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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

RSS Feed today >

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

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

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The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.

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wednesday >

Everything You Need to Know About Social Media and India's General Election

The biggest democratic election in the world to date is taking place in India from April 7 to May 14, and, for the first time in India, the results might hinge on who runs a better social media campaign. The Mumbai research firm Iris Knowledge Foundation has said that Facebook will “wield a tremendous influence” but Indian politicians are not limiting their attentions to India's most popular social media platform. In addition to virtual campaigning are initiatives to inform, educate and encourage Indians to participate in their democracy.

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