisians are active on Twitter, and that with a population penetration of over 36 %, Facebook is most popular in the United Arab Emirates.
Now trending on social networks
A Kenyan man, who is paralyzed from the waist down, is running a viral campaign under the hashtag #BringZackbackhome, to raise money towards a spinal injury treatment center in Kenya. And to get web users on board, Zack Kimotho has embarked on a journey of around 3 000 kilometers, in his wheel chair, because that is where the nearest clinic to his home town of Nairobi is located, in Johannesburg in South Africa. He hopes to raise a little over 2 million euros to help build the first treatment center of its kind in Kenya.
Video of the day
This video is called "The Manhattan Project", it was created by Cameron Michael using the time lapse technique, and takes web users on a journey around New York City, visiting some of its legendary landmarks, in a little under five minutes. It’s a beautifully produced piece of work and captures the energy of the Big Apple perfectly.