Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Stories from and

Former French Defense Minister Finds Excuses for the Alleged Rape of Central African Children by French Soldiers

Screen capture of video of Former Defense Minister of France arguing that challenging conditions can explain odd behaviors (such as rape)

Screen capture of video of Former Defense Minister of France arguing that challenging conditions can explain odd behaviors (such as rape)

Afrique Info reports that JP Chevènement, a former defense minister of France, stated on public radio Europe 1 on May 3 that the challenging conditions that French soldiers face in the Central African Republic could explain “behavior of that kind” (see video above). Chevènement was referring to the allegation of child sexual abuse by French troops posted in the Central African Republic. The allegations surfaced after disciplinary proceedings were taken against a United Nations employee accused of leaking the allegations to the French authorities.

At Least 30 People Killled After Heavy Rains in Chile

The heaviest rains to hit Chile's northern region in decades have costed the life of at least 30 people, according to the most recent report by the National Office of Emergency of the Interior Ministry (known as Onemi), dated April 21.

At the time of writing the original post of this translation, a new victim was found.

LAST MINUTE: At Los Loros, the body of a new victim of the flood was found. This would be number 31.

On Global Voices, we reported about what has been considered the worst rain from the past 80 years in the Northern regions (mainly in Atacama and Antofagasta) when heavy rains caused the Copiapó river to overflow.

According to press releases, there are at least 59 people unaccounted for and 29.739 affected. Meanwhile, material damages go up to 2.000 completely destroyed homes. Over 6.000 have been severely affected, and another 11.000 have suffered minor damages.

Mexican Group Receives International Journalism Recognition Julio Anguita Parrado

Periodistas de a Pie (@periodistasdeapie), an active journalist organization that aims to raise the quality of journalism in Mexico, received the International Journalism Award Julio Anguita Parrado in Spain.

Through training and exchanging investigation techniques, experiences, reporting strategies, narrative styles and ways of approaching a story with colleagues, the group aims to challenge censorship.

The dean of the University of Córdoba and mayor hand out the 8th Julio Anguita Parrado Award.

Elia Baltazar, a member of Periodistas de a Pie, said in an interview that journalism in her country has recognition only from some sectors. We can see evidence of that in the impunity that exists when it comes to journalists being killed.

“Los que hemos elegido esta profesión no pretendemos cambiar nada sino informar para que sean los ciudadanos quienes tomen las decisiones para cambiar las cosas. Queremos una sociedad abierta, donde los periodistas podamos cumplir nuestra labor sin arriesgarnos porque una sociedad mejor informada va a ser una sociedad que tome mejores decisiones”, apunta.

Those of us who've chosen this profession don't pretend to change anything, just to inform so the citizens can be the ones who make the decisions to change things. We want an open society, where journalists might be able to fulfill out work without risks, because a better informed society will be a society that makes better decisions.

The jury of the 8th Julio Anguita Parrado Award, named after the Spanish journaist that passed away ten years ago while covering the war in Irak, valued the “informative work, silent, without showing off, carried out by communicators in absolute heroic circumstances, in a place where their ives and integrity are under constant threat”.

Tracking the Death Toll of the War in Yemen

Hundreds of people have been reportedly killed in fighting in Yemen since Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign against the country on March 26. Backed by its Gulf Arab allies, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Pakistan, Saudi Arabia started an airstrike operation, dubbed Decisive Storm, against Houthi fighters who took control of Yemen in January.

We are tracking news stories and leads on the death toll in this war at Global Voices Checkdesk, a partnership project with Meedan.

Checkdesk is a liveblogging tool for journalists, with built-in tools to allow citizen journalists and staff journalists alike to make and verify reports. Anyone from the newsroom community can submit a report — a Tweet, a photo, video or other type of media — and add details that bring important context to the report. Staff journalists can then add these reports to a developing story.

Email us here to join our team.

Are Zuckerberg and Internet.org Genuinely Good for Panama?

