There are 50 bloggers here with the G20Voice group – most seem to be with NGOs or non-profits but a few are independent bloggers. I spoke to two – a Saudi blogger Ahmed al-Omran.
Ahmed blogs at Saudi-jeans on politics and human rights issues in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. We spoke about the recent arrest of Saudi blogger Fouad al-Farham who was detained for 4 months before being released without charge. There was no reason given for his arrest but Ahmed believes it was because of one post on political prisoners. Although Saudi Arabia has changed considerably over the past 5 years with an increasing independent and relatively free media there are still some topics such as political prisoners and the royal family which are taboo.
Jotman is also a political and human rights blog which covers Thailand and Burma (for security reasons the blogger is anonymous). It was started in 2005 during the Coup d’ etat in Thailand with the aim of documenting live events as they are happening. Later he started another blog called “There Live” which was to promote the work of citizen journalists and to encourage them to report live events from their local communities.
Sunball Hussain is here as a youth volunteer with the Dept of International Development as part of a new initiative to engage with young people. She is one of 9 youth reporters recruited to give a youth perspective on the G20 and generally part of the consultation process. She is really excited about being here and has learned a great deal from other bloggers especially the role of tax havens in capital flight from developing countries.