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WeGov

Social Media Drives Youth Involvement in Cambodia's National Elections

BY Faine Greenwood | Wednesday, July 31 2013

Kem Sokha (left) and Sam Rainsy, leaders of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (credit: Faine Greenwood)

A new age in political involvement is evolving in Cambodia. Social media use, particularly Facebook and Youtube, has proven to be the driving force in both youth involvement in politics and rising awareness of the issues, as direct engagement allows citizens to circumvent censored state controlled media outlets. Read More

WeGov

With Real-Life Diplomacy on Hold, Israel Launches Twitter "Embassy" in Arab States

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, July 25 2013

Twitter screengrab.

In its latest foray into digital diplomacy, the Israeli foreign ministry has established a Twitter "embassy" for the purpose of engaging with the Arab countries of the Gulf region. Called @IsraelintheGCC, the account was launched on July 18. As of this writing, it has 685 followers. Read More

WeGov

Yemeni Activist Seeks Refuge in Canada After Announcing "I'm Queer" On His Blog

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Tuesday, July 9 2013

Ala'a Jarban (screenshot from YouTube video)

Ala’a Jarban is a 23-year old activist who participated in the 2011 Yemen revolution and created a blog that allowed LGBT Yemenis to post anonymously about their experiences. While in Montreal for a conference on international human-rights training run by human-rights group Equitas, Jarban took to his blog and came out, declaring, “I’m Queer”. Read More

WeGov

The Deposing of the Egyptian President, as Seen on Social Media

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, July 3 2013

Anti-Morsi demonstrators in Cairo (flickr/Zeinab Mohamed)

One year after he became Egypt's first democratically elected leader, Mohammed Morsi has been booted from power. The army has placed the now-former president under house arrest. The ouster came following four days of mass demonstrations, with protestors shouting many of the same chants that were heard during the 18 days leading up to Mubarak's resignation in February 2011. Two days into the dmeonstrations, the army issued a 48-hour warning to the government: It was ordered to respond to popular concerns. Or else. Read More

WeGov

Debate Over Role of the Internet in Developing Burma

BY Faine Greenwood | Wednesday, June 26 2013

Nay Phone Latt, Executive Director of MIDO, at Burma's first IFF (Faine Greenwood)

"You're going to an Internet freedom forum in Burma?" a friend of mine asked me. "Is that even legal?"  In another signal of Burma's technological and cultural-political changes, a small group of local bloggers, technologists, and general-interest geeks banded together to host the country's first ever forum on Internet freedom at the beginning of June. The event revealed optimism about opportunities for a newly connected society, even as bloggers and observers expressed uncertainty about growing tension between a desire for openness and a need for stability in the face of sectarian conflict. Read More

WeGov

Brazil's Middle Class Protestors Take the Struggle Online, With Mixed Results

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, June 19 2013

Photo of demonstration in Sao Paolo, Brazil (flickr/JubaSimoes)

Protestors in Brazil have made their war cry heard all over social media and as a result, have received quite a bit of attention from the international community with popular hashtags such as #itsnotabout20cents and #ChangeBrazil. But while they have used tools like Facebook to organize and rally, the effectiveness of their Twitter use is harder to gauge. Read More

WeGov

The Disappearance of Greece's Fourth Estate

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, June 18 2013

Athens anti-austerity demo, May 2010 (flickr/Monika.Monika)

Amid the high drama of Greece's state-owned broadcaster suspending service and growing evidence that media freedom is declining in the country, independent, Internet-driven media like Radio Bubble are becoming ever more important. Read More

WeGov

Trying to Prosecute Online Piracy in Canada? Good Luck!

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Wednesday, June 12 2013

Google image via Allen Mendelsohn's blog.

A private firm that is monitoring Canadians who download pirated content online has found itself at the center of a legal battle. Read More

WeGov

Amid Grassroots Furor, Canadian Telecom Monopolies Forced to Lower Mobile Fees

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Thursday, June 6 2013

iPhone screenshot mentioning Canadian coffee chain Tim Horton's (flickr/Matt Hurst)

A community-driven, non-profit internet group is claiming victory regarding recently-announced changes to Canadian cellphone regulations. Read More

WeGov

Twitter a Mirror for the Turkish Press, and the Reflection Isn't Pretty

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, June 3 2013

Istanbul protestor (credit: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

While comparisons between what is happening in Istanbul now and what happened in Cairo's Tahrir Square between January and February 2011 are perhaps inevitable, they are most definitely not accurate. This is not a Turkish spring, although it might be the Turkish version of the Occupy movement. But Turkey is not Egypt and Erdogan is no Mubarak. Prime Minister Erdogan has been elected three times by popular vote and Turkey is a democracy with an ostensibly free press. How, then, to explain the near-farcical failure of the Turkish media to cover the largest spontaneous demonstrations in the country's recent history? Read More

News Briefs

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

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