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WeGov

Good Faith Efforts To Improve Democracy in Indonesia?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, January 24 2014

Photo: Flickr/KCIvey

Democracy in Indonesia has two things going for it this year—a new organization called Ayo Vote, which hopes to mobilize young people and get them to the polls, and a government sponsored website where voters can peruse the CVs of their potential representation.

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WeGov

The Singapore “Media Destruction Authority” Smothers Homegrown News Site

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, January 6 2014

kitchen closed

When techPresident covered Singapore's new media regulations last June, only 10 websites had been singled out by the Media Development Authority (MDA), all big corporate news sites. Fast forward six months to the death-by-paperwork demise of start up citizen news site Breakfast Network, which closed “company” doors on December 16. The MDA's effective smothering of the Breakfast Network team has led one blogger to suggest they change their name to the Media Destruction Authority.

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WeGov

The Cambodian Government's Social Media Nightmare

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, December 18 2013

Prime Minister of Cambodia, and leader of the CPP, Hun Sen (Wikipedia)

The growing popularity of social media in Cambodia, not as entertainment but as a source for alternative news, is threatening the established government leaders and their state-controlled media narratives. In the national elections this June the opposition pulled in 55 seats to the ruling Cambodian People's Party 68, in large part due to the participation of plugged-in and social media-savvy youths. More recently, the government has had their state-approved media account of a November clash between striking garment workers and police refuted by videos uploaded to the Internet and spread through social media.

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WeGov

In India, Voice Messaging Mobilizes More Effectively Than SMS

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, December 11 2013

Drought-dry dirt. (Flickr/Mundoo)

In the midst of the terrible drought that struck the Indian state Maharashtra in March 2012, a political scandal broke and revealed a top minister was helping divert water from farmers to power plants. Greenpeace India launched an awareness building campaign on May 22 by unfurling a 250 foot banner that read “Water For Farmers / Not Power Plants” over a dam. Although an online petition garnered support from urbanites, Greenpeace India needed to reach people in rural areas, the ones hurt most by the drought. The Digital Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace (MobLab) blog took a critical look at what worked and what didn't, and interactive voice response comes out a winner.

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WeGov

International Human Rights Day in Vietnam Marked By Launch of Blogger Network

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, December 10 2013

Vietnam Flag (Wikipedia)

Today a coalition of Vietnamese bloggers launched the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers (NVB), a new advocacy and watchdog group that will hold the Vietnamese government accountable for their United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) obligations and commitments. The launch was set for December 10 to coincide with International Human Rights Day.

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WeGov

Citizen Journalists Take On Rape And Domestic Violence

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, December 3 2013

ALMOST anyone can report through CGNet Swara (Flickr/sarahamina)

In August I wrote about a citizen journalism project in India called CGNet Swara, which residents of the central Indian state Chhattisgarh were using as a kind of government watchdog/accountability site. Since then, reports per day have nearly doubled, up to 400 a day, and a Global Post story highlights how the tool is being used by women to combat rampant rape and domestic violence.

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WeGov

Internet Giants Like Google Take On New Roles In Indian Elections

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, December 2 2013

Last week Google India launched an online portal for all things election-related. The portal is meant to educate voters about the electoral process and provide information about political parties and candidates. A press release describes it as a “one stop destination” to help voters make an informed decision.

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WeGov

India's Election Commission Lays Down Last Minute Laws For Online Campaigning

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, November 6 2013

Screenshot of PM Manmohan Singh's Twitter page

India's Election Commission recently published a set of guidelines for the use of social media in political campaigns, requiring that candidates declare the amount of funds spent on social media campaigning and pre-certify their political advertisements, among other requirements. The new rules, sprung on political campaigners less than a month before the scheduled elections, have had mixed reception, with some saying that the rules do not go far enough.

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WeGov

Pushback Against Corruption In Philippines Continues With Gov't Hackathon

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, October 28 2013

The Philippines government is sponsoring a two-day hackathon early next month as part of an attempt to reform government and reduce corruption. Less than two months ago the country was rocked by a corruption scandal implicating three senators, two former lawmakers, and a businesswoman for misuse of state funds totaling more than US$200 million. The central government will provide data for the #KabantayNgBayan (Guardians of the Nation) hackathon, which will encourage the development of apps that encourage citizens to monitor and participate in government.

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WeGov

In Vietnam, Activist Group Takes a “SexyBack” Approach to Fighting Censorship

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, October 1 2013

Screenshot from the Facebook Back video parody below

You know all that witty (and not-so-witty) banter about the government shutdown taking place on your Facebook newsfeed right now? In Vietnam that would be illegal.

Since the draconian Decree 72 went into effect on September 1, citizens are banned from discussing news and current events—or really anything that does not pertain to themselves personally—on blogs or social media sites. Activists and bloggers, however, cannot capitulate to the government's restrictions, not when bloggers and citizens journalists have become the “de facto media.” That's why the pro-democracy group Viet Tan offers virtual training in cybersecurity for bloggers and activists.

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News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

GO

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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