Found this informative Washington Post article from November 2006. Apparently only 10% of people in the Arab world have internet access. Blogging is so new that the Arabic word for blogging, تدوين , was just coined last year.
Though only about 10 percent of people in the Arab world have Internet access, the rate continues to rise dramatically, having multiplied fivefold since 2000, according to Internet World Stats, a Web site that tracks Internet usage and related information.
The number of bloggers in Saudi Arabia has tripled since the beginning of the year, reaching an estimated 2,000.
Young women make up half the bloggers in the kingdom, one of the most traditional countries in the world, where women are forced to dress modestly and are not allowed to drive cars or travel without permission from a male guardian. Lured by the possible anonymity of the medium, Saudi women have produced a string of blogs filled with feminist poetry, steamy romantic episodes and rants against their restricted lives and patriarchal society.
Last month, Abdullah al-Jasir, an official at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Information, described electronic media as “dangerous” and said Arab countries would meet in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in December to find ways to monitor the Internet, according to the Saudi-owned pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper.
This looks like a very positive development.
This month, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Bloggers, founded by Farhan and a group of his friends, will post their charter online and open membership to male and female bloggers. Members will then vote for a president, male or female, and make amendments to the charter by majority vote. Meetings will be held online.