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  • Thanks for alerting your readers to this story, although I must say Paul Reynolds has come to the subject pretty late and has recycled some long-known blogging facts (eg US bloggers’ role in the downfall of Dan Rather and Eason Jordan). His comment about many blogs being on the right of the political agenda is surely most true of the US? Unless “right” has a rather wider definition when one is talking about other countries. Re the Danish cartoons, blogs have not just been useful as eg locating a source of the awful cartoons that were not among the infamous 12, but also as an important source of views and reactions to the cartoons and to the demonstrations etc in different areas, including the Arab world. Blogs can help mainstream media get their fingers on a pulse in a particular country or area – even if that pulse, especially if bloggers are writing in English, may be a bit self-selective and not necessarily a full indication of eg reaction in the elusive ‘Arab street’.

    Also, one part of the BBC doesn’t seem to know what another part is doing. Reynolds fails to mention the splendid BBC Radio 5 series “Pods and Blogs” which regularly interviews, among others, bloggers and podcasters from the Middle East, among them Haitham Sabbah, Ahmad Humeid and Natasha Tynes. It’s just a pity the series is broadcast so late at night (or early in the morning) so that I have to make a special effort to remember to listen to it via the BBC website. Some other BBC radio stations have also interviewed Arab bloggers – including Cairo-based Big Pharaoh, who was not identified by his real name when interviewed on Egyptian politics last year by Radio 4, but was referred to solemnly throughout as Big Pharaoh.

    And I’d have liked to hear more about the BBC policy on its employees setting up blogs, which he mentions in passing.

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