Wael Abbas, an Egyptian, is the first blogger ever to win the Knight International Journalism Award. With 30,000 hits a day, Misr Digital is one of those powerful alternative voices that can make a difference, and goads the country's mainstream media and public to follow up.
“It is not the best time for the media and the blogging community,” he said, since the regime is cracking down and trying to tarnish the bloggers' reputations by accusing them of treason and acting on behalf of those outside Egypt.
In February, 22-year-old blogger and student Abdel Karim Nabil Suleiman was sentenced to four years in prison because Egyptian authorities claimed his posts insulted Islam and President Hosni Mubarak.
Egytian blogger behinde bars
However, Abbas said Egypt's bloggers have built up credibility with the public because they have broken stories the mainstream media would not publish, often using video and photographs submitted by the public to back up their reports.
He said Egyptian citizens, often using cell phone cameras and other hand-held devices, tend to give the bloggers their material exclusively since they know it is less likely to be censored.
ICFJ also awarded Burma's May Thingyan Hein with the Knight Award, paying tribute to her perseverance with the country's media censors that led to the dissemination of information on avian flu and HIV/AIDS to the Burmese public.
The Knight Award, given annually, recognizes individuals who have raised media excellence standards in their countries.