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg took advantage of his invitation to attend the Summit of the Americas in Panama City and met with his CEO counterparts in the region to promote Internet.org, a partnership he initiated between big business, non-profit organizations, and communities, the goal of which is to connect more people to the Internet.

Many media outlets are reporting the announcement made jointly by Zuckerberg and Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela that, thanks to Internet.org, Panamanians will now have free access to the Internet. According to the Spanish daily El País, the aim is to “facilitate free access to essential services related to health, safety, transportation and education. The project's implementation has the support of the government.”

But Richard Armuelles, writing for El Blog de Machinarium021, opines that the news may not be as good as it's cracked up to be. According to Armuelles, the public is being sold the “erroneous idea that all Internet will be free in a given country, which is not true. Only certain services that have formed partnerships with Facebook will benefit from this initiative, so my dear fellow blogger or local entrepreneur, you will still have to pay for users to have access to your website.” He adds that:

esto rompe la neutralidad de la web. desde hace mucho tiempo, fundaciones como Mozilla hablan de lo peligroso que es una web en donde no tengamos igualdad de oportunidades. Básicamente, esto no es diferente a un carrier que da “data gratis”, para navegar en Facebook y Whatsapp, haciendo que sea imposible una libre competencia.

this conflicts with net neutrality. For a while now, companies like Mozilla have talked about the dangers of a Web in which users don't enjoy equality of opportunity. Basically, this is no different from a carrier who provides “free data” so users can navigate on Facebook and WhatsApp, making a free market impossible.

Richard also argues that business interests are being served under the guise of providing charity, concluding that:

Internet.org en Panamá es todo menos beneficioso. Resuelve un problema de conectividad, pero a un precio mayor y lamentablemente sin muchas soluciones que realmente sean neutrales y justas para todos.

Internet.org in Panama may be many things but it is no free lunch. It solves a connectivity problem, but at a higher price and unfortunately without the kind of solutions that are truly neutral and equitable for everyone.

Pro-Russian Videos Get Fake Views With Help From Malware

Some pro-Russian videos appear to have gone viral, and not in a good sense. Motherboard reports that a group of unknown hackers has been infecting Internet users’ computers with viruses and using them to inflate views on news videos with a pro-Russian slant, as well as some other content.

New research by security firm Trustwave shows that victims got infected by visiting a compromised website that installed an exploit kit (an off-the-shelf software package allowing for easy attacks) on their computer, along with a trojan virus. The infected computers would then stealthily rack up views on the videos.

The videos identified by the researchers all appear to be pro-Russian, such as a one from the Iranian English-language broadcaster PressTV that quotes a Russian Parliament member justifying the annexation of Crimea. The goal of the operation, according to Trustwave researchers Rami Kogan and Arseny Levin, was to artificially increase the popularity of a video and make it more visible to users of the site Dailymotion.

Trustwave experts say the suspicious videos all share the same traits: they all have a fairly high number of views (around 320K, most of them within minutes of each other) but no social media shares or comments. By artificially inflating the clip's popularity, the fraudsters also make the video more visible to other users of the video site.

Using bots to generate fake traffic to video clips is nothing new. It is a technique to raise a clip's popularity score and achieve higher visibility. However, this is the first time we've observed the tactic used to promote video clips with a seemingly political agenda.

Both Trustwave analysts and independent security researchers told Motherboard that using malware for political aims was new, but that such ‘invisible propaganda’ could be very effective, as only its results were visible,but not the fraudulent mechanisms behind them.

“We have seen hacks that are motivated by money and other ‘hacktivist’ attacks that are motivated by politics,” Karl Sigler, the threat intelligence manager at Trustwave, told Motherboard. “This current campaign shows that those two motivations are starting to evolve and blend together.”

While it is unclear who is behind the campaign, Trustware experts speculate that those who spread the exploit kit and the malware simply aimed to make money, and that someone else paid them to add fake views to pro-Russian propaganda videos.

