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HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES POORLY COVERED IN ARABIC ON THE INTERNET

The Internet has not yet become an effective tool for human rights in the Arab world, says a recent study by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo).

The 215-page study, "Electronic Media and Human Rights", is the first in Arabic to discuss human rights in the discourse of electronic Arabic media outlets. It also surveyed use of the Internet by human rights organisations.

Although many news stories and reports mention "human rights," the study concluded that human rights as a discourse and guiding principle do not seem to influence general reporting in the electronic Arab media. It focused on eight prominent media outlets -- aljazeera.net, alarabiya.net, islamonline.net, elaph.com, copts-united.com, moheet.com, middle-east-online.com and naseej.com -- during 2006, and human rights organisations in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and France.

"Arab governments dominate traditional media outlets such as newspapers and TV stations, so we have nowhere to go but the electronic media," said Gamal Eid, HRinfo's executive director. "We hope to see an electronic media which is more consistent with human rights values rather than only reporting the violations of these rights."

This study was started by Egyptian researcher Mohammed Hakim, who passed away before finishing it, and completed by HRINFO assistant researcher Abdo Abdelaziz.

The report (in Arabic) is available here: http://openarab.net/
English-language content can be viewed at: http://openarab.net/en/reports/
See also: http://www.hrinfo.org/en/reports/2007/pr1002.shtml
(9 October 2007)

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