May 11, 2007 21:27 | NewsPundit / WebBlogging

The whole world is watching

Sometime in the last 24 hours, Bangladeshi blogger and journalist Tasneem Khalil was arrested by "the Joint Forces". He's the CNN and Human Rights Watch representative in Bangladesh and had recently been covering extra-judicial killings these Joint Forces have been involved in.


Bangladeshi press and media apparently stood still. The Bangladeshi blogosphere however, erupted. From an email I just received:

While the Bangladeshi press kept mum (probably because of self censorship and the timing of publications) the Bangladeshi blogs broke the news within a couple of hours of the incident. Because of widespread amplifications we could get this heard to media, some US congressmen (through Diaspora bloggers) and pressuring the Bangladesh Government. Emails, blog posts demanding release of Tasneem were flying everywhere. Many Bloggers at a Bangla blogging platform suspended regular postings and declared that they will only write about Tasneem Khalil. A South Asian group Blog Pickled Politics was mobilizing a demonstration outside the Bangladesh embassy in London and an e-petition to UK Government. Some bloggers were knocking media sources like BBC through personal contact, why they were not picking up the story, which they did eventually.

Google Blog search gives 191 results at the moment.

The above email however came to announce that Tasneem had been released. It trumpeted the victory of engaged bloggers against forces of oppression.

A comment left by Jason Paz on the GlobalVoices post on the story put it in a way that nailed part of what we hope to do, right on the head:

It is of the utmost importance that we ordinary bloggers speak out against the injustice done Tasneem Khalil.
Each of us may only have a small readership, but the effect can be worldwide having an impact on Bangladeshi officials.
Oppressors thrive picking off individuals in the darkness of night.
We want them to know the whole world is watching.
We want their kids to confront them over breakfast. "Daddy, did you do this?"