Report on independent bloggers: 'A voice online is of value, whether its owner holds a press pass or not.'

by Margaret Looney
Oct 30, 2018 in Journalism Basics

After receiving several email threats to stop his political reporting, Shreedeep Rayamajhi of Nepal was attacked and beaten by a gang on his way home from work.

Journalists covering the powerful are frequently under threat, but Rayamajhi isn't a professional reporter. He's an information technology professional and operations manager for a travel company, who blogs in his free time.

He's shared his reports about crime, corruption, traffic jams, tourism and politics in his country with citizen journalism platforms such as CNN's iReport and GroundReport.

"As bloggers are increasingly targeted in repressive states and treated with the same impunity as journalists, the line between blogs and news blurs,” writes Christopher Connell in his recent Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) report. “A voice online is of value, whether its owner holds a press pass or not."

Rayamajhi is one of eight bloggers from Saudi Arabia, Cambodia, Ghana, Yemen, Philippines, China, Nepal and Cuba featured in the report "Profiles in blogging: how bloggers around the world practice their craft." The bloggers use the medium to voice their opinions, engage directly with other citizens and provide a day-to-day perspective in countries where repressive regimes keep tight grips on the outflow of information.

Democracy activist Atiaf Alwazir of Yemen, also featured in the report, self-publishes a blog that gives insight into a culture often marginalized by mainstream media.

In 2007, Alwazir created the blog Woman from Yemen as a "public diary and travelogue" while living in Cairo. But Alwazir returned to Yemen in 2011 to cover the revolution with in-depth articles, photos, videos and even poetry.

“I noticed there wasn’t much written about [the revolution] from the Yemeni perspective in English, and so I started blogging and documenting what was happening in the country,” she said. The site offered an authentic point of view of Yemeni life, often misconstrued as generally violent and unruly by Western media, she said.

You can read the full report here.

IJNet Editorial Assistant Margaret Looney writes about the latest media trends, reporting tools and journalism resources.

Image CC-licensed on Flickr via freddy.