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EGYPTIAN COUPLE AWARDED FOR BEST FREE EXPRESSION BLOG

An Egyptian blog that has become a key information source for the country's human rights and democratic reform movement has been given the Special Reporters Without Borders Award in an international "best of blogs" contest.

Manal and Alaa's Bit Bucket (http://www.manalaa.net/) was chosen among 8 nominees for the blog that best promotes freedom of expression at Deutsche Welle's Best of Blogs competition.

Run by a husband and wife team, the blog developed out of the couple's experiences as active participants in the pro-democracy movement.

Free of government censors, the blog acts as an alternative information source on street protests, political rallies, election monitoring, and police brutality. It also provides open source software and free hosting services for other blogs, as well as tips on how to start up a blog.

Manal and Alaa's Bit Bucket was one of three finalists chosen for the award.

The other finalists were Wang Yi's Microphone ((http://zhivago.tianyablog.com), run by a Chinese blogger in Hainan province, and Yahyaoui (http://yahyaoui.blogspot.com), a blog written by former Tunisian judge and leading dissident Mokhtar Yahyaoui.

Yahyoui is one of seven civil society activists who are currently on hunger strike to protest human rights violations in Tunisia, where his blog is censored (see Free Expression Spotlight). Wang Yi's blog is also censored, in China.

The annual Best of Blogs contest is run by Deutsche Welle in partnership with several organisations, including Reporters Without Borders.

For more details, see:

- Best of Blogs: http://www.thebobs.de/thebobs05/bob.php?site=home
- Profile of Manal and Alaa: http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=2215375
- Censorship in Tunisia: http://campaigns.ifex.org/tmg
- Internet Censorship in China: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=10749&Valider=OK
- RSF Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber Dissidents: http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=542

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