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Trails on the electronic frontier

October 10, 2011

The San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation is gathering nominations for its Twentieth Annual Pioneer Awards ‘to recognize leaders on the electronic frontier who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of information technology.’ The deadline to submit a nomination is 17 October, 2011.

I am not one for hagiographies but I believe that courageous and path-breaking work (especially in volatile political climates and their associative risk’s to one’s individual liberty) should be recognized.

In that vein, I have nominated journalist, blogger, photographer, and political activist Hossam el-Hamalawy who has relentlessly covered pressing issues in Egypt since his blog‘s inception. An independent and powerful voice for workers’ rights, journalists’ rights, and online press freedom, he was subjected to torture by the Mubarak state security service in 2000, yet continued close (often risky) coverage of widespread demands until and since the 25 January revolt. I still maintain that his blog’s focus on the 2008 Ghazl Mahallah textile workers strike single-handedly brought it to the attention of the world, and the strike was credited as being a major factor in the Egyptian revolution. His focus on the capture and distribution of the visual as singularly important in disseminating online news about political and social events has been influential (his photography can be viewed here). He is disinclined to heavily divulge it himself but Hossam was a 2011 winner of the Anna Politkovskaja journalism prize.

More on Hossam’s work in this extensive Jadaliyya overview called ‘Portrait of a Revolutionary.’

Anyone can nominate a potential Pioneer Award recipient (and even multiple ones) by going here.

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