Tololy wrote an interesting post the other day entitled: “Trouble gets Jordanian bloggers more attention”. It was basically about how Jordan is quite the small humble country without that storm of attention that comes by way of national events which have the whole world talking. Which means that Jordanian bloggers only get the attention they deserve when there’s “trouble”. The word “trouble” got me thinking, but that other kind of trouble. The trouble that has lead to Arab bloggers seeing the insides of a jail cell. And I’m talking about getting in trouble for actually blogging, or for what you’ve written on your blog.
Every Arab country differs from the other. Some play a bigger role on the international stage, mostly for doing something bad. And others are more low key. I think Jordan is one of the latter. Also, every country differs in it’s approach to Internet censorship. Till now there have been no signs that you can actually get in trouble for blogging in Jordan. I do know for a “fact” that Jordanian blogs are monitored. But other than that, I have no idea. I don’t know if “they” take it seriously, if they’re waiting for someone up the chain of command to tell them to take it seriously.
Perhaps it’s because nothing entirely “grand” has come out of Jordanian blogging. In the sense that you don’t see Jordanian bloggers (and what they write) being integrated into the national press. And you don’t see Jordanian bloggers using their blogs to mobolise for protesting something in front of the parliament. So when I say something “grand” I’m looking at the impact, the kind that can get a government scared.
While I would never want to see the inside of a jail cell it is a way to put bloggers on the map. In fact the first blogger to be jailed because of blogging is, in my opinion, a martyr for a cause. Because it forces governments to take them seriously as well as the media, be it national or international. Because blogging is the next big thing. It’s a tool that can essentially bring power back to the people, even if it is only people who can afford the Internet. In countries like Jordan there is almost an unwritten obligation for bloggers to use their blogs for some greater benefit. It’s like being given the power of freedom of speech and then not using it to speak for those who can’t, or worse, not using it for their benefit at all.
So I don’t know. Maybe we, as Jordanian bloggers, should be looking for trouble if trouble isn’t coming to find us first.
Just a thought.