Defending Free Speech in the Arab World, and Around the World

Last month I attended a meeting of Arab bloggers, sponsored by the German Heinrich Böll Foundation, at Zico House in Beirut. Listening to them I was struck by the notion that these individuals—empowered blogs and other social media tools and the undammable information streams that flow on the Internet—are evolving into defenders of the freedom of speech. What’s more, the status isn’t restricted to their own countries. With the help of sites like DigiActive and Global Voices that amplify their efforts, failures, and successes, they are setting examples that can be followed and interpreted for local contexts around the world. I wrote about this observation and those underlying it on the MediaShift blog hosted by Mark Glaser and the Public Broadcasting System, the United States’ government-sponsored, noncommercial, in-the-public-interest television network.

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