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WeGov

New Media Sites in Iran Blur Lines Between Citizen Journo, Professional Journo, & Activist

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 16 2014

A screenshot of the amateur video capturing Neda Agha-Soltan's death. The video won a prestigious Polk award.

In 2010, Newsweek declared Iran the “birthplace of citizen journalism.” Iranian bloggers were hailed by Westerners as “brave” for their coverage of the aftermath of the disputed 2009 election. A 40-second video of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan during an anti-government protest won a prestigious George Polk Award, the first anonymously-produced work to be so honored. And then came the 2013 study “Whither Blogestan,” which sought to explain Iran's shrinking blogosphere. Of nearly 25,000 highly active and connected blogs in 2008 and 2009, only 20 percent were still online in September 2013.

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WeGov

Amidst "Apocalyptic" Floods, People of the Balkans Use Facebook for Relief and Rescue

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, May 30 2014

One of the many photos flagged as fake.

The floods that have ravaged the Balkans this month have been called “apocalyptic” and the resulting damage, officials say, is likely worse than the damage incurred during the three year conflict between Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats in the 1990s. At least 74 people died because of the flooding and nearly 900,000 were forced from their homes. The governments in Serbia and Bosnia, as well as foreign media, have been criticized for failing victims and the region as a whole. Meanwhile, social media, and Facebook in particular, has been heralded as a tool for “information-sharing, social activism, voluntary work, and even a watchdog mechanism.”

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The Day After The Day We Fought Back: Another Anti-Surveillance Campaign Already in the Works

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, February 12 2014

Reset button (Greg McMullin/Flickr)

Yesterday was the day the Internet fought back against mass surveillance. According to The Day We Fight Back website, roughly 86,815 calls were made to legislators and 179,682 emails were sent. The question is—what to do now? Luckily, the nonprofit organization Fight for the Future already has something in mind. They are in the process of recruiting participants and building support for the campaign Reset the Net, which will likely take place this spring.

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WeGov

7 Things You Didn't Know About Vietnam's Net

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 4 2014

Screenshot of Vietmeme's Twitter profile

Vietnam has an active Internet culture of civic engagement, but it can be hard to see because it is relatively ephemeral and dispersed over multiple networks. A one stop shop for a snapshot of Vietnam's online community is Vietmeme, a kind of front page for the Vietnamese Internet.

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WeGov

Twitter Storm For #Euromaidan Asks Media To Give As Much Attention To Revolution as Justin Bieber

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, January 28 2014

As previously noted on techPresident, the West paid next to no attention to the protests in Ukraine for two months, right up until violence broke out. Once they could be described as “Deadly Clashes” they made better headlines. Still, it wasn't until activists coordinated a Twitter Storm that a Ukraine-related hashtag made it into Twitter's worldwide trending topics.

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WeGov

Study Says Social Movements "Should Never Be Called a Twitter or Facebook Revolution"

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, November 22 2013

A report on Digital Activism and Non-Violent Conflict was released this month by the Digital Activism Research Project. It found that the role of hacking and cybercrime in digital activism is grossly overstated by the media and that Facebook and Twitter are the leading platforms for activism on a global scale, but that other tools do well on a smaller, regional scale. The study found no causation or correlation between specific tools and positive outcomes.

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WeGov

Interactive Gallery of Images Censored on Sina Weibo

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, November 15 2013

Bo Xilai has his own category of censored photos (Wikipedia)

Yesterday ProPublica launched an interactive photo gallery of all of the images deleted since May from the popular Chinese microblogging site, Sina Weibo. In those five months, a program has been checking 100 Weibo accounts, noting which posts contain an image and of those, which are deleted. Of the 80,000 posts collected, more than 5 percent (roughly 4,200) were deleted.

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WeGov

Saudi Arabia Blocks Online Petition to Lift Ban on Women Drivers

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, October 10 2013

An alternative headline

The drive to get Saudi women behind the wheel has been long and arduous. Women have been protesting the ban on women drivers since the early '90s. An online petition created in September has thrust the issue into the spotlight once more, with everyone from the religious police to pseudo-scientists weighing in. In what seems like promising news, three women, members of the council that advises King Abdullah, recommended earlier this week that the ban on women driving be lifted. But the country-wide blocking of the online petition suggests authorities are not yet ready to listen, in spite of their claims otherwise.

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WeGov

Chinese Netizens Use Digital Initiative to Gain Media Attention for Unsolved Poisoning Case

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, May 15 2013

Screen shot of the signatures on the Chinese netizens' petition to the Obama administration

Last month a medical science student at a Shanghai university died from poisoning, allegedly murdered by his roommate. The specifics of the crime echoed a case from the mid-1990s, in which a 19-year-old student was poisoned with thallium. That case has once again been thrown into the media spotlight, but after 18 years the media has changed and the spotlight means a trending hashtag on Sina Weibo or an online petition to the U.S. President.

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Prizes for Most Innovative Digital Rights Projects To Be Unveiled Monday

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, December 7 2012

As this dramatic account of the beating of a Syrian protestor attests, sometimes dissidents' devices can betray them even when their comrades will not. Similar stories are playing out across the globe, and New York City-based digital rights group Access is keenly aware of all this. So it's devoting itself to developing and promoting technologies to protect individuals' ability to speak freely and to organize politically. On Monday evening, the group will hand out $20,000 each in prizes to the five most innovative technology and media projects designed to help people to freely communicate, tell stories and organize themselves. The awards categories: "Blackout Resilience," "Making Crypto Easy;" "Freedom of Expression;" "Grassroots Technology," and "Facebook." Read More