Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Ukrainians Document Election Irregularities on Social Media

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, November 5 2012

Social media played a prominent role in reporting results and irregularities in Ukraine's October 28 national elections, which were widely viewed as far from ideal in terms of a level playing field and transparency.

The Kyiv Post reports that Ukrainians took to social media platforms in droves to report violations at polling stations, with many using the hashtags #вибори2012 and #ukrainevotes, while others reported violations to Maidan.org.ua, which uses the Twitter handle @sitemaidan.

Maidan was the go-to account for up-to-the-minute reports on election violations. And it was first to report on the temporary closing of polling stations in Odessa, due to some magic markers.

“Violation: 3 voting stations in Odessa report that regular pens were replaced with dissapearing ink [sic],” it reported on Twitter. By evening the organization had posted further news about the pens. “Update: invisible ink pens have been found in 49 of the 86 polling stations in the Kiev district of Odessa. See a video with these pens in a previous tweet.”

But Maidan wasn’t the only user tweeting accusations of violations. Citizens and foreign observers also took to the social network to voice their concern.

“Officially observing the elections in #Ukraine today. Reports of violations are flooding in,” tweeted Stephan Bociukiw, who, according to his profile, is an intern at Kyiv’s E2market.com.

Former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, recognizable for the distinctive platinum hair braids she wears pinned on top of her head, has been on a hunger strike since October 29 to protest what she says is a fraudulent election.

Reuters reports there was an opposition protest rally yesterday in central Kiev over alleged vote rigging in various districts.

Meanwhile, a report issued by the Council of Europe pulls no punches in its description of the elections, quoting monitors and observers who characterize them as lacking transparency and tilted by biased media reports.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

More