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Al Jazeera Talk blogger responsible for Facebook page that took down Mubarak

Hot Topics Not vetted story Vetted story Perugia, Italy - 16 April 2011

Ahmed Ashour, Managing Director of Al Jazeera Talk, revealed a shocking secret at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy this Saturday.

Ashour informed the crowd of Journalists and Journalism students that it was one of Al Jazeera Talk's bloggers, a member of the Egyptian army called Abdel Rahman [Mansour], that created and managed the Facebook page that was central to the revolution by inciting anti-Mubarak protests that eventually led to the end of his leadership. So far, Google engineer Wael Ghonim was the only man credited with administrating that Facebook page.

Philip Trippenbach, Editor-in-Chief of Citizenside, can be heard questioning Ashour and asking for confirmation on this incredibly significant detail.

Full interview transcript is below. Only part of the interview was captured by our International Coordinator (who promises to pull his phone out sooner next time and start rolling tape!)
 
Citizenside:
Just to confirm something you were saying before, you're saying it was the guys in your team that started the Facebook groups?
 
Ashour:
Yeah, he's  Abdel Rahman [Mansour].
 
Citizenside:
So it wasn't you?
 
Ashour:
No. Not me. He's our correspondant, from Egypt.
 
Citizenside:
But he was part of Al Jazeera Talk?
 
Ashour:
Yeah.
 
Citizenside:
So, one of your journalists.
 
Ashour:
Yeah. He started [after the death of] Khaled Said, you know (video starts here) the guy who [was] killed by police in Egypt. He started the group, but he was in the army, and his friends cannot see that. For that we brought in Wael Ghonim on the head, and making Wael Ghonim as a star. But Wael Ghonim, now, [is] talking about that, and Al Ahram journal, [is] talking about Abdel Rahman [Mansour]. He is the creator of the group and he is the thinker of the group.
 
Question from an Italian in the crowd:
Is he a journalist or a blogger?
 
Ashour:
He's a blogger.
 
Citizenside:
But an Al Jazeera blogger?
 
Ashour:
Not Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera Talk
 
Citizenside:
Well, OK. So, part of your team.
 
Ashour:
Yeah, yeah. Part of our team
 
Citizenside:
But you're part of Al Jazeera?
 
Ashour:
No. We are separate. We have a deal with Al Jazeera where we're using their logo, and they're supporting us and giving our correspondents training. That's all.
We didn't take any money from anyone. For that we are free. We don't need to take any money from anyone. How we built ourself it's not expensive.
 
Citizenside:
OK, because that was unclear.
 
Ashour:
Yeah, it's a little strange. But for that [association with Al Jazeera] we are blogging many Arab regions, we have blogged in Iran, Saudi Arabia, in Tunisia before. But now it's OK after Ben Ali going out.
 

You can also have a look a this video on YouTube where the sound is slightly better.

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