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Indian National Congress Skirts Political Twitter War By Launching Own Social Media Site

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, July 29 2013

Screenshot of Khidkee

India's grand old party, the Indian National Congress, is losing the political war taking place on the most popular social media platforms. With general elections for the lower house of India's parliament coming up in 2014, Congress leaders are revamping their social media strategy. Part of their out-of-left-field solution was to launch their own social media platform. A Facebook and Twitter hybrid, Khidkee went live July 23.

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WeGov

Social Media is Driving Massive Anti-Government Protests in Bulgaria

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 24 2013

June's peaceful protests in Bulgaria (Flickr/Bmw Spirit)

After 40 days of peaceful anti-corruption protests, violence erupted late Tuesday night outside the Bulgarian parliament after demonstrators built blockades and trapped more than 100 people inside the building. Riot police forced their way past the protesters and the blockade on Wednesday to free the politicians and journalists who had been trapped inside the parliament building for more than eight hours. Some Bulgarian journalists credit the Internet and social media for inspiring and spreading the #DANSwithme protests, as they are known on Twitter.

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Journalists in Mozambique Have a New Way to Get Help Reporting on Elections

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, July 19 2013

Screenshot of Citizen Desk's beta version (Sourcefabric.org)

The municipal elections in Mozambique are over four months away but short-staffed newsrooms are already preparing to deal with the persistent conundrum: how do they accurately cover the elections with over 2,500 polling stations to monitor across the country? A new tool called Citizen Desk allows newsrooms to incorporate citizen reports into their news stream, to act as eyes and ears for the upcoming elections. Read More

WeGov

In Finland, A Citizens' Initiative to Protect Privacy and Whistleblowers

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, July 18 2013

Parliament of Finland (Wikipedia)

The Finns would help Edward Snowden if they could. Unfortunately, the law in Finland requires an asylum seeker to be in the country when applying, according to foreign ministry spokeswoman Tytti Pylkö. Some see the requirement as an unfortunate gap in their laws, and have petitioned to have it closed. On July 8, Electronic Frontier Finland (Effi) submitted a citizens' initiative to close the loopholes regarding whistle-blowers, and to protect the privacy of Finnish citizens.

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The Five Star Movement Launches an Electronic Parliament

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, July 12 2013

A screenshot of the electronic parliament platform (image: http://www.parlamento5stelle.com/)

On July 10, the Five Star Movement (M5S) introduced its long awaited "electronic parliament" platform, Five Star Parliament, which allows citizens to vote, comment and even write pieces of legislation. M5S is an anti-government political party led by former comedian Beppe Grillo. They put out the site just weeks after 15 members of the Italian parliament had launched their own, Tu Parlamento. Five Star Parliament is currently available only to those living in Lazio but will soon launch in Lombardy and Sicily, then nationally. Read More

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Jhatkaa: Getting India to 'Shake Up'

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, July 12 2013

Deepa Gupta, founder of Jhatkaa, discusses her vision for the project in a campaign video. (Jhatkaa.org)

Urinating into an empty dam to fill it, using late-night television as a contraceptive and suggesting Valentine's Day causes rape are a few of the public comments made by Indian politicians, as voiced by frustrated Indian citizens in Jhatkaa’s campaign video. Jhatkaa, which means “to shake up,” is a new civic startup pioneered by Deepa Gupta, a young Indian campaigner. Read More

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Online Platform to Shine a Light on Scandal-Scalded Montreal Politics

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Friday, May 31 2013

Montreal (credit: S. Lacasse/Wikimedia Commons)

As the scandal-weary residents of Quebec, Canada's Francophone province, head into a new round of municipal elections this November, one open-data group is working on a new project designed to raise awareness about transparency amongst candidates and voters. Read More

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A Technological Spring in the South Caucasus

BY Onnik Krikorian | Wednesday, April 17 2013

Elva co-founder Jonne Catshoek (credit: Onnik Krikorian)

Riven by ethnic conflict and destabilized by geopolitics, the year ahead might prove to be a tumultuous one in the three South Caucasus countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Armenia held its presidential election in February but is still experiencing ongoing protests. Now eyes are already starting to focus on its two neighbors, which will hold their elections in the autumn. In 2013, with Internet penetration continuing to increase, new tools are playing a significant role in mobilizing citizens and in monitoring potential outbreaks of violence. Read More

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Spaniards Demand Prime Minister's Resignation with Change.org Petition

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, February 20 2013

The Barcenas documents published by El País, as displayed on the Change.org petition.

"I demand the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the calling of elections, as well as the resignation of any member of the People's Party named in the documents who holds office publicly or in the party." That's not an opposition leader speaking but more than a million Spanish citizens who signed a petition on Change.org as a reaction to an unprecedented corruption scandal involving the highest ranks of the government. Read More

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Can Technology and "Testimony" Prevent Violence in Kenyan Elections?

BY Sara Jerving | Wednesday, February 6 2013

Kenya's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) campaigning in Kibera (credit: Sara Jerving)

Community organizers, activists and civil society workers are hoping a mix of technology and on-the-ground organizing can stave off political violence around Kenya's upcoming elections. Read More