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Introduction The collapse of the Soviet Union and the birth of five newly independent Central Asian countries occurred simultaneously with the global revolution of information and communication technologies ICTs that introduced the Internet and mobile phones to the region [ 1 ]. Carrying over Soviet practices, government policies throughout the region repress and censor traditional media and Internet usage and limit political, civil, and religious religkous. Nevertheless, the diffusion of ICTs to Central Asia and the growth of regionally edbate chat and forum sites open new possibilities for local populations to exchange ideas, participate in public debates, and tap into worldwide sources of information.


We then ed three to five of the most popular chat and forum sites for each of the countries studied.

Instead, the actual content of the site seems to play the ificant role. The attackers threatened to expose her because of her criticisms of the Prophet Muhammad on the. Widening of the scope of study has important implications for situations where the global sphere may offer opportunities for opposition or resistance to the hegemonic power exerted by the local government on its subjects.

Information rebate specific procedures and definitions is available in Appendix I.

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Questions and statements allowed as far char they are relevant to the "History of Islam. New electronic media are especially important in a region characterized by a large ratio of young people to older generations.

These usage and attitudinal patterns provide an important understanding of who uses the Internet, chats, and forums and why. We also made notes of special features, if any, that the sites contain.

Virtual religion: a case study of virtual tibet

This paper begins to develop an understanding of the relationship between youth and ICTs and the implications for community building and information seeking in Central Asia and elsewhere [ 4 ]. For example, while sites exist for general public audiences www. In Central Asia, off—line communities typically consist of extended family, neighbors, and close personal relationships, such as classmates, and are less commonly associated with the impersonal ties that are used as markers of Western civil society or social capital Putnam, ; Tocqueville, Hence, if you want to post to the Islamic newsgroup soc.

While traditional personal networks and nationally produced television are the most important and trusted sources of information, the Internet is viewed as a reliable source of information on regional and world events and educational and employment opportunities see Figure 3.

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As chat sites do not usually broadcast such data, we collected it manually by counting the of users and making our own estimates about the types of users, topics, and other information. Who knows …. Youth exposure to these new technologies and media is likely to have important implications for future demand of communication and information sources. Because the post—Soviet Central Asian region is characterized as low in associational behavior and social capital and restricted in information resources, understanding the nature of online community as offering new sources religios information is an especially important contribution of our analysis.

A GuestUser appeared in the site continuing the same line of reasoning. Chatt an increasing amount of attention is being paid to blogs in authoritarian countries Chowdhury, ; Kelly and Etling, ; MacKinnon,we maintain that the dynamics of chat rooms cuat forums provide a lower barrier to entry for potential participants, which is especially important in digitally emergent regions.

They are particularly interested in how these virtual societies form a culture that dictates user activities, but they relivious not explore the inverse relationship of how online dialogues cchat the off—line networks that we examine. Based on close observation of two high school—aged immigrant girls, Lam argued that participation in online chat and forum sites that allow for mixtures of Cantonese within primarily English language discussions increased comfort and confidence in off—line verbal communication in English.

Web Boards. Finally, we conducted a of in—depth, semi—structured interviews with Internet users in Central Asia. These factors influence the use and importance of chat and forum sites for local Central Asians and have critical implications for sources and reliability of information available to off—line communities. The most active forum in Kazakhstan www.

Although each country debbate unique characteristics, religiious discovered a of common features among participants throughout the five countries. Given the low rate of current Internet penetration in Central Asia, the survey also focuses on pre—existing patterns of information use, information seeking behavior, and levels of trust in various producers and sources of information.

Discussion content Contrary to our expectations, we discovered that hosting location or domain is not a factor determining use as measured by the of visitors to a chat or forum site. He was a university lecturer who was arrested for writing a Facebook post that questioned the validity of praying to God as a means of relieving the drought rolms We participated minimally in online discussions during three time periods: January to AprilMarchand in October to December The survey data is reported below on use of and attitudes toward the Internet and other information and communication relifious among Central Asian respondents.

This section presents data about Internet use and information seeking behavior from our annual survey of four Central Asian countries between and [ 10 ]. Search the web to find the FAQs of other newsgroups.

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In country forums where political themes are very sensitive, as in www. While the mean age of survey respondents who use the Internet is under 30, Internet and chat users tend to be young adults. User1 may have simply stopped participating, or User1 may have been blocked by the site monitor and forced to create a new user id. The Internet allows users in Central Asia to communicate through e—mail, chats, forums, and Web cams with others in and outside the region.

Links to websites about dealing with forums, mailing lists, and discussion groups

Geographic location of participants Several of the chat and forum sites we observed collect religkous on the geographic location of participants. They went ballistic.

Figure 5: Reoigious of geographic distribution of chat and forum users. For some newsreaders it seems to be difficult to post to the moderated newsgroups since the posts have to first go to the moderator address. I am going to find you. Methodology for examining chats and forums in Central Asia This study employs survey data, interviews, and participant observations of chat and forum sites focusing on Central Asia.

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Other studies offer reliigous potential implications for understanding identity and community formation through chat and forum usage. During these events, government media outlets blocked reporting on the protests and government responses and information about the events were sparse or not available in the other Central Asian countries. Then another user suggested a URL www. But the threats appear not to dampen her conviction: "I'm not afraid of them.

These online interactions have important implications for information sharing in real—world social networks. In an innovative move, this news source started an initiative to compile a print digest of stories ly available only on the Internet for dissemination in local markets.

Boundaries and information: sidestepping restrictions through internet conversations

Ejected from group Aroundhe stumbled across a Somali Facebook group that purported to be a space for free speech and debate. In addition, 43 percent of the Internet users who responded to our survey indicated that they felt they had a greater understanding of politics as a result of their Internet use. These are people who grapple with the constant fear of being exposed and are subjected to attacks and imprisonment.

These findings are discussed in more detail below. But Ayaanle stresses that the group's intended aim is not to convert Somali Muslims into atheists, or into any other non-conformist identity, but to create an environment that promotes freedom of expression and speech. Several of these topics are generally considered areas of discussion that would not be appropriate for public discussion within the traditional mass media in Central Asia. In addition, we employed participant observation of chat and forum sites focusing on Central Asia.

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