About a month ago, I heard of a law for blogging and online publishing. I chose to ignore it like I ignore most things that sound like rumors.
This morning, I noticed blogger Lou K‘s “Lawfully Blogging…?”, and I decided that I would read later. Next thing I know, I see a Facebook note by blogger Asmaa M, with the title “Paranoia and Online Publishing Laws.” (on her blog) Put ‘paranoia’ in a title, and you have my attention. The Arabic document is actually downloadable here. I took the time to read it and the analysis on Saudi Jeans, where the law’s articles are translated to English. Asmaa asked bloggers about their concerns and what they’re planning to do. This is my response:
I never liked or supported laws that took away basic human rights. The right to drive, the right to wear anything I liked, and the list goes on. But I’ve learned to live with that, as much as it frustrates me and any woman with common sense. Make us wear abayas with polka dots for all I care, but DO NOT take away our freedom of expression.
One of the articles states that only 20+ year old Saudi bloggers with a high school degree and above can register their blogs. As an expat, I find that very offensive. Whoever thought that things couldn’t possibly get worse for us expats… Think again.
To conclude, I must thank the Ministry for Culture and Information for confirming that our opinions and personal experiences as expats mean nothing to them. You’ve really made me appreciate Egypt more, where cultural diversity is most appreciated, and where so many cultural centers put an effort into introducing people to their country’s culture.
I will keep hippie-ly blogging for those who really do care about art and culture!