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Battered Bangla Blogosphere


The “flame war” within the ‘Bangla blogosphere’ got fierce as atheist bloggers were stigmatized by Islamists. The problem reached a volatile degree when in the month of February an anti-Islamist blogger was murdered. Recently, arrests of four online writers accused of religious insensitivity led to the closure of eight websites in Bangladesh. The issue of blogging fomented in Bangladesh after a group of online activists took to the streets of Dhaka in February to demand the death penalty for Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Kader Mullah. He was sentenced to life in prison for crimes committed during the country’s 1971 war of liberation from Pakistan. Reportedly, the Islamists are demanding the enforcement of Blasphemy laws in the country due to the derogatory remarks passed by the bloggers against Islam. It is impractical on part of both the Bangla bloggers and the Islamists to place such demands even when there are explicit cyber laws present in Bangladesh. Implementation of laws in this context, is more significant than ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘respect for others’ belief system’.

The Bangladesh’s ‘cyber code of conduct’ bars online writers to denigrate any religion. The existing 2006 Right to Information Act prescribes 10 years of imprisonment and penalty up to Taka 1 crore for hurting people’s religious sentiments using the Internet. The century-old Penal Code, on the other hand, suggests two years of imprisonment besides penalty for defaming religion and hurting people’s religious sentiment. According to the Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan, the Bangla government has sprawled in websites to search for those violating the law. The four detainees who tried to defame Islam were among the 11 bloggers identified by the government for ‘instigating hate in the name of religion’.

Bangla blogo sphere -page001

A right act by the government is being assailed by the liberals. The advocates of ‘freedom of speech’ are forgetting the moral bounds and the condition of religious sensitivity while using the internet. Even the ‘netiquettes’ (internet-etiquettes) do not allow online users to remain indifferent to others’ culture, values and belief system. The atheist bloggers are accusing the government of taking sides with Islamists. They also allege that the Islamist bloggers are planning to march towards Dhaka to demand for the death sentence of anti-Islamist web writers as they had committed blasphemy. On the other hand, the atheists themselves had gathered in Dhaka’s Shahbag Square for over a month to demand toughest punishments for perpetrators of 1971 “crimes against humanity”. It is paradoxically perplexing that how will they categorize ‘denigrating other faiths’ if not under the heading of ‘crimes against humanity’. With the government already setting up a panel to monitor blasphemy on social media the Islamists shouldn’t be hasty as well. It is better for the Bangla blogosphere to accept this ‘stand off’ as a legal matter. Resorting to coercive measures is irrational.

Religious mudslinging has gained momentum since the controversial anti-Islam film on Youtube sparked worldwide protests. Bangladesh also joined the bandwagon of those countries that banned Youtube as an online protest against the hate film. This accentuates the need to carve-out a set of rules for ‘online interfaith dialogue’. Bangladesh can set an unprecedented example by implementing its cyber laws and bringing to book online mischief makers.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2013 in Random Scape

 

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Cyberspace Reporter Versus Earthly Reporter


Difference between ‘Reporting in the Virtual World
and
the ‘Physical World’

By Fakiha Hassan Rizvi 

Abstract

This report will succinctly identify and explain the differences between reporting in the real world and in the virtual world. To test the differences, experience of reporting in both the cyberspace and physical world is presented. The differences are arranged in the themes of, data gathering, organizing the report, writing and publishing. Conclusion ascertains that differences lie mainly during the stages of ‘data gathering’ and ‘publishing’.

Introduction:

The report aims at identifying the major differences or divergence between data gathering, organization, writing and publishing, while reporting events in the real world (physical world) as opposed to Computer Assisted Reporting and Research through an online medium (virtual world).

Rose (1995) concisely describes the differences in the internet/virtual/cyberspace and the physical world by arguing that the Internet doesn’t host a ‘new set of population’. Whosoever uses the internet is also connected to the real world, somehow or the other. Consequently, the online providence of information reflects events in the real world. [1]

However, Susler (2001) justifies major differences between the virtual and real domains by taking the support of ‘Cyberpsychology‘. Internet is psychologically distinct due to its characteristics of ‘anonymity’, ‘variation in skill levels’, ‘absence of geographical boundaries’, ‘option to change appearance/identity that leads to deception. [2]

