I was quoted in an excellent article by Gal Beckerman in the Columbia Journalism Review, called “The New Arab Conversation.” I spoke to Gal about methods of government repression of bloggers and turned him on to our friend Ammar Abdulhamid and others.
The Committee to Protect Bloggers, a now defunct U.S. organization that monitored bloggers who found themselves in danger, kept track of the various forms of intimidation and suppression. Curt Hopkins, who was the group’s director, says there are three basic methods that countries employ to suppress bloggers: technical filtering, the law, and direct intimidation. Though it is fairly easy to track down bloggers using IP addresses, bloggers have an easier time evading the authorities than do journalists working for a newspaper. “When it comes to shutting down a publication, it’s pretty easy,” says Hopkins. “You just send some goons with baseball bats and suddenly you don’t have a publication. It’s that simple. Also it’s easier to find people because they are in the offices when you come to arrest them. And though it’s true that if you have enough money and time, you can find almost anyone, you’ve got to remember that most governments don’t have enough money and enough time.”