Stories from Quick Reads and Citizen Media
Suharto ruled Indonesia from 1967 to 1998. During his 31-year rule, he was accused of committing grave human rights violations and massive corruption. Several weeks of street riots and rallies forced Suharto to resign in 1998.
In 1976, Suharto ordered state-managed banks to set aside 2.5 percent of their profits in favor of Supersemar Foundation's scholarship program. But in 2010, the court found the foundation once chaired by Suharto guilty of misappropriating public funds. It also noted that only a tiny amount of the funds was actually distributed to students. Last month, the court issued its final ruling on the matter.
The ruling, which was made public only this month, is significant since it’s the first time that a local court has found Suharto guilty of corruption. Naturally, it got intense reactions from many Indonesians.
Kompasiana, Indonesia's leading citizen media platform, featured some commentaries about the issue. Vishnu Andang Jaya urged Suharto's family to respect the court's ruling and to immediately return the people's money. Fadli Zontor wrote that the foundation was a mysterious entity with many questionable dealings in the past. Indira Revi urged an audit of all ‘donations’ registered by state-owned enterprises, especially during the time of Suharto.
But Hatta Celebes testified that the scholarship program was real:
I am proud to have received a scholarship from this foundation and this foundation had a positive role that many in this country are now ignoring.
Masinton Pasaribu, one of the student activists who joined the anti-Suharto rallies in 1998, urged the government to quickly implement the court's decision.
Tidak ada kata mundur sebelum berperang untuk kebenaran, Malam ini saya nyatakan Banding demi Harga diri putra putri lulusan Terbaik NKRI..!
— Hutomo Mandala Putra (@Tommy_Soeharto1) August 13, 2015
No retreat in fighting for the truth. Tonight I initiated an appeal to protect the dignity of sons and daughters of the best graduates of (Supersemar Scholarship)!
If you believe that nothing good can come from a rifle, then you have to get to know the “escopetarra”—a hybrid that transforms two “lethal” weapons (an AK-47 and a guitar) into an instrument of peace. “Escopetarra” is a Spanish blend that combines the words “escopeta” (shotgun) and “guitarra” (guitar).
In his Spanish-language podcast, Colombian musician César López talks about how he created the instrument, tracing it from the moment of its conception to all of the technical issues he faced creating it, as well as its characteristic sound.
There are more AK-47s in the world than any other gun, thanks to how unusually cheap the weapon is to make. It is estimated that there are 35-to-50 million AK-47s in existence, not counting those that are manufactured illegally each year.
“Primero, el AK 47 es el arma que más muertos le ha causado al planeta Tierra en toda su historia. Es el arma que se ha usado en Sudáfrica, Medio Oriente, Centro América, en Colombia”, dijo López en entrevista con la cadena estadounidense Univision.
“First of all, the AK-47 has caused the most deaths by any weapon on the planet. It's been used in South Africa, the Middle East, Central America, and also in Colombia”, stated López in an interview with the American television network, Univision.
The first “escopetarra” was made in 2003 using a Winchester rifle and a Stratocaster electric guitar. The rifle is taken apart in a way that it is no longer considered a weapon and cannot be used as such.
Currently, about 20 “escopetarras” have been presented to prominent musicians and international leaders who stand for peace, including the Colombian band, Aterciopelados, Argentinean musician Fito Páez, and UNESCO.
Serbian NGO SHARE Defense reported in July 2015 that leaked emails and files belonging to Milan-based software company Hacking Team (HT) published on Wikileaks reveal that at least one Serbian security service inquired about and negotiated the purchase of surveillance software from this company in 2012. There is also evidence that one or more email accounts from the Serbian Ministry of Defense appear as trial users of the spy software made by the Italian company.
The software in question is the so-called Remote Control System, or RCS, ans essentially works by targeting the spreading of viruses on computers and mobile phones of persons under surveillance. According to SHARE Defense sources, most clients using this software are governments from around the world and their security services.
