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While the Egyptian government's alleged response to the unrest appears to be shutting down or limiting access to social networking sites, mobile phones and the Internet across the country, users are reportedly finding other alternatives to stay connected.

Social media has been dubbed the new tool for revolutionaries.

The seeds were sown in 2009 when Twitter was credited with the protests following the Iranian elections.

Debate followed the Tunisian uprising that saw the ousting of Zine el-Abidin Ben Ali earlier this year as to whether it was the first Twitter revolution.
 
And now in Egypt, the role of social media in mobilising the people has once again come into focus.

But with many of the protesters on the ground having little or no access to the internet in Egypt, can social media really be credited with what is happening across the Middle East?

Joining us to discuss these issues are: Courtney Radsch, a senior programme officer managing the Global Freedom of Expression campaign for Freedom House; Mohammad al-Abdallah, the programme officer at the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ); Jillian York, the project coordinator at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University; and Omar Offendum, an Arab-American hip-hop artist.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Wednesday, February 9, 2011.

Source: Al Jazeera