Egyptian youth talk to President Morsi via Twitter
Ayat Al-Tawy, Thursday 11 Apr 2013
Egyptian youth engage with President Morsi on Wednesday in a Q&A Twitter session as part of series of daily sessions to respond to citizens' concerns

Hundreds of users of the social-networking site, Twitter, engaged in a Q&A session with President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday evening.

The presidency announced on Wednesday that the Egyptian president will host daily sessions on Twitter from 9pm to 9:30pm (local time) to answer questions from Egypt's youth.

The presidential spokesman Ihab Fahmi said that the president would personally answer the questions.

Some of the users put serious questions, while other tweets to the president, whose official account is @MuhammadMorsi, poured scorn on his answers.

Comments and tweets varied with supporting and others censuring the president.

One of the tweets asked: "Why are you insistent to appoint the Brotherhood and their sympathisers to top state positions while this is not the case in democratic states?" The President replied "if you know particularly an incident of somebody appointed unjustly, contact me personally and I promise I will investigate and improve."

Among comments that flew on the president's reply, was one suggesting 'his son', another suggesting 'the public prosecutor', and another sarcastically saying "some person working in the Etehadiya [presidential] palace, named Morsi."

President Morsi's Twitter account – which now has 1.3 million followers – drew 70,000 new followers in the few hours after announcing plans to hold the daily sessions on the social-networking platform.

In response to a tweet asking the president to pay greater attention to slums, he said "people who live in slums are my family," asserting that the government has developed 68 slums this year "and more to come."

President Moris's initiative to request questions from youth comes in a bid to placate heightening concerns about his administration following a crackdown on journalists and recent sectarian flare-up in the country.

Asked about recurrent power cuts across the country, President Morsi said that there is "a ministerial group working day and night to avert recurring power cuts in summer."

On inflation and the continuing devaluation of the Egyptian pound against the dollar, Morsi said there is an economic plan to stabilise the value of the dollar, yet asserted "the matter needs some patience and much work."

The President's move to connect with citizens also followed his unexpected decision on the same day to cancel all presidential investigations against journalists that have drawn mounting fears over free expression.

President Mohamed Morsi is not the first political leader to use social media to communicate directly with the people. Social media platforms– including YouTube and social networking sites – played a major role in the electoral campaign of the second term of US President Barack Obama.

Obama's Twitter account, which has more than 29 million followers, is amongst the world's most followed.