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WeGov

In Armenia & Georgia, Data Sites Meant to Bring Transparency to Gov't Face Uphill Battles

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, May 7 2014

Young Georgians learn how to file a freedom of information request in the video below

The website OpenData.ge launched at the end of February as a place to store, organize and display freedom of information requests. It is a collaborative effort of four Georgian NGOs with assistance from the international NGO Huridocs, which works with organizations around the globe to harness the power of information to advance human rights. Georgia, however, has the advantage of relative government cooperation. In neighboring Armenia an organization of journalists launched PublicData.am with help from Huridocs in 2011 but have since struggled both against an unresponsive government and an indifferent media.

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WeGov

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, April 22 2014

Imagine if you could be unmasked on the Internet at any moment. (Flickr/Fibonacci Blue)

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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WeGov

From Sochi to Yerevan: Crowdfunding in the Caucasus

BY Onnik James Krikorian | Wednesday, February 12 2014

The Sayat Nova Project, a Kickstarter-funded study of the minority culture of the South Caucasus (© Onnik James Krikorian)

In July 2007, when the venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics was announced, writer-filmmaker Arnold van Bruggen and photographer Rob Hornstra embarked on an ambitious project to shine a light on the then little known Black Sea resort town of Sochi, in what was to become The Sochi Project. Without the help of crowdfunding, the project and the freedom through which filmmakers could create, would not have been possible. In fact, crowdfunding for civic-oriented projects is growing ever more popular in the Caucasus, especially as press freedom stagnates and foreign aid decreases. Read More

WeGov

A Technological Spring in the South Caucasus

BY Onnik Krikorian | Wednesday, April 17 2013

Elva co-founder Jonne Catshoek (credit: Onnik Krikorian)

Riven by ethnic conflict and destabilized by geopolitics, the year ahead might prove to be a tumultuous one in the three South Caucasus countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Armenia held its presidential election in February but is still experiencing ongoing protests. Now eyes are already starting to focus on its two neighbors, which will hold their elections in the autumn. In 2013, with Internet penetration continuing to increase, new tools are playing a significant role in mobilizing citizens and in monitoring potential outbreaks of violence. Read More

WeGov

Armenia's Capital City Launches Interactive Municipal Website

BY Onnik Krikorian | Friday, November 9 2012

Screenshot from iYerevan.am

Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia, just launched a website with interactive features that allow citizens to report issues online and communicate directly with the municipality. Funded by the UNDP, the site is meant to increase government transparency. But with Internet penetration relatively low in Armenia, is the project more hype than help? Read More

How You Get Nicknamed "Mubarak": Woman Out Scavenging for Copper Takes All of Armenia Offline

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, April 7 2011

From the quickly-filling "Internet Fragility" file comes a BBC report that a complete Internet outage that hit Armenia in late March was traced to a Georgian woman who was hunting for copper: The cables, owned ... Read More