SHARE Defense's legal team also called attention to which organizations might be able to gain permission and afford the use of such software:
Share Foundation wrote about the legal framework for import of this kind of software in Serbia back in 2013 because of the “Trovicor” case, stating that rules for dual use goods must be applied and that a permit from the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications is obligatory.[…]
If we assume that certain organisations can be authorized to use this equipment, in our legal system that wouldn’t be possible without a court decision in accordance with the law. Using it in any other way would be an obvious violation of human rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and numerous international conventions.
After years of promotion and reviews of documentaries devoted to social change, the site Films for Action released a list of what they consider to be the 100 most influencial and provocative. From critiques to manistream media to the corporate world, passing through the ideas and solutions proposed in and by the majority world, this list of films present a wide view of ideas that many consider crucial to discuss.
Documentaries have an incredible power to raise awareness and create transformative changes in consciousness both at the personal and global levels […] All of the films have been selected because they are either free to watch online, or can be rented online. There are several films we would have loved to add to this list, but they currently don't have an accessible way to view them. As that changes, we'll be updating this list over time. Enjoy!
A low-income neighborhood in Mexico was transformed in a giant rainbow by the collective Germen Crew—a youth organization of muralists and street artists formed by 15 graffiti artists, under the direction of Mibe (Luis Enrique Gómez Guzmán), who's teamed with Mexican Government.
The more than 200 homes of the village of Palmitas, in the city of Pachuca (Hidalgo State), are now connected through colors.
— Artsper (@Artsper) July 30, 2015
Another example of the collective's “urban neomuralism” is Mexico City's famous Jamaica Market, which comprises over 1,000 stands dedicated to the sale of flowers, floral arrangements, ornamental plants, and garden accessories. Last year, the crew created a mural that visualizes a symbolic ritual beginning with “Mother Earth” (Tonantzin) giving birth to a life-form that transforms into flowers on the south façade of the famous flower market.
In an opinion piece published in alternative magazine Conexiones, Katya Najlis explores the ideas that lead to women being harassed on the street in Nicaragua. The essay presents multiple examples and reflections linking the majority of theories defending the right of Latin American women to move about freely without concern for safety to the social conventions that perpetuate gender inequality:
Los estereotipos hacia la mujer nicaragüense se convierten en otro método de violencia que nadie regula. El machismo asume el cuerpo de la mujer como un objeto público. El uso de imágenes sexistas contribuye a esta realidad, violentándola de forma implícita y posicionándola como un objeto. […] Lamentablemente, algunas mujeres hemos llegado a pensar que es “normal” o que “por nuestra culpa” somos víctimas de este tipo de abuso, y es que los acosadores aprovechan las unidades de transporte –sobre todo las rutas–, para ofendernos sexualmente.
Stereotypes have become another way to commit violence against Nicaraguan women that nobody regulates. Macho sexism assumes that women's bodies are public objects. The use of sexist images contributes to this reality, violating a woman implicitly and positioning her as an object. […] Sadly, some of us women have been led to think this is “normal” or that “it's our fault” we are victims of this type of abuse, and it's because our aggressors use public transport — and especially the streets — to offend us sexually.
— El Universo (@eluniversocom) July 11, 2015
Pope Francis concluded his eight day tour of South America, where he held mass in the three countries he visited: Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. The pontiff's message centered on peace and the most needy.
He also advocated “playing cleanly and staying clear of corruption.”
But it was during the close of the tour in Asuncion on Saturday, July 11 where he gave one of the most political speeches of his trip stating:
Ideologies end badly; they serve no purpose. Ideologies have a relationship to the people that is absent, unhealthy or evil. Ideologies don't take into account the people. In the last century ideologies have ended in dictatorships. [Ideologies] think of the people, but don't let the people think.
Serbian Authorities Take Control of A Man's Facebook Account Following Alleged Threats Against PM Vucic
In Serbia, the detainment of individuals for personal social media postings has become almost commonplace over the last year. During the mass floods in May 2014, police arrested over a dozen individuals for allegedly “inciting panic” on social media when the country was indeed in a national state of emergency. Some were detained for several days.
