Democracy, Dissent, and Digital Media in the Arab World

March 01, 2011
12:00 pm - 01:00 pm

Democracy, Dissent, and Digital Media in the Arab World – Remarks by Amira Maaty from CIMA on Vimeo.


Honorary Co-Hosts

Senator Richard Lugar
Representative Adam Schiff (watch remarks)
Representative Mike Pence
Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press Co-Chairs

Moderated by

Carl Gershman (watch remarks)
President, National Endowment for Democracy

Featured Speakers

Mona Eltahawy (watch remarks)
Egyptian Journalist/Blogger

Abderrahim Foukara (watch remarks)
Washington Bureau Chief, Al Jazeera

Amira Maaty (read remarks / watch remarks)
Program Officer for the Middle East and North Africa, National Endowment for Democracy

Michael Nelson (watch remarks)
Visiting Professor of Internet Studies, Georgetown University

The latest uprisings in the Arab region have revived the debate about the power of digital media. Mass demonstrations across the region have caused the downfall of two governments and led to major changes in others. From Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen, digital media have played a vital role in mobilizing protesters and transmitting information in real time around the globe. Yet some argue that the influence of these tools has been greatly exaggerated. A panel of experts and activists examined the strengths and vulnerabilities of digital media in supporting protests across the Arab world.

How are activists using digital media to organize protests and disseminate information in the region? What new tactics are governments using to censor online content and control the narrative? How have activists and private organizations worked to circumvent these controls, and what can be done in the future? How should the United States take advantage of these technologies to support democratic growth? How should the U.S. government support Internet freedom at key political moments?


The Center for International Media Assistance, an initiative of the National Endowment for Democracy, brings together a broad range of media experts with the goal of strengthening the support for and improving the effectiveness of media assistance programs by providing information, building networks, and conducting research on the indispensable role independent media play in creating sustainable democracies around the world.

The Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press was organized in May 2006.  The bipartisan, bicameral caucus is co-chaired by Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Michael Pence (R-IN), and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN).  It aims to advance press freedom by creating a forum to combat and condemn media censorship and the persecution of journalists worldwide.

Related Media

Conference tackles role of digital media in the Arab world,” by Barbara Ferguson, Arab News, March 6, 2011.

Social Media a Critical Tool for Middle East Protesters,” by Alex Villarreal, Voice of America, March 1, 2011.