So, recently in the United Arab Emirates a young blogger and four other activists were sent to jail. The five were said to be "insulting the UAE's rulers and endangering national security." The five activists signed a petition in March that called for political change in UAE and this led to their arrests. Along with this petition, Mansour (the main defendant) was arrested for having a website that spurred others on this political activism. People were given a platform to discuss the government they want to see in UAE. This story has already created a social media buzz, even with it's own Twitter hashtag: #UAE5. I think that this is an amazing story about the changed social media has had in our lives. All across the world we are seeing more and more protests, and I think that social media is starting to play a larger role in this. It is harder for those in countries without laws on their freedom of speech or freedom of the use of the internet. We are so lucky in America to have the right to speak our mind, even if it is against the government, and to use the internet. However, even in America the government is trying to stifle the use of the internet. Recent bills have been sent to Congress to give the government control over the internet and the ability to censor it. It seems that the internet is posing some threat everywhere because no one truly owns it. The internet, and social media, have the capability to cause revolution and camaraderie around certain groups of people. This is why Mansour and his four companions were arrested. They were using their blog to try to change their country, and the government in UAE was not happy about it. It's amazing to think how far we've come in the political arena too. We've gone from town forums to televisions debates and now to blogs. People are able to gather together online and express their opinions in what seems to be a safe environment. I personally am very sad for the five that were arrested because the internet should be free for everyone's use. However, I know in other countries freedom of speech is stifled and it is up to the people in those countries to change it. I just hope that someday in the future everyone will have the free access we all deserve and will not be imprisoned for simply owning a blog.
Here is where I found the article so you all can read it: http://thenextweb.com/me/2011/11/27/uae-blogger-sentenced-to-3-years-in-prison/
food for thought: "A book is like a garden carried in the pocket."- Chinese Proverb
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