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Weekly Global Readings: Wellbeing

BY Lisa Goldman and Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, January 16 2013

The theme for this week's global readings is wellbeing. In China, cartoonists use social media as a platform for cartoons lampooning state censorship, evoking the old line about laughter being the best medicine. In Kenya, smartphone users can access healthcare services via a phone app. And in the Netherlands, a human rights organization is launching a campaign to show bloggers how to protect themselves.

Hivos, the Netherlands-based Humanist Institute for Cooperation, is launching a campaign called #DELETECONTROL. The purpose of the campaign is to help bloggers stay safe online by promoting tools against censorship, online surveillance and repression.

In China, cartoonists use social media as a platform to lampoon state-imposed censorship .

Estonia is launching a website that allows citizens to submit proposals for new regulations governing political activity. Rahvakogu.ee (The Citizens' Parliament) will be online from January to March 2013.

In Kenya, a new smartphone app called MedAfrica allows people to search for health care services and providers. MedAfrica lists professionals in a given area and provides a symptom checker for would-be patients.

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

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

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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