Younis, or @NoraYounis, was a keen Twitter user in the days before long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak was forced from power by crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during March 2011.
“We use social media to find out how many have been killed,” blogger Younis then wrote as North Africa’s Arab revolution swept through Cairo six months ago.
“Social media were a part of ordinary Egyptians’ lives and it was something new,” Younis said, before downplaying digital media’s role in the Arab socio-political upheaval of this year. She said social media simply increased the pace of revolt for people already on the verge of revolution.
According to a Christian Science Monitor story from 2009, Younis took pictures of Egyptian police as they cornered then beat and sexually taunted dozens of women. She posted the pictures online.
The CSM wrote in 2009 that Younis was clubbed in the head and back for being among the women with a camera. She reported the incident to police and was mocked, an event she said allied her with the rebelling crowds.
Her actions won her a peace prize from the little-known Human Rights First organization in New York.
Younis was lauded earlier this month at an event in New York on the role of social media in the fight for human rights. The event was sponsored by the Norwegian government on the opening day of the UN General Assembly.