Issue Briefing (Introductory)
Online media has established itself as an increasingly important medium for discussion about political, religious and cultural issues, particularly in regards to “hot topics” such as war in the Middle East. Within this context conversations tend to emerge around individual events such as the invasion of Iraq, September 11 or, for an up-to-date example, the capture of al-Qaeda in Iraq’s deputy leader “Abu Ayyub Al-Masri
”. The advent of blogging and the sub sequential emergence of the Iraqi blogosphere have challenged the traditional western-lead course of online discussion.
The success of the Iraqi blogosphere in becoming the leading forum from which online discussions about Iraq emerge, inevitably lead to the development of strong blogging communities amongst other Middle Eastern cultures. During the recent invasion of Lebanon by the Israeli Defense Force, online discussion regarding Israel and Lebanon was hugely influenced by the two countries respective blogospheres. Traditional media were even caught by bloggers printing falsified information and images as the situation unfolded. (See these: 1
Discussions between citizens from the war-zones revealed some amazing values and similarities; for the first time in history average citizens from two opposing sides of a war were communicating directly with each other from day 1, while people from across the whole globe watched
, discussed and encouraged
this development. Though the Israel-Lebanon conflict may be the first “fully blogged” war in history the blogging of US occupied Iraq by US-soldiers and Iraqi citizens, has hugely influenced discussion regarding many of the most controversial issues of war.
Discussion regarding the illegal application of munitions such as “White Phosphorus” and “Cluster Bombs” by UN signatory nations has in the past been muted by the main-stream media in Western culture. Subsequently past discussion about such topics received the label of “leftist propaganda”. That is, until the Iraqi and Lebanese bloggers started documenting it (1
), and even publishing pictures
. Today such discussions are almost common-knowledge, and other discussing such as the illegal torture of Iraqi detainees are no longer taboo either, thanks to the countless stories Iraqi bloggers who tell of friends or family who have been illegally detained, tortured or just disappeared. (See here: 1
New Iraqi blogs continue to emerge even as old ones come to an end blogs from Syria
are becoming hot-topics as a follow-on effect of the success of the Lebanese, Israeli and Iraqi blogospheres. Activism is being boosted and generated by bloggers, particularly in the campaign against military action in Iran, and as such there is much speculation as to the role blogging will play in the future of the media, of the internet and most particularly of politics in general. I guess only time will tell.