Egyptians tweet, film and message to monitor poll

Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:41am EST
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By Dina Zayed

CAIRO (Reuters) - Standing in long queues as Egyptians wait to cast their vote, many are tweeting, filming, and relaying their every observation, bringing a new dimension to election monitoring in the Arab world's most populous nation.

Egypt's first parliamentary vote since Hosni Mubarak was ousted began on Monday and the first round of voting is being held over two days watched by judges, international monitors and local observers.

Using twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to offer live broadcasts of everything they come across, voters -- many of whom are heading to the polls for the first time -- are also providing detailed descriptions of their experiences.

"In the past I used to go down myself to monitor the elections, now everyone in the country is doing it. Isn't this something to be happy about?," Bothaina Kamel, Egypt's first female presidential candidate and activist, said on twitter.

Many activists are networking with official monitoring groups, distributing numbers for rights groups and some have even set up a twitter hashtag "sharek" or participate.

"Voters, be ready with your mobile phone cameras to capture any violations," voter Mourad Ghareeb wrote on twitter.

Keeping with the trend, widely-read newspapers like Masry al Youm and Shorouk have launched online portals to exclusively cover the elections and offer their readers a chance to upload videos and written reports of violations they see.

They report violations ranging from polls not opening on time to unstamped ballots to parties illegally campaigning outside polling stations.   Continued...

<p>People stand in line outside a polling station as they wait to cast their votes during parliamentary elections in Cairo November 28, 2011. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh</p>