Social Media is still in its infancy in Iraq and the fact that the internet penetration is below 3% of the population, isn't helping. However, the first conference for the Iraqi bloggers took place during 8-9 February in the city of Sulaymaniyah, brought a lot of hope. Iraqi Network for Social Media organized this event and more than 70 Iraqi bloggers attended. The event was sponsored by International Media Support (I.M.S) and in collaboration with Alrubeiy Group for Stationery.
Iraqi Blogger & Social Media Activist Hayder Hamzoz informed via email:
The conference aims to enhance communication between Iraqi bloggers and to develop their skills in the field of legal protection and to avoid prosecution, as well as training workshops are included (the art of writing, technical workshops, networking).
It represents a real opportunity to build networks of communication between bloggers at a national level and exchange knowledge, information and experiences, especially since the Digital activism began playing an important role in the movement of events in the world where blogging is one of the most important element of nutrition of the Arab Spring and the disclosure of facts inside communities.
Wamith Al-Kassab wrote in Mideast Youth:
The first conference for Iraqi bloggers started today the 8th of February in the city of Sulaymaniyah with the participation of more than 70 Iraqi bloggers. All the men and women participated from all over Iraq. This conference will be the starting point for a new and improved Iraqi media and citizen journalism. The participants used hope as a logo for their future plans to open more doors for Iraqi people to support freedom of speech and the active participation of Iraqi civil societies.
One of the goals of this conference was to build a community to share experiences, and exchange information on issues like security, safe blogging and blogging ethics. Helle Wahlberg of IMS reports that Kurdish blogger Karwan Gaznay shared with the audience the perils of blogging in own name and explained about anonymous blogging.
Several Arab and Iraqi bloggers had sent a video message that was shared during the lectures. Here is a short clip of the conference uploaded by Ali Arafa.