Media monitoring, as practiced by governments in Libya, Bahrain, Egypt, Syria and Iran (to name a few), is not so much enforced by datacenters, wiretaps and informants but by searches of TV stations by police, days in a holding cell and the warrant officer's truncheon. The technology, of course, plays an increasingly vital role, not least because it makes it so much easier to prepare a mound of "evidence" to the prosecution's satisfaction. As Sultan Al Qassemi notes, governments and their supporters are becoming more social media savvy too.
Entries in The Arabist (4)
What we saw today — so far at least — is that even amidst public uncertainty about the future, split public opinion on Tahrir and SCAF, and organizational chaos, the Egyptian people are eager to participate in the democratic process that may have real meaning for the first time in their lives. They are sharing in the fruits of the revolution, with pragmatism and hope, and testing whether the change is real. I don't see the high turnout (or what we think is a high turnout as we await official data) as a sign of support for SCAF. It's a sign of support for the democratic process and hope for its improvement.
That is a testimony of the Egyptian people's seriousness. But it does not change the fact that these elections were prepared with staggering, perhaps even malicious, incompetence and on that basis alone should not have been held, and that the transition blueprint in general is a bad one.
1820 GMT: There are reports that port workers in Suez have stopped a ship with seven tons of tear gas among its cargo. There are fewer details on where the product has been manufactured, but reports indicate it was sent from the US, the reports say. So far, only Ahram has the story.
There have been claims that hundreds of tons of tear gas have arrived in Egypt on ships in the past few weeks, but none have been fully verified.
1900 GMT: As voting ends in Egypt, reports indicate that Tahrir Square is slowly turning into a tent city again. So far, there are virtually no reports of serious violence during the first day of an election process that will not end until next year. Meanwhile, former Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa called the elections "the beginning of a new era in Egypt".
Libya Snapshot: An Anecdote about Khamis Qaddafi, the Arab Spring, and 3 Cold-Blooded Killings (El Amrani)
Saeed, because he had known Qadhafi back in the days of the Free Officers, broached the topic of the Arab uprisings and the trouble brewing in Benghazi. He began to give his opinion that, the regional environment being what it is, the regime should be cautious about repressing what were still relatively minor protests in Benghazi. Instead, he argued, it should engage the protestors and be cautious about the potential for the movement to get much bigger, as it did in Tunisia and Egypt so recently.
This enraged Khamis. He stood up and shouted at Saeed, accusing him of being a traitor and a weakling, and said his father would never have to give in to the vermin in Benghazi. Saeed respectfully stated he was just giving his advice, in light of what was happening elsewhere in the Arab world — just being cautious. But this only further incensed Khamis (who may have been on some kind of drugs), and the argument kept escalating.
Finally, Khamis lost it. He pulled out his sidearm and shot Saeed, killing him instantly. Saeed's son jumped towards his father, and the son's wife wailed. Khamis turned out and emptied his gun into them, killing them both.