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Dr. el-Nawawy explains how social media sparked a revolution in Egypt

02/02/11 -  

As political unrest sweeps from Egypt across the Middle East, Dr. Mohammed el-Nawawy has been busy sharing his expertise with the national media and local community.

El-Nawawy, a native Egyptian, teaches international communication, mass communication, media globalization, and Middle East media courses in the Knight School of Communication.  He is uniquely qualified to comment on the recent turmoil as his expertise and research interests are focused on the new media in the Middle East, particularly satellite channels and the Internet, and their impact on the Arab public sphere. He is also interested in issues of public diplomacy and ways of initiating effective dialogue between the Middle East and the West.

Before the protests erupted on the streets of Cairo, he was already working on a major project, studying bloggers there and across the Middle East. He estimates that there are about 160,000 bloggers in Egypt, and several of those whom he interviewed have been involved in the protests in Cairo.

Over the past several days he has been interviewed by the New York Times and CNN, and was a featured expert on the PBS NewsHour.

He also recently gave a standing-room-only public lecture and fellow Knight School professor Dr. Mac McArthur blogged about the event. El-Nawawy explained how calls for protests via social media in Egypt sparked a fire among its people, calling for change. More than 450,000 Egyptians joined a group on Facebook to rally against the government.  And when the government shut down the Internet and mobile phone service, the people took to the streets in efforts to be heard.

"This is an uprising that began in the virtual world and moved to the real world," he explained, adding that only between 15- and 20 percent of people in Egypt have Internet access and the rest rely on satellite television to get their news.

El-Nawawy is the author and co-author of several books, including "Islam dot Com: Contemporary Islamic Discourses in Cyberspace,"  "Al-Jazeera: The Story of the Network that is Rattling Governments and Redefining Modern Journalism," "Al-Jazeera: How the Free Arab News Network Scooped the World and Changed the Middle East" and the "Israeli-Egyptian Peace Process in the Reporting of Western Journalists."

He has also published in several national and foreign journals in the international communication field. His work on Arab media in general, and Al-Jazeera in particular, has attracted the attention of the popular press inside and outside the United States.

He is the founding and senior editor of the Journal of Middle East Media and serves on the editorial boards of Media, War and Conflict journal and Global Media journal. He is also a board member on the Arab-U.S. Association for Communication Educators.

Dr. el-Nawawy also has professional journalistic experience in the United States and the Middle East.



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