Sunday, April 27, 2008

Saudi blogger held without charge, finally released

Faiza Salek Ambah, of the Washington Post (Foreign Service), has a story on p A14 of the Washington Post, Sunday April 27, “Saudi Activist Blogger Freed After 14 Months in Jail Without Charge,” link here. Fouad af-Farhan was held on Dec. 10 after criticizing political corruption in his blog. He finally was released April 26. He had blogged under his own name, where as most bloggers in Saudi Arabia do not. In the United States, many people (especially the young) like the limelight they get from blogging, but recently some career counselor have been encouraging that speech be anonymous because of intrusive employers worried about online reputation in front of clients. Anonymous speech has always been vigorously defended as a First Amendment right in the US, although sometimes political speech is much more effective when a name and identity is behind it, giving it conviction.

The Saudi government accused Fouad and supporters of encouraging terrorism.

There have been major issues with bloggers being shut down or arrested in other countries, including Egypt and Cuba.

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