Armenians blog their way to 2007 elections

Armenians blog their way to 2007 elections

Thanks to Global Voices I have discovered a significant project called
the Election Blogging Guide. Armenia of course was part of the Soviet
bloc which discouraged corrupt forms of bourgeois democracy such as
blogging.* The elections are schedulesd for May 12, 2007.

You can imagine what power is now available to Armenian citizens who, in
the words of the document’s author, are now equipped with tools that…

"…form an important alternative space for people to talk about
politics. Although traditional media such as television, radio, and the
newspapers are often biased or are afraid to publish certain news, blogs
offer an opportunity for free speech. Through anonymous blogging as
described in the Guide, both bloggers and commentators can even speak
more freely than the traditional media. In addition, bloggers can act as
citizen journalists, reporting news on election irregularities and fraud
which the traditional media might not be doing."

The audience for blogging in Armenia is growing. Internet use has
increased significantly in the past few years. In 2000, only 1.3 percent
of Armenians were internet users. Now approximately 7.5 percent of
Armenians use the internet. In addition, blogging is a great way for the
Armenian Diaspora to keep up with local news. With so many Armenians
living abroad, it is difficult for them to see an Armenian television
broadcast or read an Armenian newspaper.

But, with high internet penetration rates in most of Europe, it is
fairly easy for them to get online. Reading Armenian blogs can help
members of the Diaspora keep in touch with what is going on in Armenia,
and for those written in an international language like English, blogs
can be read by people around the world. For them, your blog could be a
window into Armenian life.

I am very excited about Armenia’s blogging possibilities and wish the
very best of luck to Armenia’s first blogging generation!

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