Project Freedom: Social Media's Role in the Release of Tarek Shalaby from Military PrisonPresentation Transcript
Project Freedom: Getting Tarek Shalaby out of Military Prison using Social Media as a catalyst
Presentation Agenda The Back Story:
Who the hell is Tarek Shalaby?
Why the hell was he in Jail?
The Campaign to get Shalaby out of Prison:
The Back Story
Who the hell is Tarek Shalaby?
- Tarek Shalaby is a Political Activist / Citizen Journalist whoparticipated in the 18 day sit in that led to thetoppling of Egyptian Dictator Hosni Mubarak- In his spare time he is CreativeDirector / Partner @planet360- He often speaks out about issues related to theIsraeli occupation of Palestine- He is serious, passionate and dedicatedto helping liberate Egypt
Why the hell was he in Military Prison?
- Shortly after the toppling of Dictator Hosni MubarakPalestine was slated to undertake its “3rd “Intifada”- Thousands of Egyptians had planned to mark the occasion and show their support by heading out to the Egyptian – Palestinian borders as a show of support and solidarity- Buses were rented to drive everyone out to the borders and a meeting point; Tahrir square was chosen- However the Military Rulers of the “New Egypt” which is still very much like “Old Egypt” had other plans……
They banned all private and public transportation from heading to the borders
And actually blocked all the roads heading towards Sinai
Several people attempted to go anyway….
Including Tarek Shalaby
And wound up…
For those a bit more practical; including myself
We organized a demonstration in front of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo
Shalaby fed up with the army and his trip to the middle of nowhere
Arrived at the demonstration as the demonstration was decreasing in numbers
And the Israeli, sorry Egyptian Army was increasing
At 4am on that fateful night I received the following text message from a mutual friend….
“I can’t reach Shalaby and looking at his tweets I think he’s been arrested”
I got up in a state of panic and looked at his twitter timeline clearly describing an ambush by the army and his subsequent arrest
“I can’t reach Shalaby and looking at his tweets I think he’s been arrested” As well as watched a video he took and uploaded from his cellphone of his arrest
And started a little campaign….
Step One – Get All the Details I contacted an eye-witness and got the exact story and then cross-checked it with his twitter timeline
Step Two – Spread the Info I then wrote up a quick blog post detailing everything that happened and tweeted out the link as well as giving out my cell phone number inviting anyone with information to contact me
Blog Post Snapshot: 4,000 Hits / One Day
Step Two – Spread the Info As we visited military prison and pressed the army for more information I continued tweeting all vital information received to keep people in the loop
Step Two – Spread the Info Furthermore many media outlets including Huffington Post, Al Jazeera & NY Times viewed the blog post and started spreading the story to a wider audience than I could ever reach on my own
Step Three – Keep the Pressure Along with several close friends we then started a Facebook page calling for the immediate release of Tarek Shalaby and started a hashtag #FreeShalaby
Step Three – Keep the Pressure We called for a demonstration which was posted on the facebook page as well as in many blogs (including mine)stating the specific rules of the demonstration & the inviting all Egyptians as well as members of the press
My blog post giving specific details and instructions as related to the demonstration
The demonstration filled the square and tens of media outlets covered the protest
Step Four – Tie into a Wider Cause In Parallel with Step Three we actually tied in the cause of getting Tarek Shalaby out of jail; which may be relevant to those that know him to a greater concern of Egyptians; Military trials for civilians which led to tremendous support and interest from a wide base of Egyptians
Step Five – Breakthrough We finally started getting concrete information on Shalaby’s trial date and after continued pressing Shalaby along with over 100 prisoners were set free
In 4 Days…..
Takeaways - Speed Getting the information out there in a short period of time is essential; the news cycle; particularly in Egypt is rapid and yesterday’s news is… yesterday’s news
Takeaways - Persistence Continual pushing of updates and information with regards to the cause is essential to keep people interested and in the loop; Social Media (particularly twitter) is vital
Takeaways – Attention Span Working really hard in terms of mobilizing people with regards to the cause quickly is essential because if this isn’t achieved quickly people will move onto something else
Takeaways – Social Media the Mobilizer In our case Social Media was the catalyst in terms of getting the information out there however without constant on the ground pressure nothing is achieved