Despite the Internet blackout in Egypt, UCLA doctoral student John Scott-Railton has been making sure the protestors’ voices are heard. He is the founder of @Jan25Voices, a Twitter feed Scott-Railton describes as a “conduit” for telling the outside world what’s happening on the ground in Egypt.
This past Friday the 27-year-old Scott-Railton, who’s visited Egypt several times, began calling up friends there with landlines — cell phone service has since been restored.
“We are using phones and other means to speak with Egyptians behind the blocked internet, tweeting their words in real time,” he writes on @Jan25Voices.
The Twitter feed now not only includes real-time news updates, but audio recordings of those phone calls.
One of the first calls he made was to a woman who took the phone to the window so Scott-Railton could hear the “wall of sound” coming from the people on the street.
“It was an eclectic feeling and why I’m still doing this,” he told KPCC’s Kari Moran on Tuesday.
Scott-Railton’s been thrust into the role of de facto journalist — several big news organizations now follow his Twitter feed — but he calls what he’s doing a “moral statement and moral commitment,” which is why he’s not focusing on his PhD work at the moment, he adds.
And the work he’s doing, he notes, has attracted several Egyptian ex-patriots, who’ve reached out to help him.