Kolodzy (2006) discussed the two reporting techniques in the context of ‘convergence’ that distinguished online news from the print medium by emphasising on ‘interactivity’, ‘hyper links‘ and ‘multimedia’, which allows online journalism to ‘guide’ and ‘tell’ more than any other medium of communication. [3]

Dueze (1998) mentions that the online reporting of events is more complex as; [4]
deuze2

He presented a model for online journalism in 2003, explaining that online reports leave more room for dialogue between the reporter and the reader, it is instrumental and concentration is centred upon ‘public connectivity’. On the other hand, traditional journalism concentrates editorial content through orientation and monitoring. [5]

Conclusively, the Cyberspace reporter is the creator and controller of the content, with the luxury of ‘self-publishing’ at his or her disposal. The traditional reporter is bound to follow the editorial policies of the news agency/print media outlet that he/she is working for.
Dueze’s model for online journalism:

Deuze2


Web Journalism: The Use of Blogs as tools for Reporting

Although social interest networks like Facebook, information network like Twitter, simple html websites and blogs, all are potential reporting tools in the virtual world. However, the report focuses on ‘Blogs’ only.

In 2009, the executive director of Committee to Protection Journalists, Joel Simon, said that “bloggers are at the vanguard of the information revolution and their numbers are expanding rapidly”. The Royal Pingdom (a forum that looks at the uptime-monitoring needs of 90% of the companies in the world) estimated that 70 million WordPress blogs shall be created by the end of 2011. In March 2012, the ‘nielsenwire’ reported that over 181 million blogs have been tracked around the world. The exponential rise in blogging is followed by citizen or participatory journalism, especially in countries where traditional media fails to present the views of the masses.

A specialist blogger (trained journalist having a blog of his/her own) applies the journalistic practices and values like objectivity, fairness, balance, coherence and news norms, such as timeliness, human interest, proximity, unusual nature, conflict, impact and helpfulness.

On the other hand, an undifferentiated blogger (not specializing in the field of Journalism) is likely to deviate from the journalistic norms. A citizen blogger may provide a highly subjective account, owing to some of the limitations and personal bias, while reporting an event.

Consequently, after content itself, it is the presentation of the content in the online report that counts. The presentation is likely to differ, according to the bloggers skill and familiarity with standard journalistic techniques of reporting.

 Experience: to Test the Differences

The experience of covering a seminar in the real world and the one that was mediated through a video clip on ‘vimeo’ can give a clear view of the points at which a Cyberspace reporter and Earthly Reporter diverge.

Reporting in the Physical World:
A seminar to be reported in the real world is likely to follow this pattern:

earhtly reporter

 Problems that influence reporting:

The tape recorder might not record properly as reporter is a participant, he/she is part of the audience. The hiss and noise in that setting is likely to obstruct the reporters concentration. This was removed by appointing two reporters so that points missed by the other could have been covered.

All the speakers weren’t available at the end of the session. The reporter had no other choice than to miss out details that were to be confirmed from those speakers, instead of misreporting them.

A photograph was taken by another participant at the event for the report.

Reporting in the Virtual World:

A cyberspace reporter is likely to follow this pattern:
cyberspace reporter

 CONCLUSION:
The highlighted differences represent the distinction between a Cyberspace reporter and an Earthly Reporter. Note that both the events were more or less similar, but the reporting processes of data gathering and publishing differed in both the worlds.

References:

[1] Rose (1995) Net Law: Your Right in the Online World

[2] Axelrod (2009) Violence goes to the Internet: Avoiding the snare of the net, Charles C Thomas Publisher

[3] Kolodzy (2006) Convergence Journalism: Writing and Reporting Across the News Media, Rowman & Littlefield.

[4] http://cybra.lodz.pl

[5] Veglis & Siapera (2012), The Handbook of Global Online Journalism, John Wiley & Sons.

Journalism Notebook

Journalism Notebook (Photo credit: planeta)

mappa_blog

mappa_blog (Photo credit: francescopozzi)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Research Hub

 

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2 Years of Blogging and the Journey Goes On…


WordPress issued this pleasant notification today and I felt ecstatic! 

Anniversary with WordPress

Today, I would like to thank all those who are following my blog and considering it worthy enough.
myphoto (3)

Blogging isn’t an easy task, but there is nothing better than it once it turns into your favourite hobby. Evolve this habit into your passion and adhere to realistic plans while doing so. My journey with www.fakihahassanrizvi.wordpress.com has been more of an adventure. These few posts, the animated images in the side bar and the page that defines me, helps an indecisive person (me) to face life every single day.

