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Mediastan: A Travelogue of "Comparative Censorship"

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, October 15 2013

Opening credits of Mediastan

Julian Assange's contempt for The Fifth Estate is no secret. In a statement about the Dreamwork's film about WikiLeaks, Assange called it “a geriatric snoozefest that only the US government could love.” As an alternative to that “Hollywood propaganda,” Assange suggests viewers interested in WikiLeaks watch the documentary Mediastan, which is billed as “a WikiLeaks road movie.”

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First POST: Malala, Malia

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 14 2013

The Snowden backlash is getting bigger; Malala tells the Obamas (and Malia) what she thinks of US drone strikes; and mess gets the New York Times' front-page treatment; and much, much more. Read More


After Karzai Speech, Afghans Call Out U.S. Journo's Analysis on Twitter

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, March 14 2013

Hamid Karzai at the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos (image: World Economic Forum/Flickr)

A Daily Beast article that was critical of Afghan President Hamid Karzai earlier this week has sparked social media backlash from Afghanis, who say that the American author glossed over real political conditions in the country for the sake of an inflammatory argument. 

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For Afghan Women, Bright Screens and Uncertain Futures in Mobile Learning Effort

BY Naheed Mustafa | Wednesday, December 12 2012

Literacy program for Afghan women (credit: Aga Khan Foundation/ Sandra Calligaro)

Mobile phones are in the hands of about 15 million Afghans and some 85 percent of the population lives in a part of the country with network coverage. Given high mobile penetration and low literacy levels for women, the Paiwastoon Networking Services recently developed the Ustad Mobil literacy program using $80, 000 in U.S. aid money. But while the project's initiators are no doubt well intentioned, they have not taken into account obstacles resulting from local culture and custom. Read More


Free Phone App Teaches Afghan Women to Read

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, November 15 2012

The Ministry of Education in Afghanistan is rolling out a free phone app that it hopes will raise the literacy level amongst women, reports Currently, only 15 percent of Afghan women can read and write. Read More

Computer Programmers Create Algorithm that Predicts When and Where Violence Will Erupt in Afghanistan

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, July 23 2012

A group of computer programmers has developed an algorithm that they say allows them to predict where and when violence will break out in Afghanistan. The Los Angeles Times reports that the programmers created the algorithm in 2010, based on 77,000 incident reports to create a map that showed all the border hotspots. Then they built on their success by applying the algorithm to Wikileaks data on written reports from 2004-2009. Read More


Can Mobile Payments Reduce Corruption and Help Workers in the Developing World?

BY Lisa Goldman and Nick Judd | Thursday, July 12 2012

Photo: Monty.Metzger / Flickr

Back in May, federal officials revealed a sweeping new "digital government" strategy that included an international flavor: technologists coming to the federal government through a fellowship program would work on projects related to an initiative by USAID, the U.S.'s international development agency, to push for more people in the developing world to get paid by mobile phone instead of in cash. In announcements, government officials framed mobile money as a new and innovative solution to some financial problems for people without access to a bank. But mobile money is also an industry that's old enough to have a broad user base in some parts of the world and a few known problems, some of which a USAID-backed pilot program encountered firsthand. Despite these issues, officials are pushing ahead — so let's dig into how, and why. Read More

Quote of the Day: Palin Calls on Wikileaks to Speak Out Against Itself

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, August 13 2010

Wikileaks staff-whomever's calling the shots there is unconscionably aiding/abetting the enemy;don't contribute to this. Speak out. Do right Read More

Wikileaks' Afghan War Logs: The Crowdscouring Begins

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, July 26 2010

Several months ago, Julian Assange cannily described the paradox on releasing raw data online. "It's counterintuitive," he said to ComputerWorld. "You'd think the bigger and more important the document is, the more ... Read More