Elections update: Social network sites compete with newspapers over election coverage

Taking advantage of the crackdown imposed on parliamentary election coverage for the mass media, social networking websites are posting poll news, photos, and videos from cities throughout Egypt.

Meanwhile, Muslim Brotherhood members claim their websites were hacked, blocking viewers from access.

International and local rights organizations accused the Egyptian government of imposing excessive restrictions on traditional media. It also prevented international observers from monitoring the process. Moreover, some journalists are opting to not go to polling stations because of reports of thuggery and violence.

Several reporters in different districts were denied access to the stations, despite possessing press syndicate cards.

Bahey Eddin Hassan, general director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, accused the government of denying journalists' photography permits.

“This elections is taking place in the darkness,” Hassan said.

Many newspapers and websites created special pages to post breaking news on elections. Parties taking part in elections activated their websites for the same reason.

Writers on the social networking website Twitter also posted election-related content, including news related to Minister of Petroleum, Sameh Fahmy, who allegedly used the ministry’s buses to transfer civil servants to polling stations in his district in Nasser City, west of Cairo.

On Facebook, some users posted photos of ballots, saying they had been distributed hours before the poll opened.

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