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Civic Monitoring Group Raises Concerns About Bosnia's First Post-War Census

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, November 20 2013

Popis Monitor on the street with their awarness campaigns (image: Popis Monitor)

A census usually tells a country what it looks like and how it has changed but in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country still simmering with divisions amongst its ethnic groups, it has rekindled tensions over national identity. The 2013 census – the first after a 22-year hiatus – took place last month. While international institutions praised the overdue survey, a requirement for entry into the E.U., and have given Bosnia a satisfactory review of its census procedures, activists from Popis Monitor, a citizen-based monitoring project, claimed that the process was compromised by a failure of the government to inform citizens about the census, particularly on questions of religion and ethnicity, as well as several irregularities during the census collection.

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WeGov

The Balkan Startup: If You Build It, Will They Come?

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, October 21 2013

The list of the 12 local projects that have joined The Balkans Startup Project

The late Douglas Engelbart, an early pioneer of the Internet also known as the guy who invented the computer mouse, used the term "bootstrapping strategy" for his own business as a way to "use what you build to boost your own effectiveness." Today, the Citizens Foundation of Iceland, an organization which provides open-source civic engagement platforms, is "boostrapping e-democracy" with The Balkan Startup Project. Read More

WeGov

In Italy, Online Tool Monitors Aid Money Post-Earthquake

BY Antonella Napolitano | Friday, September 6 2013

The main map on Open Ricostruzione website show the damages in the area and the donations received

On May 20, 2012, I was awakened suddenly at 4 a.m. in my apartment in Milan. It didn't take long for me to find out that most of Northern Italy had experienced the same that night. A 5.9-magnitude earthquake had hit nearby in Emilia-Romagna, the region just below Lombardy, causing severe damages in cities and villages and 27 deaths. While rescue and emergency efforts went relatively smoothly, rebuilding was entirely another matter. In Italy, the construction industry has often been at the center of corruption scandals and one of the most recent ones had started with an earthquake. But with the help of an online platform, those in Emilia-Romagna were determined not to repeat the mistakes of L'Aquila, where aid money allegedly disappeared into the pockets of corrupt politicians. Read More

WeGov

Senegal's “Soft Revolution” Makes Change in Digital Space

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, June 25 2013

Senegal Electoral Map

Senegalese activist and blogger Cheikh Fall explains how Sunu2012, a participatory platform that he developed to monitor the electoral process during Sengal's presidential election in 2012, reveals a growing “soft revolution” among young activists in Senegal. Read More

WeGov

PDF France 2013: “Au Code, Citoyens!”

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, May 15 2013

This year PDF France will take place in Paris on June 13, with the theme "Au Code, Citoyens!" ("To Code, Citizens!") The speakers' lineup includes some of the continent's leaders in the digital revolution. Read More

WeGov

Finnish Parliament Must Vote on Citizens' Petition for Same Sex Marriage Law

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, March 25 2013

Helsinki Cathedral in Midnight Sun (credit: Visit Finland/Flickr)

Over the course of a single day last week, Finnish advocates of equal marriage rights gathered 50,000 signatures for a petition that proposes granting legal recognition to same sex couples. According to the Citizen's Initiative Act, a modification of the Finnish constitutionthat was passed last year, this is the minimum number of signatures required for a legislative vote: the proposal has therefore been submitted to parliament. Read More

WeGov

Spaniards Demand Prime Minister's Resignation with Change.org Petition

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, February 20 2013

The Barcenas documents published by El País, as displayed on the Change.org petition.

"I demand the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the calling of elections, as well as the resignation of any member of the People's Party named in the documents who holds office publicly or in the party." That's not an opposition leader speaking but more than a million Spanish citizens who signed a petition on Change.org as a reaction to an unprecedented corruption scandal involving the highest ranks of the government. Read More

WeGov

Slovenian Pirates Might Be Tested Sooner Than Expected

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, January 16 2013

Photo of Slovenian Pirates from the Pirate Times

The Pirate Party of Slovenia (Piratska stranka Slovenije) started, as in most countries, as a movement focused on digital issues and it has been around for three years now. But countrywide protests against austerity and political corruption — and, possibly, upcoming elections — might force them to test their strength sooner than planned. Read More

Personal Democracy Forum Poland-CEE, February 1-2 in Warsaw

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, January 7 2013

Personal Democracy Forum is back in Europe and is going east! After our events in Barcelona, Oslo, Paris and Brussels, we are happy to announce our first conference focused on Central and Eastern Europe, happening this ... Read More

WeGov

Portuguese Activist Blog Shut Down by Google for Defamatory Content

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, November 28 2012

Over the past few days, the Portuguese blog Precários Inflexíveis (Inflexible Precarious Workers) has reportedly been silenced and then blocked by Google. The blog was devoted to exposing the working conditions of freelance workers without permanent contracts: Google allegedly shut the blog down because of a complaint made by BF Grupo after the “precários” accused the company of illegal work and tax evasion”. Read More

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

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wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

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The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

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tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

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Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

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monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

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