Web Tastes Freedom Inside Syria, and It’s Bitter

Earlier this month, a graphic video of teachers beating their young students appeared on Facebook. Although Facebook is officially banned here, the video quickly went viral, with Syrian bloggers stoking public anger until the story was picked up by the pan-Arab media.Finally, the Education Ministry issued a statement saying the teachers had been reassigned to desk jobs. The episode was a rare example of the way Syrians using Facebook and blogs can win a tenuous measure of freedom within the country’s tightly controlled media scene, where any criticism of the government, however oblique, can lead to years in prison.

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