Blogging the New Arab Public: Arab Blogs’ Political Influence Will Grow

Blogging the New Arab Public: Arab Blogs’ Political Influence Will Grow

Editor's note: This article is adapted from a paper that first appeared in Arab Media and Society, an online journal published by the American University in Cairo's Center for Electronic Journalism.

Arab political blogging is changing and becoming more politically relevant. Arab blogs remain a very small, if rapidly growing, phenomenon -- there are perhaps a few thousand political blogs across the region. Still, Internet use and blogging are growing fast, and Internet access seems nearly universal among politically mobilized youth in certain Arab countries.

Even if expectations that a few courageous blogs could shatter the wall of fear sustaining brittle Arab states have been overblown, blogs increasingly do matter. They allow ordinary Arabs to re-engage with politics, and escape the red lines that limit even the most independent of Arab media. National blogospheres create a space in which citizens are able to engage in sustained, focused political argument, and perhaps even hold national leaders to account. In addition, the dialogues and interactions on blogs may contribute to the rebuilding of transnational Arab identity by creating "warm" relationships among otherwise distant Arab youth -- or even build such relationships across the Arab-Western divide. Finally, blogs are chipping away at the encrusted structures of the Arab punditocracy, bringing in new voices that previously had no outlet, and challenging the norms and expectations governing Arab public political discourse. Even if Arab political blogs are unlikely to lead a revolution, they hold out the prospect of a new kind of Arab public sphere that could reshape the texture of politics in the decades to come.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.