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Title: Social justice in the inIormation age; the case oI social Networks (namely Iacebook) in
creating a saIer spaces where citizens Ieel empowered, relatively Iree, and virtually equal in their
right to challenge injustice.
Author: Karim Kasim,
MA Researcher, The American University in Cairo AUC
Project Manager, Egypt ICT Trust Fund (UNDP/MCIT) - Regional Coordinator,telecentre.org
Egypt`s political scene since the 2005 parliamentary elections has been deeply
concerning. Freedoms in general have been aIIected by the government practices to control any
opposition movement. One oI the key obstructed Ireedoms is the 'Ireedom oI association¨. As
John Rawls has put it; 'Freedoms necessary Ior the liberty and integrity oI the person¨. Forming
political parties, organizing political activities and/or organizing a demonstration have been
harshly challenged by authorities. Average Egyptian citizen must think more than once beIore
engaging in any kind oI political activity. The seriousness oI the risks usually increase as
elections approach. Egyptians, specially younger generations, have developed new ways oI
practicing some oI their rights to associate, thanks to the new media, technologies and social
networks on the internet. Facebook has been key to the new phenomenal use oI technology to
overcome traditional political struggles.
This research project is aiming to assess the eIIectiveness and inIluence oI Iacebook on young
people`s ability to express their political opinions. It is speciIically trying to discover key reason
(s) behind the use oI Iacebook as a platIorm through asking selected people certain questions.
The questions are careIully designed to Iind out the possibilities that Iacebook provides to those
Irequent users that do not exist elsewhere.
SaIety and the reach out that Iacebook secure are Iound to be key to the matter. People in Egypt
use Iacebook (among other tools) because it keeps them relatively saIe and out oI the reach oI
This papei was submitteu foi eW0RLBF0R0N ŶŴŵŵ confeience Page Ŷ
the security authorities. Moreover, the power oI technology to reach out massive numbers oI
people with simple procedures online has been Iascinating to young people. There are active
political groups that were created, maintained and Ilourished totally on the internet using
Iacebook with no physical presence anywhere in the country. Some were created online then
translated into real political groups that have meetings, activities and presence.
The inIormation age has been misunderstood in Egypt and many developing countries. Years
ago, the internet opened the door Ior speculations about its power and that it is changing the Iace
oI the world. It took the internet a decade or more to show Egyptians its real power. Technical
capabilities, awareness, and education have been important Iactors in discovering the real power
oI the internet and its tools. Social networks and Iacebook have been major breakthroughs in the
last Iew years. As Iar as political activism, they provided unprecedented spaces Ior people to
have unique and active virtual presence that would have not been possible in real liIe. It is said
that iI Iacebook was a country it would have been the Iourth in the world in terms oI population
and power. The Iuture will show more oI the Iacebook`s secrete capabilities. One day, it might
bring a government down, and we only hope it will be Ior good reason and according to the