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Weekly Readings: Data Speaks Louder than Words

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Monday, April 21 2014

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

WeGov

Flooding in Macedonia Tests a Smartphone Early Warning App

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, July 26 2013

Flooding in Macedonia in 2006 (Flickr/Novica Nakov)

When the southeastern region Macedonia flooded in February after three days of heavy rain, locals could log into a smartphone application to get up to the minute disaster information. It was a not so dry run of a new app developed by students and professors at the University of Skopje's Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and backed with a US $10,000 grant from the UNDP Innovation Fund.

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WeGov

SMS and Facebook Alert System Reduces Pesticide Use By 30 Percent

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 17 2013

The worm of the coddling moth in an apple (Wikipedia)

Going pesticide-free just isn't an option for many farmers, but overuse is a major cause of pollution. In the Prespa Lake Basin, more than 2,000 species are threatened by the use of pesticides in adjacent towns like Resen, in southwestern Macedonia. Timing the application of pesticides is everything, but with no local media in Resen, it's hard to get the word out to nearby farmers. That's where an information system that uses SMS and Facebook to alert farmers to spray can make a difference.

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WeGov

Macedonia Draft Law to Regulate and Restrict the "Last Arena for Freedom of Speech"

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, June 12 2013

Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, (Wikipedia)

The draft of a media regulation law in Macedonia has journalists and press freedom watchdogs up in arms. The proposed Law on Media and Audiovisual Media Services was written by the government behind closed doors and without input from the media or NGOs. It has been interpreted as a decisive move on the part of the government to limit speech online in a country where press freedoms are already limited. Until now, Internet-based news sites were not regulated like print media.

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WeGov

New Tactics in Fight Against Corruption Include Crowdsourcing, Mobile Games and SMS

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, April 9 2013

Transparency International's logo.

Transparency International has awarded grants to its chapters implementing new solutions in their anti-corruption activism – from playing a game to learn about corruption to sending a SMS to report an incident. The projects emphasize increasing public awareness and in most cases rely on individuals taking initiative. Read More

WeGov

In Macedonia, a Draft Law on Defamation May Lead to Online Censorship

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, October 17 2012

The Macedonian Parliament is discussing a draft law on defamation related to online communication which may lead to strong censorship of online communication, the European Digital Rights reports.
The bill considers online service providers liable for penalties, along with the author, for any damage resulting from offensive or defamatory information the provider has allowed access to, but it fails to provide a clear definition of what a provider is, thus allowing the possibility of an arbitrary judgement. Read More