The Crisis in Egypt: Web users worldwide rely on the internet for news

BBC Tweets; Feb. 5, 2011

“Reuters: President Hosni Mubarak resigns as head of Egypt’s ruling party”, tweeted BBC World at noon on Saturday morning, marking the 12th day of protests in Egypt.

 Less than fifteen minutes later, a full report was filed on BBC’s website, stating that “The politburo of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) has resigned en masse, in an apparent response to anti-government protests.” These updates were immediately accessible to twitter users and online readers all over the world, who have been fervently following the events in politically unstable Egypt as they unfold.

“The youth have been mobilized through social media,” says Najaat*, an Egyptian activist living in Dubai. “It has created awareness of what is really going on in Egypt, as opposed to what the state run TV news is falsely reporting.”

No longer does one have to wait for the morning paper to be informed of current events. But internet journalism brings with it amateur reporting, open bias and a lack of credibility.  “Unfortunately news sites covering the crisis seemed to have their own political and personal agendas,” says Nancy Allam, an Egyptian international student studying at The University of Toronto.

The expansion and advancement of journalism can thus lead readers into the infinite realm of weblogs and social media.

“Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism,” claims Clay Shirky.

Print journalism may be at the end of its days, but as technology grows and expands, it seems that we may have to surrender the rigid, supervised news room for the erratic world of web reporting.

*Najaat’s last name was not used because she and her family members are activists and are hiding from authorities.

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