France Launchs National Campaign to Curb Racist and Anti-Semitic Acts

"The Republic United Against Racism" Infographic on the national campaign - Public Domain

“The Republic United Against Racism and Anti-Semitism”. Infographic on the national campaign. Public domain

On April 17, the French government unveiled a national campaign to combat racism and anti-Semitism in France. The objective of the campaign is to fight all prejudices, raise awareness and get citizens engaged in the conversation.

One hundred euros will be allocated over three years to educate and promote cultural diversity. The hashtag #planantiracisme (the plan against racism) was the number one trending topic on Twitter on the day of the announcement.

According to the Report on Racism and Antisemitism by the Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme CNCDH (National Comission on Human Rights), there was a 30% increase in racist acts in 2014 (from 1,274 in 2013 to 1,662 in 2014). Anti-Semitic acts went from 423 in 2013 to 851 in 2014, including the attack on the kosher store after the Charlie Hebdo shooting.

Tracking Infrastructure Damage in the War in Yemen

Hundreds of people have been reportedly killed in fighting in Yemen since Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign against the country on March 26. Backed by its Gulf Arab allies, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Pakistan, Saudi Arabia started an airstrike operation, dubbed Decisive Storm, against Houthi fighters who took control of Yemen in January.

Reports from the ground say that a refugee camp, schools, airports, a bridge, factories and homes have been destroyed so far.

Yemeni blogger Noon Arabia explains:

She adds:

We are tracking news and stories on the infrastructure damage in Yemen in this war at Global Voices Checkdesk, a partnership project with Meedan.

Checkdesk is a liveblogging tool for journalists, with built-in tools to allow citizen journalists and staff journalists alike to make and verify reports. Anyone from the newsroom community can submit a report — a Tweet, a photo, video or other type of media — and add details that bring important context to the report. Staff journalists can then add these reports to a developing story.

Email us here to join our team.

Another Shark Attack Claims a Teenage Surfer on Reunion Island, Post-Attack Policy in Effect

Cove rphoto of Facebook page to remember Elio Canestri - with their permission.

Cover photo of Facebook page to remember Elio Canestri – with their permission.

A 13-year-old boy was killed by a shark on April 12 near Les Aigrettes on Reunion island.

Elio Canestri was a promising surfer and a member of the local surfing club. The local community is shocked by the tragic news. A Facebook page was set up to commemorate his life, with already more than 3,500 fans within a few hours.

Soon after the events, the local authorities activated the post-attack measures, which include specific fishing targets in the area.

Unfortunately, shark attacks have become a repetitive event on Reunion island: There have been 16 shark attacks off the island since 2011. In February this year, island authorities extended a law prohibiting swimming and other water-based activities except in special areas in response to the high number of attacks. The measure has resulted in a dramatic decline in tourism.       

#JesuisKenyan Trends in Francophone Social Media to Show Support for Garissa Victims

Twitter users show support for Garissa victims via Arnaud Seroy on twitter

Twitter users show support for Garissa victims via Arnaud Seroy on twitter

On April 2, 2015, at least 147 people were killed by gunmen on the campus of Garissa University in Kenya, according to Kenya's National Disaster Operation Centre (KRCS). The center also reports that 79 people were injured and 587 people were evacuated at this stage.

The suspected mastermind of the massacre is the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militant group, which claimed responsibility for the attack.

The tragic accounts of the shooting by survivors triggered a show of solidarity worldwide. The francophone world, still weary after the Charlie Hebdo attack, responded by showing solidarity with the Garissa victims on social networks with the hashtag #JesuisKenyan (to mirror the hashtag #JesuisCharlie). It was the second most trending topics on Twitter in France on April 3.

Here are a few of those posts:

147 died in the horrific #terrorist attack against education and our future. Let's show solidarity #JesuisKenyan

Not enough talk in the media about the terrorist attack at the university in Kenya, are 147 dead not enough ?! HORRIBLE #JesuisKenyan

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site