 “Words are my accelerators and I’m not sure whether they make the ride bumpy or smooth, all I know is that they don’t let me remain stationary”.

 I wish that this special part of my life remains intact.

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Random Scape

 

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Exploring the Images in Arab Blogosphere


Exploring the Images in Arab Blogosphere

By Fakiha Hassan Rizvi 

Introduction and Background:

The word ‘blog’ is a contraction of two words, Weband ‘Log’. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word ‘weblog’ as a frequently updated website consisting of personal observations, excerpts from other sources, typically run by a single person and usually with hyperlinks to other websites. It can also be referred to as an online journal or diary.

Walker.R (2008) defines ‘blogging’ as a cumulative process as the information shared is always placed in a broader context and bloggers have complete control over the content that they want to share unlike other means of communication (print, broadcast). [1]

Brans & Jacobs (2006) while discussing the ‘Uses of Blogs‘ elaborated the concept of ‘News Blogging’ as a “practice of covering the news through blogging- either by reporting originally or by providing opinion on the news that has been reported in the news sources”. [2]

Barlow (2008) explained the working dimension of blogs, he argued that the words on the screens become movers of judgement, all supposedly equal, though there are plenty of means of heightening their exposure. [3]

Pole (2010) discussed the influence of blogging networks (blogosphere) on political communication. As per his argument, blogging has altered political discourse by changing ‘how’ and ‘when’ people discuss politics. He further supports this by explaining the enhanced level of interactivity while blogging that enables dialogue among bloggers and readers leading to an exchange of ideas. The ideas can then be manifested in the form of an ‘action’, ‘policy’ or ‘mobilization’. Therefore, political communication has no boundaries with regards to ‘scope’ and ‘magnitude’ in the blogosphere. [4]

The Arab uprisings and protests starting from 2010 used blogs as an important source for disseminating information that was denied any other outlet (mainstream news media). However, some argue that the role of ‘social networks’ and ‘blogs’ in triggering the waves of protests around Middle East is overstated. Whether less or more, the impact of social media did resonate and there are no differences over this. Downing (2010) marks 2003 as the year during which Arab bloggers/citizen journalists started to gain prominence. However, it was only after 2005 that these bloggers “emerged as important leaders of social movements.” [5]

This is the reason that Murphy (2011) labels blogging as a predominant form of written protest in the Arab world and the Internet as the new “clandestine printing press.” [6]

Arab Blogosphere

Arab Blogosphere

Literature Review:

This is a concise research study which aims at revealing the images in the Arab Blogosphere, pertinent to four key issues of Middle East during 2012:

  1. Morsi as the President of Egypt
  2. Syrian Massacre
  3. Protests against anti-Islam film in the Arab World
  4. Recent conflict between Gaza and Israel

‘Three’ blogs were considered for this research study. The images that reflected the issues mentioned above were studied. ‘Image analysis’ is very significant for analyzing opinions being communicated through the web. 

Image source: Encyclopedia of Social Media Movement by John D.H.Downing (2010)

Image source: Encyclopedia of Social Media Movement by John D.H.Downing (2010)

It becomes all the more significant in the case of ‘blogs’ as readers are hooked by the images accompanying the posts. Sometimes they even get a clue of the entire post by viewing images. In case of the Arab world, there are certain blogs that share images being submitted by natives belonging to different countries in the Arab countries. In this way the blog becomes ‘a portrait of the current happenings’ in the Middle East.

It’s time to take a look at the images in the Arab Blogosphere

References:

[1] Walker. J. Rettberg (2008), Blogging.

[2] Jacobs J. & Brauns A. (2006), Uses of Blogs.

[3] Barlow A. (2008) Blogging America: The New Public Sphere

[4] Pole A. (2010) Blogging the Political: Politics and Participation in a networked society.

[5] Downing. J. D. H (2010) Encyclopedia of Social Media Movements

[6] Murphy. C. Emma (2011) The New Arab Media: Technology, Image, Perception

BLOG URL’s

http://lynch.foreignpolicy.com/

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/

http://tabsir.net/

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2012 in Research Hub, Slide shows

 

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