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WeGov

In Russia, Independent YouTube Programming Lures Viewers Away from State TV

BY Natalia Antonova | Tuesday, March 19 2013

Screenshot from Russia's independent Dozhd TV

In Russia, state owned television's coverage of high profile cases and events has been losing credibility amongst educated, middle class viewers who see it as anodyne, patronizing or insufficiently critical. A notorious recent case of poor television reporting occurred with the prosecution of feminist collective punk band Pussy Riot. It was impossible to miss the strong difference between state-owned television’s coverage and analysis, versus the reporting offered by independent Russian programming on YouTube. Read More

WeGov

Quebec's Language Laws Lead to "Pastagate"

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Friday, March 15 2013

Internet meme for "Pastagate"

The long-running language debate in a province where English-speakers are outnumbered by French-speakers, has recently reached new heights of absurdity against the backdrop of a proposed language law tabled by the province's separatist minority government. Read More

Egyptian Activist Denied State Department Honor Over Anti-Semitic, Anti-American Tweets

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, March 12 2013

Samira Ibrahim (image: YouTube screengrab)

An Egyptian activist who was slated to be presented with a Woman of Courage Award at a ceremony hosted in Washington, D.C. by Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama has been sent home after a conservative newspaper unearthed tweets in which she expressed anti-American and anti-Semitic sentiments. Read More

WeGov

Finding Names of the Dead in Pakistan's Drone War

BY Naheed Mustafa | Thursday, March 7 2013

Dronestagram of North Waziristan, following a January 3 drone strike that killed 3-4 people.

America's secret drone campaign in Pakistan's remote tribal areas is meant to target militants, but frequently kills civilian bystanders as well. The White House argues that the campaign is a necessary and effective means of fighting terror, while watchdog groups struggle to learn more about how and why American intelligence officials kill with "aerial vehicles." But both sides predicate their arguments on one deeply flawed assumption: That we cannot know the names of the dead. Read More

WeGov

In Syria, Can Crowdmapping Technology Help Women Under Siege Find Justice?

BY Anna Therese Day | Tuesday, February 26 2013

Screenshot from Women Under Siege: Syria.

Human rights organizers utilize crowdmapping technology for the first time in history to document sexualized violence in Syria’s ongoing war. Read More

WeGov

In South Korea, Activists Say Transparency Must Catch Up to Technology

BY Sam Petulla | Friday, February 22 2013

Seoul at night (credit: Sam Petulla)

South Korea is one of the most wired societies in the world, but its civil society is weak, the result of decades of military rule. Censorship is common, as are government attempts to limit digital freedom of expression. With help from Google, Creative Commons and the free culture movement, democracy activists are hoping transparency can match technology. Read More

WeGov

Social Media Has Been a Mixed Blessing for the Arab Spring

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, February 15 2013

Cairo graffiti (image: Hossam El-Hamalawy/Flickr)

Two years ago, social media was the star of the Arab Spring. Today it is still important, but there is ample evidence to support the theory that it is also harmful. Read More

WeGov

Kenya's First-Ever Presidential Debate Became a Significant Social Media Event

BY Sara Jerving | Wednesday, February 13 2013

Screenshot of debate organizers' Facebook page

Kenya held its first presidential debate in the country's history this Monday. Millions tuned in as candidates answered questions posed by moderators. In an interesting twist, the organizers selected both the moderators and the questions from suggestions submitted by ordinary citizens via social media platforms, SMS and email. Read More

WeGov

Techies Gather in Port Au Prince for Haiti's First Hackathon

BY Tate Watkins | Monday, February 11 2013

Participants in Haiti's first hackathon (credit: Tate Watkins)

Computer science graduate student Richardson Ciguené describes Haiti's first hackathon with a play on a local term: "konbit technologie." “A konbit,” Ciguené explains, “is something that, in the countryside, where people live more off of the earth, they’re farmers, so they make a group. One day they work the field of one person, the next day they work the field of another person. They do that until everyone’s field is worked.”

The hackathon had the same core concept. It brought technologists and civil society workers together to start working on some of the nation's toughest problems. Read More

Netanyahu Chooses Actor Who Satirizes Him as Doppelganger in Facebook Meme

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, February 4 2013

While thousands are celebrating International Doppelganger Week by replacing their Facebook avatars with a photo of celebrities they resemble, the prime minister of Israel chose a photo of a comedian who plays him as a bumbling pompous fool on a popular political satire television show. Read More