Commenting in the Online Arab Public Sphere: Debating the Swiss Minaret Ban and the “Ground Zero Mosque” Online

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Abstract

This article focuses on the emerging online Arab public sphere that the web has enabled. It explores how the “local” interacts with the “global,” critically examining their implications on global politics. Specifically looking at online readers' comments about the Swiss minaret ban the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” how does the Arab online public sphere respond to and frame these issues? What implications do these reader frames portend locally and globally? The study analyzes online comments and responses that readers of Al Arabiya.net and Al Jazeera.net posted on related news articles. The article concludes that the new online public sphere does make it possible for Arab citizens to circumvent and challenge traditional authoritarian controls.

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