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WeGov

What To Do With Those Fake Photos From Venezuela

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, February 24 2014

A photo from a 2011 Al Jazeera story about student protests in Chile was repurposed in Venezuela earlier this month.

WeGov

Absent a Labor Union, Chinese Workers Organize With Social Media and Cheap Smartphones

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, February 21 2014

A clothing factory in Dongguan, China (credit: Ed-meister/flickr)

A new report by the China Labour Bulletin says that since China does not allow the formation of independent trade unions, social media and affordable smartphones have served as crucial organizing tools for Chinese workers. Read More

WeGov

Venezuelan Protestors Report Phones Stolen and Internet Sites Blocked By Authorities

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 18 2014

Protest in Caracas, February 15, 2014. (andresAzp/Flickr)

After five days of clashes between antigovernment protestors and Venezuelan authorities, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez submitted to security forces today to face charges of terrorism for allegedly inciting violent protests against President Nicolás Maduro's government. The protests have resulted in four deaths so far, for which each side blames the other.

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WeGov

#NotAMartyr Is #HereToStay

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, January 13 2014

Last week I wrote that the most powerful campaign online right now started with a selfie. The #NotAMartyr campaign took off on Twitter and Facebook after a political assassination in Lebanon killed six, including an innocent teenage kid. Lebanese citizens took to social media networks to express sadness and frustration with the current state of affairs in their country by writing messages and taking selfies. Yesterday, the people behind #NotAMartyr announced on Facebook that they will continue those conversations online and off.

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WeGov

Need to Tell Ma and Pa You've Been Arrested? In Egypt, There's An App For That

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, January 3 2014

When Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Ebd El Fattah was beaten and arrested in his own home at the end of November, his wife and fellow blogger Manal El Fattah were there to document and report the arrest on Twitter. But what of activists or journalists arrested alone, without friends or witnesses? They can now use the Android application Byt2ebed 3alia to alert family, friends and legal counsel that they are being arrested.

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WeGov

Japanese PM Thinks His People Just Don't Understand The State Secrecy Bill

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, December 9 2013

Shinzo Abe shakes hands with President Bush (Wikipedia)

In spite of objections from human rights activists and members of the media around the world, Japan's upper chamber made the controversial State Secrecy Protection Bill law in a “raucous, late-night session” last Friday, December 6, Reuters reports. The House of Representatives passed the bill on November 26. Under the new law, state employees could be jailed for up to 10 years if they leak secrets, and journalists could be jailed for up to five if they use “grossly inappropriate” tactics to uncover state secrets. The passage of the bill has sparked uncharacteristically large protests in a country where protesters have often been considered a part of the political fringe.

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WeGov

Egyptian Authorities Extend Detainment of Prominent Activist and Blogger

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, December 2 2013

Alaa Abd El Fattah speaking at the 2011 Personal Democracy Forum

On the night of November 28, well-known Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah was arrested by Egyptian security forces for his involvement in a demonstration against a new law meant to repress political protests. Fattah and fellow activist Ahmad Maher were arrested for allegedly organizing the demonstration without the requisite three day advance notice to the Interior Ministry, a stipulation of the new law they were protesting. On December 1, a prosecutor ordered the release of Ahmed Maher, but renewed Alaa Abd El Fattah's detention for 15 days.

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WeGov

The Rise of 'Selfless' Selfies in Online Activism

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, September 6 2013

Take selfies to be proud of, be a selfie activist (Helga Weber/Flickr)

The selfie portrait, omnipresent on most social networking sites, starting with MySpace, has recently found a higher calling: activism. Last month Filipinos organized an online protest of public transit fare hikes under the hashtag #StrikeTheHike. They encouraged supporters to upload selfies with protest messages to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Another #SelfieProtest in the Philippines is already under way, calling for the abolishment of the “pork barrel” budgeting system following a corruption scandal implicating at least three senators.

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WeGov

Gezi Park and The Turkey Uprising As You've Never Seen It Before

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, August 30 2013

Still from Taksim Commune

The film opens with the sound of explosive clapping, drumming and chanting. The first images are of destroyed streets, smoke blossoming from an improvised barricade and men standing defiantly on a pile of bricks. Then a shot of an injured man being carried by four others, all with their mouths and noses covered by scarves or masks. These are the opening scenes of Taksim Commune: Gezi Park and The Uprising In Turkey, a short documentary that captures not only the conflict that marred the protest, but the jubilation and energy that defined it first.

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WeGov

Reporter Detained in Sudan After Posting YouTube Video of Khartoum Protests

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, June 22 2012

Protesters at an anti-government protest in Khartoum, Sudan

For the sixth day in a row, Khartoum university students were out protesting massive increases in the price of meals and transportation that stem from new government austerity measures. Reporters and activists on the ground in Sudan say the size of the protests are clearly worrying the government of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir — and government forces are cracking down, attempting to limit people's ability to publish video and photos from a political moment that some are debating whether or not to call the arrival of the Arab Spring in Sudan. Efforts to capture images of the unrest, they say, are being hampered by government forces, including the brief detention of one reporter who posted video to YouTube. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

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The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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