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The Egyptian Twittersphere, 18 Months Into the Revolution

BY Lisa Goldman | Saturday, August 25 2012

Cairo demonstrator (photo: Mosa'ab Elshamy)

In January 25 they were the face of the Egyptian revolution. Young, tech savvy, fluent in English, Cairo-based activists tweeted constant updates from the streets of the Egyptian capital. Their photos, videos and live reporting catapulted many of them to celebrity, especially after Hosni Mubarak resigned. Where are they today? Read More


YouTube Now Lets You Blur Faces in Videos: What This Means for Safety-Minded Activists

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, July 18 2012

Today YouTube is rolling out a new feature that allows users to obscure faces that appear within videos before posting them.

"Whether you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your 8-year-old’s basketball game without broadcasting the children’s faces to the world, our face blurring technology is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube," YouTube policy associate Amanda Conway wrote in a blog post.

One expert in video in activism calls this "a step in the right direction," but warns that the most important tool for videographers is an understanding of when and why to use this kind of feature.

Read More


How the New York Times Uses Citizen Media to Watch "Syria's War"

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, July 16 2012

Source: YouTube via

Forced to watch ongoing violence and unrest in Syria from afar, the New York Times launched "Watching Syria's War," an interactive page that presents, parses and explains videos coming out of the country from a growing group of activists and everyday citizens. In an edited interview with Lisa Goldman, page editor J David Goodman explains how the project works, from the way the Times breaks down what is or isn't credible for its visitors to what the entire endeavor might say about the future of conflict reporting. Read More

As Protests in Sudan Spread, Reports of Teargas and Arrests On Twitter First

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, July 9 2012

Despite the growing momentum of the protest movement, the violent response of security forces, arrests of journalists and activists and media censorship, the Sudanese uprising has so far failed to capture the world's attention. Instead, it is largely covered by young Sudanese who tweet and blog in Arabic and English, using the hashtag #sudanrevolts. Read More

UNHRC Backs Freedom of Expression on the Internet

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, July 5 2012

Reuters reports that "...the U.N. Human Rights Council's 47 members states agreed on Thursday that this right should be protected by all states and access to the Internet should also be guaranteed." Both Cuba and China supported the resolution, though internet access is limited by the governments of both countries. US Ambassador Eileen Donohoe called the resolution "momentous," adding: Read More

Why Open Government Data Would Not Be a Good Idea for Yemen

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, July 5 2012

In an insightful and counter-intuitive argument, Global Integrity's Nathaniel Heller responds to Yemeni journalist Walid Al-Saqaf's article in the Guardian, in which he calls for open government data in his country. While Heller agrees that open government data is desirable in principle, he explains why the unique set of circumstances in Yemen make open data "incredibly tricky and laden with difficult trade-offs in a post-conflict, low-income context." Read More

Activists Are Hoping to Mobilize Sudanese Diaspora With Online "Elbow-Licking Friday"

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, June 29 2012

A Sudanese expatriate in Sweden supporting protesters. Photo: @midanfini

Popular protests against Sudan's authoritarian regime are now in their second week, with demonstrations that began in Khartoum spreading across the country. Sudan Change Now 2012 is mapping the demonstrations here. Read More


Reporter Detained in Sudan After Posting YouTube Video of Khartoum Protests

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, June 22 2012

Protesters at an anti-government protest in Khartoum, Sudan

For the sixth day in a row, Khartoum university students were out protesting massive increases in the price of meals and transportation that stem from new government austerity measures. Reporters and activists on the ground in Sudan say the size of the protests are clearly worrying the government of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir — and government forces are cracking down, attempting to limit people's ability to publish video and photos from a political moment that some are debating whether or not to call the arrival of the Arab Spring in Sudan. Efforts to capture images of the unrest, they say, are being hampered by government forces, including the brief detention of one reporter who posted video to YouTube. Read More


In Cairo, #Jan25 Activists Sidelined as Muslim Brotherhood Marches On

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, June 20 2012

A voters' nullified ballot with the English/Arabic comment: "No offense, but the truth hurts."

Thousands of Egyptians thronged Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Tuesday night to protest a judicial decision that hands sweeping powers to the ruling military junta, in a move many see as a consolidation of the military’s power. The Revolutionary Socialist Youth and the April 6 movement, both composed of liberal and leftist anti-Mubarak activists, called for a protest in Tahrir Square. And so did the Muslim Brotherhood. All issued their calls via their Facebook pages. But according to many observations tweeted by people on the scene, the crowd at Tahrir was dominated by Muslim Brotherhood supporters who chanted in support of their candidate, Mohamed Morsi. Read More

[OP-ED] Peter Fein at #PDF12: 'Democracy Is Obsolete'

BY Peter Fein | Tuesday, June 12 2012

Peter Fein. Photo: Esty Stein / PDM

Peter Fein is an agent of Telecomix, which has been described as tech support for the Arab Spring. He gave a talk Tuesday at Personal Democracy Forum in New York. These are his remarks as prepared for delivery, which we are publishing as an op-ed. Read More