In early July 2015, in the Serbian town of Aleksinac, police detained Dejan Milojevic for allegedly threatening the life of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic on his personal Facebook account. They seized his computer and other communications devices, and also took charge of his Facebook account, changing his password and locking Milivojevic out of his own account.
Serbian NGO Share Defense called the account takeover a “very intrusive measure under questionable legal basis, in particular from the aspect of international protection of privacy and freedom of expression standards.” The Share Defense team of legal experts explained the legal issues in this matter on their website:
Ovakav opis postupanja policije izdvaja aleksinački slučaj od sličnih istraga pokrenutih zbog komentara na društvenim mrežama, i otvara problem nejasnih ovlašćenja policije u digitalnom okruženju. Naime, pristup policije privatnom fejsbuk profilu nedvosmisleno predstavlja povredu tajnosti sredstava komuniciranja koja je zagarantovana članom 41 Ustava Republike Srbije. Odstupanja su moguća isključivo uz odluku suda koja bi se konkretno odnosila na sporni fejsbuk profil, o čemu za sada nema pouzdanih informacija. Dejanu Milojeviću je onemogućen pristup privatnom fejsbuk nalogu, čime mu je ograničena sloboda izražavanja i informisanja.
Policija je prilikom pretresa oduzela Milojevićev kompjuter i telefone (u skladu sa članom 147 Zakonika o krivičnom postupku), na šta ima pravo i bez posebne sudske odluke. Međutim, pretraživanje podataka o komunikaciji koji se čuvaju na tim uređajima nije moguće bez sudskog naloga.
This description of the actions of police separates the Aleksinac case from similar investigations started due to comments on social networks and opens the issue of unclear rights that police have in the digital realm. Specifically, police access to a private Facebook profile undoubtedly represents an injury to the privacy of communication, which is guaranteed under Section 41 of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia. An exception to this can only be awarded by a court, that would have to reference the Facebook profile in question…Dejan Milivojevic's access to his private Facebook account has been breached, thus his freedom of expression and right to access to information has been limited.
Police seized Milivojevic's computer and telephones during the raid (in accordance with Article 147 of the Law on Criminal Proceedings), which they are authorized to do without exceptional court order. However, search and seizure of communication information that are stored on those devices* is not allowed without a court order. [*editor's emphasis]
While Milivojevic no longer has access to his Facebook account, the status update that had police raiding his home and led to accusations that he was threatening the Prime Minister is still publicly visible on his profile:
Браћо и сестре, враг је однео шалу!!! Дајте да се организујемо да неко убије говнара и да ослободимо земљу. Доста је било, стварно!!!
Brothers and sisters, the joke has gone too far!!! Let's organize and have someone kill the shithead and liberate the country. Enough is enough, really!!!
The Prime Minister's name was not mentioned in the status update or in the comments of the post, although one commenter does ask whom Milivojevic is referencing as “the shithead”. Milivojevic also calls for a “lynching” in his responses to comments, but then later adds in a comment that “of course, I was kidding about the killing; I abhore violence, even towards such a worm and bum.”
The ISIS cyber army has allegedly hacked the website of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog on July 8, 2015, and threatened its Syrian director, Rami Abdelrahman, for his role in documenting human rights abuses committed by all parties in the ongoing war in Syria.
The news was confirmed by Reuters. SITE Intel Group also reported the hack on the UK-based site:
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) July 8, 2015
The cyber attack was made by the group, affiliated with ISIS, which calls itself the Cyber Army of the Khilafah, or the self-proclaimed Caliphate, which covers large swaths of territory across Syria and Iraq.
Below is a screenshot of the site, which is now down.
The year 2015 is especially important for our planet’s climate. One of the highlights is the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) that will take place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Paris. Diplomats from all over the world will gather to discuss global policies and France is intent on making a success out of the event.
