Saturday, November 12, 2011

Zabatak - Caught you!

Zabatak - Caught you!

Mostafa Raafat from Zabatak, the anti-crime initiave, gave us a few moments for an interview in the coffeebreak on Saturday’s workshop. Zabatak was started in February 2011, just few days after the Egyptian revolution. The background for Zabatak lies in the corrupted environment in Egypt that resulted from the revolution. The police had disappeared, it was every man for themselves. There was a need for exchanging information, so Zabatak started to collect reports from anyone in order to push authorities to take action.

According to Mostafa Raafat, the project has started very well. People have found Zabatak through Facebook where an introduction video was posted. Mr. Raafat says that there have of course been inappropriate posts and crime reports, but that has not been a problem. Any false report can be easily detected, because they usually lack information such as evidence, description of the situation and the sender’s details. All the reports are being moderated in advance.

Mr. Raafat thinks that Zabatak could easily be applied in other countries, as well. The categories can be changed according to cultural features. The platform called Ushahidi, that is used in Zabatak, is the same that is also used in Harassmap. Mr. Raafat believes that some kind of advertisement co-operation could be possible between Harassmap and Zabatak.

In the future, most likely by the end of 2012, Zabatak will expand to Libya, Syria and Tunisia. Mr. Raafat tells that Zabatak has gotten positive feedback and support from the private sector. The government is rather corrupted, but it has some good institutes as well. After the revolution, probably partly thanks to Zabatak, people in Egypt have a better feel of security and safety. Zabatak has generated transparent statistics on corruption and different crimes. It truly has made the world a safer place to live in.

-Tia Tuovinen & Vesa Rantanen
Mostafa Raafat, in the left, with his colleagues Abbas Ibrahim and Ali Elhefnawy


  1. Sorry to say but I still feel that services like zapatak hardly make countries like Eqypt safer place since internet users are "quite" low in numbers. But still these services give some pressure to govermental institutes for sure. Good article.

  2. Internet users in Egypt are estimated around 24M. 30% of total Egypt population.