Human rights organizations’ use of the Internet as a communication medium in Egypt | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1751-9411
  • E-ISSN: 1751-942X



This study examines how human rights organizations (HROs) use various Internet platforms as a communication tool in Egypt. It attempts to investigate four issues: (1) main themes related to human rights posted on the websites of HROs in Egypt; (2) visual and technical aspects utilized in these websites; (3) websites use of interactive communication facilities with different publics; and (4) perceptions of HRO directors about the Internet as an effective communication tool to reach out to the target publics. The researcher analysed websites of the main 34 human rights organizations in Egypt to explore how they employ these websites as suitable communication tools. A questionnaire was designed to examine how personnel and executives of HROs perceive the value of the Internet.

Findings of the study show that the HROs in Egypt use all available means to reveal violations of human rights, including their Internet sites. These bodies are mainly concerned with issues relating to basic human rights such as rights to be treated equally and not to be violated in custodies and prisons. The HROs use their websites also to present and manifest issues related to people’s rights to express their opinions through assemblies and media. The websites of the HROs applied some visual aspects in their presentations of issues related to human rights and neglected others. The analysed websites are poorly presented in terms of using tables, graphics, audio and video clips. Lack of visual and technical aspects used in the websites may be understood in terms of limited resources available to them. As for using feedback facilities by the websites of HROs, findings indicate that mutual communication and interactivity are far from being applied through the websites. Findings also show that nearly all respondents recognize that the most important usage of the Internet is for e-mails to contact HROs’ members and to provide information to their publics. Building relationships with audiences was among the common uses of the Internet as a communication medium. On the other hand, respondents approached for this research did not perceive categories of interactive communication as common uses of the Internet. They also believed that the key objective of using the Internet is to reinforce concepts of human rights. Participants in the study also perceived that their websites had the potential to provide new advantages to their organizations such as flexibility to avoid state control and censorship that are usually imposed by the government in Egypt. Despite the fact that governments may impose censorship through procedures of licences and regulations or filtering Internet content through control of the servers, they believed that the Internet is still the most free medium in comparison to other traditional mass media.


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