Popular Posts

Saturday, January 12, 2008

"Aujourd'hui, la conversation importe plus que l'information"

Loïc Le Meur:

"Aujourd'hui, la conversation importe plus que l'information"

Le magazine des blogs et du Web au Maroc

Maroc Blog Awards

Les blogs marocains s’illustrent depuis plusieurs années par leur richesse et leur nombre en constante croissance. Quoi de plus naturel que d’offrir à leurs auteurs leur première consécration nationale à travers le Maroc Blog Awards ? Lire la suite

Dernier billet du Blog - Notre rencontre avec Google

Eh oui, vous avez bien lu. Nous avons rencontré Google ! Ou plutôt des représentants de Google, et plus précisément :

- M. Othman Laraki : Product Manager de “Google Gears” et “Google Toolbar” (California) ;
- M. Kannan Pashupathy : Director - International Operations (California) ;
- M. Mario Queiroz : Vice President - Product Manager (London) ;
Ainsi que M. Jeffrey Roth : Senior Manager (Israel) ;

Nous n’étions pas seuls, puisqu’on était accompagnés de quelques blogueurs de renom représentant ainsi la diversité de la blogosphère marocaine.

Etaient présent, Oussama Benjelloun et son double schizophrène Hamida, Othmane Boumâalif, Citoyen Hmida ainsi que l’équipe du Blogotour composé de Zed, Ahmed et Younes (malheureusement Mehdi n’as pas pu venir car il était malade, nous lui souhaitons un bon rétablissement).

Cette rencontre a pris la forme d’un dîner organisé par la famille de M. Othman Laraki qui nous a réservé un accueil magistral et que nous remercions au passage pour leur hospitalité.

Le but du dîner était d’offrir à Google un aperçu du Net marocain et de l’ambiance qui y règne afin de mieux les aider à le comprendre et à améliorer leurs services en fonctions de nos spécificités culturelles et nos habitudes d’utilisation.

Nous leur avons donc donnés nos avis sur chacun de leurs services et signalé le non fonctionnement de deux d’entre eux : “Google Earth” et “Google Maps“.

Tout s’est passé dans un cadre chaleureux et on a été agréablement surpris par la disponibilité et la convivialité des gens de Google.

Après des heures et des heures de discussions très instructives pour les deux cotés, nous avons été arrachés de nos fauteuils pour dîner tellement les sujets abordés étaient captivant et intéressants.

Après un dîner digne des rois, nos hôtes se sont joints à nous pour participer à une petite séance photo, clôturant ainsi une soirée mémorable que l’on aurait aimé durer indéfiniment.

Photo Team Google 1

Saudi bloggers demand freedom for famous colleague

Saudi bloggers demand freedom for famous colleague

DUBAI (AFP) — Saudi bloggers are campaigning for the release of their most famous colleague, arrested last month after slamming religious extremism and demanding political reforms in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom.

Family and friends remain in the dark about where Fouad al-Farhan is being held and the charges against him since he was detained on December 10 by security agents at his office in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

A smiling Farhan (which means joyful in Arabic) declares on his blog (www.alfarhan.org) that he is pursuing "freedom, dignity, justice, equality, shura (consultation) and other missing Islamic values."

He also says his endeavours are for Raghad and Khattab -- his 10-year-old daughter and five-year-old son.

Farhan's arrest was reported on Tuesday by the English-language daily Arab News, the only Saudi newspaper to have spoken about his detention.

Farhan was being held for "interrogation for violating non-security regulations," interior ministry spokesman General Mansur al-Turki told the daily.

Arab News columnist Abeer Mishkhas wrote on Thursday that this implies that Farhan's website might not be the cause of his arrest, an assumption supported by the fact that the site has not been blocked by authorities.

But she said his detention has unnerved local bloggers, for whom the blogosphere "was a breath of fresh air," offering "freedom and an unrestricted space for all voices."

"This sense of freedom is now at risk. According to some Saudi bloggers, Farhan's arrest is making them think twice before posting comments that they might get in trouble for," Mishkhas wrote.

Two weeks before his arrest, Farhan had written to friends that he expected such a move for his writings about a group of nine reformists arrested in February 2007, eight of whom remain held without trial for alleged links to terror funding.

According to the message, Farhan said he had been asked to cooperate and apologise, but that he was not sure what he was supposed to apologise for.

"Apologising because I said the government lied when it accused the reformists of supporting terrorism," he asked in the message, which was posted last week by a committee of supporters on "Free Fouad," an Internet site on which hundreds of Saudi and foreign bloggers have been demanding Farhan's release.

Calls for his release have also come from several Arab and international media rights groups, including the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRInfo), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Farhan, who wrote under his real name, recently criticised 10 influential Saudi figures, including billionaire Prince Al-Walid bin Talal and judiciary chief Sheikh Saleh al-Luhaidan.

