Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Blogging in a closed society

On 28th October there's to be the first ever democratic election in the Indian Ocean nation of the Maldives

The currect leader, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has been in power for 30 years and there's a chance he may loose control of the country. The election has gone to a second round, after Maumoon failed to win the first round outright.

In this country where freedom of speech is somewhat limited, by Australian standards, it's not surprising that blogs are where much unfettered political debate is occurring.

A friend pointed me in the direction of mvblogosphere where many Maldivian blogs are listed. The coming Maldives election are a popular topic right now.

"mvblogosphere is an attempt to track, map and analyze the exponentially growing Maldivian blogopsphere, in order to draw a larger portrait of the social, cultural, political and economic structures they represent. "

For background information on the country check out also: BBC Country profile: The Maldives

Australian journalist, Antony Loewenstein, has just published a book, The Blogging Revolution, in which he's reported on bloggers in countries where press freedom is limited, such as Iran.

LiteraryMinded has just interviewed Loewenstein on her blog post Join the Revolution! An interview with Antony Loewenstein on The Blogging Revolution. Here's a snippet:

"When visiting a country like Iran – a population of 70 million, the majority under 30 years old and millions of web users – it’s immediately clear that solely relying on state-run media isn’t an option"


Aminath said...

you are right. the most popular topic in mv blogosphere at present is politics. an year ago, there were a variety of topics. but it has always been in line with what was happening in maldives.
Blogging has opened up new avenues for the the maldivian community to communicate and express their thoughts.
Yet, an interesting observation with these blogs is that there are many who don't want to disclose who they are. it is not clear if this is out of fear or intimidation.

JayGee said...

i think bloggers generally often like to remain anonymous