Civil society groups, as well as journalists and bloggers are also gearing up to push for what they see as a last chance or a first step for our planet's survival, as summed up by French blogger Jack Tenin on Club Mediapart.
If you are longing to be an active part of the discussion on the side of the civil society and you are willing to come to Paris during the event, you could participate in the event at a new media information factory that includes a co-working space and can provide affordable places to stay, as well as connection to the venue.
The project aims at manufacturing a different storytelling on climate change, by
- QUESTIONNING the misconceptions of our times on the climate and sustainability topic with artists, journalists, scientists, bloggers, hackers, poets…
- COMMENTING the news and debates happening simultaneously at COP21.
- CO-CREATING new methods and tools to change positively the storytelling around «climate».
- CO-HABITING with 600 storytellers from all over the blue planet and create new connexions.
A youth hostel, St Christopher Inn, located near the Gare du Nord, with its ground floor Belushi’s bar, will exclusively host Place to B throughout the COP21.
Registration for Place to B is here. You may even meet some Global Voices contributors during this busy and massive event.
— PrensaRebelde (@RebeldePrenssa) August 9, 2015
Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, coordinator of the search for the 43 Ayotzinapa teachers’ college students, was assasinated in Mexico.
Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, 45, was found dead last weekend in a taxi he owned with a gunshot to the head.
In response to authorities’ lack of action against organized crime, he founded a self-defense group in 2013 in the Mexican state of Guerrero. A year later, the group formed a commission to launch the search for the 43 students of the rural teachers’ college in the community of Ayotzinapa who disappeared on September 26, 2014.
The BBC interviewed him about the search:
The activist never found the students, but thanks to his efforts, the search discovered 129 bodies which have been turned over to the authorities for identification.
After almost a year of research in the region and in-depth interviews with over 80 journalists, editors, and independent media owners, Human Rights Watch released a report in July 2015 stating that media freedom in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia are under threat.
The report's findings include impunity and lack of action by authorities for threats, beatings, and even murders of journalists and media workers in these countries, citing that political interference and financial pressure through heavy fines and vague laws are often imposed on independent media in these countries.
In several cases journalists said they have continued to experience physical violence and abuse after their initial attack, again, often with impunity for their assailants. Journalists reporting on war crimes or radical religious groups in BiH, Kosovo and Serbia said authorities downplayed the seriousness of online threats they had experienced.[…]
Inefficiency and severe backlogs in the four justice systems impede timely adjudication of legal cases. Cases tend to drag on for years, creating an environment that can be used to the advantage of those who seek to stifle critical reporting through criminal acts of intimidation.
Human Rights Watch's key recommendations to authorities and governments in the four countries in question following this report include public and unequivocal condemnation of all attacks against journalists and media outlets and assurance of swift and thorough investigations into all such incidents, as well as prompt and impartial investigations into all attacks and threats against journalists and media outlets, including cybercrimes. The international human rights watch dog has also recommended that the European Union, to which all four of these countries are currently aspiring, the OSCE and the Council of Europe pay closer attention and take additional steps to urge relevant authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia to react appropriately to media threats and ensure a safe environment for journalists to work in.
Zambian citizen media website Zambia Reports is facing legal threats from a local businessman, Rajan Mahtani, is petitioning GoDaddy, the website’s hosting company, to kick Zambia Reports off of its servers.
According to the Zambian Watchdog, a rival website, Zambia Reports has been accused of publishing defamatory articles on Dr. Mahtani, who is the founder of one Zambia’s biggest indigenous banks, Finance Bank and a chain of other businesses.
The US lawyers have that GoDaddy cease and desist from hosting Zambia Reports and remove its contents from GoDaddy’s servers.
Public Prosecutor's Office in Colombia to Monitor Twitter Accounts of Public Servants During Elections
— Procuraduría General (@PGN_COL) July 25, 2015
Are you aware of any irregularities which might jeopardize the transparency or security of Elections 2015? Tell us here:
On October 25, Colombians head to the polls to elect governors, departmental assemblies, mayoral offices, municipal and district councils as well as administrative boards throughout the country. Since the electoral campaign began on July 25, public officials have been banned from using social media to support candidates.