In an article titled "No to terrorism, yes to dialogue in Saudi Arabia," and posted on December 3 following the announcement that more than 200 suspected Al-Qaeda militants had been arrested, he wrote that Al-Qaeda had not been eliminated despite the calm prevailing in the oil-rich kingdom.

He also slammed "the rejection of peaceful dialogue within Saudi society."

"When you are born and raised (in a society) marked by a discourse that excludes the other ... your spirit will be a fertile ground for the ideology of violence. When a youth grows up (in an environment) that rejects the other, he will be an easy prey and a tool for advocates of violence," said Farhan, who repeatedly targeted religious extremism.

Morocco, where bloggers can write about anything...almost

Morocco, where bloggers can write about anything...almost

RABAT (AFP) — It may be a far cry from the millions of blogs active in the West, but Morocco's blogosphere has taken off as the liveliest free-speech zone in largely conservative Muslim North Africa.

The Moroccan "Blogoma", as it is called, is home to at least 30,000 sites.

Inspired by bloggers elsewhere in the Arab world, Moroccans quickly saw these personal websites as a way to circumvent censorship while debating taboo or touchy subjects -- like the monarchy, Islam or the disputed Western Sahara.

"It is a genuine revolution because everyone can comment freely on such sensitive topics," said veteran blogger Larbi El Hilali, who set up Larbi.org.

His more than 450 posts since his blog began in late 2004 have encouraged 18,000 replies. He now gets 3,500 visitors per day, with much discussion on the constitution -- which some feel gives too much power to the king, and press freedom -- in a country where journalists have been slammed with fines or suspended sentences for "defamation against Islam and the monarchy".

Though Morocco's own national press union SNPM concedes that press freedom has improved, it and global watchdogs say there are still attempts to gag the media.

But El Hilali's blog has found that "opinions are sharply divided and many people defend the status quo," he said.

"The Blogoma is like a friendly cafe," said Mehdi7, whose site weaves light-hearted news and "gossip" from the sidelines of royal visits with more serious reports on prostitution and cannabis cultivation -- which the government is trying to eradicate to end a flourishing illegal drug trade.

Morocco today counts 30,000 blogs for four million Internet subscribers. "That's not much compared to the 1.7 million blogs in France but it's a lot more than in our neighbors," El Hilali said.

Algeria, next door, has five times fewer, according to DZblog.com, the Algerian umbrella which has counted 5,892 blogs, two million visitors and seven million page impressions since January 2006.

Tunisia is barely breaking the thousand threshold.

Blogs in Tunisia and Egypt are more akin to citizen journalism sites, but with fewer residents online they draw less attention than in Morocco. About 1.6 million Tunisians surf the web while in Egypt they number only one in 10.

User-generated web technology, however, is making an impact in the region. Wael Abbas, a 33-year-old Egyptian blogger, was decorated in November by the Washington-based International Centre for Journalists after his site was credited with getting two policemen accused of torture sentenced to three-year prison terms.

But blogs in North Africa are not without risk. Karim Amer, 22, landed four years' detention last year on charges of criticising Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Islam on his blog, Al Azhar.

And in 2002, Tunisian blogger Zouhair Yahyaoui was given a two-year sentence on charges of "publishing false information" about alleged human rights violations but released on bail a year later after three hunger strikes. He has since died.

Mehdi7 contends that "Morocco is a country where you can still run a good blog.

"I've not yet heard of a blog that has been censored in Morocco, in which case the whole blogosphere here would mobilise," he said.

Global Voices Advocacy, however, a non-governmental agency that fights against censorship on the web, highlighted 17 countries on its "Access Denied Map", seven of which were Arab states including Morocco.

In May, Rabat blocked access to the video sharing website YouTube for six days after it aired videos considered insulting to King Mohammed VI. In June, Live Journal, an overseas platform hosting two million blogs, was also shut down internally after airing material seen as backing Polisario Front rebels, who are fighting Moroccan forces in the Western Sahara.

"The authorities end up looking ridiculous if they believe they can impose censorship on sites because anyone can get round these obstacles," said Citoyen Hmida, the prolific "doyen" of Morocco's Blogoma.

Arab bloggers -- whose language varies from Arabic to English, French and local dialects -- have sought to uphold independence from the powers that be. In the Muslim-ruled Gulf monarchy of Bahrain, for instance, the blogging community resolutely backed three chat forum moderators arrested in 2005, openly announcing the time and place of demonstrations in their support.

In Morocco, "certain political groups have tried to infiltrate the Blogoma but it has shown a remarkable capacity for self-preservation," said Moroccan web consultant Othmane Boummalif.

"These blogs are like taking a regular temperature, distinct and localised, of the daily reality," said Mehdi7.

My Google Profile