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Iran's Foreign Minister Talks Free Will, Dignity, Standing Your Ground on YouTube

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, November 19 2013

“Imagine being told that you cannot do what everyone else is doing, what everyone else is allowed to do. Will you back down? Would you relent? Or would you stand your ground.”

These are some of the opening questions from Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in a message on the “unnecessary crisis” over nuclear energy, which was posted on YouTube today.

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WeGov

Mediastan: A Travelogue of "Comparative Censorship"

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, October 15 2013

Opening credits of Mediastan

Julian Assange's contempt for The Fifth Estate is no secret. In a statement about the Dreamwork's film about WikiLeaks, Assange called it “a geriatric snoozefest that only the US government could love.” As an alternative to that “Hollywood propaganda,” Assange suggests viewers interested in WikiLeaks watch the documentary Mediastan, which is billed as “a WikiLeaks road movie.”

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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

Jack Dorsey Tweets @HassanRouhani About Access to Twitter in Iran

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, October 1 2013

The President of Iran is tweeting with Jack Dorsey. Read More

WeGov

Turkey's Ruling Party Training Social Media Reps to Counter Opposition's Online Presence

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, September 17 2013

They say if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, and it appears that the Turkish government is taking that advice to heart. The ruling Justice and Development Party (or AKP) is training 6,000 social media representatives to counter the strong online presence of the opposition and those who participated in the Gezi protests in June.

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WeGov

In Abu Dhabi, A Government-Led "Civic" App Is Surprisingly Popular

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, September 12 2013

A simple, free smartphone application called CityGuard has given thousands of Abu Dhabi residents the opportunity to be more involved in maintaining their communities. The government-developed mobile application allows citizens to report civic issues with just a few swipes on their smartphones. According to FutureGov Asia, the crowdsourcing initiative is surprising popular and successful. The app is the “cornerstone” of the Abu Dhabi government's initiative to empower and engage citizens through technology.

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WeGov

Did 15 Of Iran's Cabinet Members Sign Up For Facebook, Or Have We Been Punk'd?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, September 10 2013

Screenshot of Hasan Rouhani's alleged Facebook page

Did Iran's entire Cabinet—15 ministers in total—just open Facebook pages? It appears so, and analysts are a bit unsure what to make of it, considering the social media site is still technically banned in the country. President Hasan Rouhani also has a page that has been duly liked by all 15 ministers.

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WeGov

New and Old Media Collide in Saudi Twitter Radio Station

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, September 10 2013

Several Saudi bloggers have launched a weekly, two-hour long program called Radio-Twitter, which takes cues and tips from Twitter trends. Radio-Twitter emphasizes news of interest to the young and connected population in Saudi Arabia.

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WeGov

Lebanese Army Tries to Stem Tide of Violence With New Smartphone App

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, September 3 2013

Fireworks or gunshots? Who knows--check Way to Safety (baron valium/Flickr)

Tech-savvy entrepreneurs in Lebanon are making the streets safer to walk by warning users of gunfights, roadblocks and other hazards. The smartphone app Ma2too3a takes crowdsourced information about protests, traffic and conflict and maps it. Another app analyzes sounds and can tell you if what you're hearing is gunfire or something less threatening, like fireworks. Taking their cues from the public demand for this kind of tool, the Lebanese army last week released their own security app called LAF Shield.

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