Ante la proximidad de la jornada democrática en la que los colombianos elegirán gobernaciones, asambleas departamentales, alcaldías, concejos municipales y distritales y juntas administradoras locales, la Procuraduría General de la Nación insta a los colombianos a poner en conocimiento de las autoridades competentes las posibles irregularidades que puedan afectar la transparencia y seguridad de las elecciones.
As election day draws closer, a time when Colombians will democratically elect all governing bodies throughout the country, the Office of the Inspector General urges citizens to alert the relevant authorities of any irregularities which might affect the transparency and security of the electoral process.
According to the magazine Semana, the Inspector General's office will closely monitor the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts of public servants in order to avoid any kind of political suasion. Likewise, they encouraged Colombians to make any reports of irregularities through social media or other means of communication.
Access to the visual history of most former colonial countries in Africa is usually a challenging proposition because former colonial powers restrict access to historical archives. Helihanta RAJAONARISON and Tsiry Fy-Tia SOLOFOMIHANTA in Madagascar sought to solve this issue and make the history of Madagascar more palatable to the general public by creating an online Museum of Madagascar through a collection of vintage photographs.
The website went live on July 27, 2015, and offers a glimpse of everyday lives in Madagascar from 1850 to 1960. The collections is organized in four major periods: Pre-colonial Period, Colonial Period, Major Constructions, Everyday Life and Independence.
Investigative journalists and people interested in social media in Lebanon are in for a treat at the end of this month.
The hands-on training will take place from 2pm to 6pm and covers topics related to the emergence and development of citizen journalism in the MENA region, reporting for the Web and online media verification.
Launched in March 2015, Global Voices Checkdesk is powered by the globally minded team at Meedan; working from San Francisco, Cairo, Vancouver, London and Beirut. It is a multi-year project combining research and open curriculum development with our University partner Birmingham City University, open curriculum development and training with a set of community media initiatives, and content creation through a growing network of regional media partners.
GV Checkdesk is run by Global Voices Lebanese author Joey Ayoub and Global Voices Bahrain author Faten Bushehri, who, along with a team of volunteers, have been tracking citizen media reports on breaking news across the Middle East and North Africa region. The goal is to collect witness accounts and other reports under one platform, and then verify the news, before it is used as part of our coverage at Global Voices Online. To join our GV Checkdesk team, please sign up here.
To find out how Checkdesk works, sign up here for the workshop. Hurry up as seating is limited.
Sin Embargo is a Spanish language news site based in Mexico that produces original journalism and investigative stories. The site was founded in 2011, under the slogan “rigorous journalism”, and is among Mexico's top news sites. Every month the site averages 4.6 million unique users and 10 million page views.
While many digital news operations aggregate content from other sites, founder and publisher Jorge Zepeda Patterson believes that “the only possibility for generating significant traffic is by creating your own content.”
Starting July, Global Voices will translate and publish stories from Sin Embargo on its Spanish and English language sites. Some stories may get translated into up to 30 languages through our Lingua translation project. This is the first story Global Voices published as part of the cooperation: Mexico Was Hacking Team's No. 1 Client for Spyware.
While the European immigration crisis is not showing any signs of dying down, the EU has been taking some much needed measures related to saving the lives of the people who are trying to enter Europe trough the Mediterranean. Aside from the Mediterranean Sea, migrants have also been fleeing their home countries by way of the now familiar ‘Balkan Route’, traveling from Kosovo and war-torn Middle Eastern countries. One of the key entrance points to European grounds is the route from non-EU Serbia into neighboring EU member Hungary. Hence, to keep immigrants out of the European Union, the Hungarian PM is planning on erecting a 4-meter-high, 175-kilometer-long fence along the border with Serbia.
Victor Orban, prime minister of Hungary, said during the Globsec Bratislava Security Conference:
Mađarska ne vjeruje u europsko rješenje pitanja ilegalnih imigranata, a zid prema susjedima gradi jer je to “obaveza države”.
Hungary does not believe in the European solution of the illegal immigrant problem and the wall towards our neighbors is this country's obligation
There were more than 50,000 illegal entrances to Hungary since the beginning of January 2015. At the same time, 47,000 migrants have entered Italy. Austria and Germany will return 15,000 illegal immigrants to Hungary and, by the end of the year, there could be some 150,000 immigrants in that country by the end of the year, Al-Jazeera reports.
A podcast by photojournalist Mauro Prandelli describes first-hand what is it like to be an undocumented person and to stay at the immigrant camp in Hungary, an immigrant calling the country “a dead zone for immigrants”. The interview was recorded in Bogovajda bush, 70 kilometers from Belgrade, Serbia.
In global terms, illegal immigration is a growing issue and governments are searching for a permanent solution. According to UNHCR's report ‘Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2014′, displaced persons now roughly equate to the population of Italy or the United Kingdom. The top three countries of origin of the immigrants are the Syrian Arab Republic (3.88 million), Afghanistan (2.59 million), and Somalia (1.11 million). However, many do not see building a wall between countries in the 21st century as a proper solution.
Shitemi Khamadi argues that a case where a telecommunication provider, Safaricom, has sued a Kenyan blogger Cyprian Nyakundi for defamation highlights the need for education on the law and Internet in Kenya:
The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) in whose mandate is to promote online local content has been running a project called ifreedoms. The project seeks to enlighten Kenyans of all walks of life about the law and the internet in Kenya. It conducts these training’s in various locations around the country. So far, these training’s have been held in Nairobi, Kisumu and Nyeri. It intends, in the long run, to go nationwide.
It is in the interest of BAKE that Kenyans know how they should conduct themselves online so that they responsibly, accurately and consistently tell their own stories online through blogs and social media platforms. Certainly when a blogger has a legal issue, BAKE may intervene when the cause is genuine and especially when it involves its members. It does these by assisting with legal counsel, popularizing the issue on social media and documenting it.
This Nyakundi court case validates what BAKE is doing. Nyakundi is still innocent until proven guilty. However, if he knew his legal rights and obligations, he probably would not be in the situation he is today. More importantly, more Kenyans should take queue from this to learn how they should conduct themselves online.
The alphabets of 24 indigenous languages were made official in Peru as a result of joint efforts by the Ministry of Education and numerous indigenous communities. The documents were adopted by consensus and will be used to help preserve and improve the use of these languages, both in their written and spoken forms.
De ese modo, los 24 alfabetos deberán ser usados por las entidades públicas cuando tengan que emitir información escrita dirigida a esos grupos étnicos, en concordancia con lo dispuesto también por la Ley 29735 que regula el uso, preservación, desarrollo, recuperación, fomento y difusión de las lenguas originarias del Perú.
De esa manera, se respeta el derecho de los niños y adolescentes a recibir educación en su lengua materna. Está comprobado que así aprenden mejor porque se sienten más motivados y porque se respeta su identidad cultural, fortaleciéndose su autoestima.
Thus, these 24 alphabets should be used by public entities every time they have to issue written information addressed to these ethnic groups, as it is established by the Law 29735, which regulates the use, preservation, development, recovery, foster and spread of the indigenous languages of Peru.
In this way, the right of children and teenagers to be educated in their own native language is respected. It's been proven that this is the way they can learn better, as they feel more motivated, their cultural identity is respected, and their self-esteem becomes stronger.
As usual, Twitter echoed the news:
Minedu oficializa alfabetos de 24 lenguas originarias a ser utilizados por todas las entidades públicas | MINEDU: http://t.co/qz57gbIW0W
— CTP Traductores Perú (@ctp_per) junio 17, 2015
Ministry of Education makes official the alphabets of 24 indigenous languages, which will be used by all public entities.
— Elbey Borrero (@MrsEBorrero) junio 17, 2015
Perú reconoce 24 alfabetos nativos.