Stories from Quick Reads and Digital Activism
Melody Sundberg analyses freedom of expression in Ethiopia after detained Ethiopian bloggers spent 100 days in prison:
Ethiopia is with its almost 94 million population the second most populated country in Africa. Nevertheless, it does not according to an interview with Endalkhachew Chala by Global Voices, have an independent daily newspaper or independent media. There was a need of an alternative voice and the Zone 9:ers therefore began blogging and using social media to write on subjects related to human rights. The name of the group, Zone 9, refers to the zones of the notorious Ethiopian Kality prison, where political prisoners and journalists are being held. The prison has eight zones, but the ninth “zone” refers to the rest of Ethiopia. Even if being outside of the prison walls – you are never truly free; any freethinking individual may be arrested. The bloggers wanted to be the voice of this ninth zone.
In the interview, Endalkachew says that the group had campaigns about respecting the constitution, stopping censorship and respecting the right to demonstrate. The group also visited political prisoners, such as journalists Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu. They wanted to bring the publics’ attention to them by using social media.
NGO Dominemos la Tecnología (Let's master technology) invites to the first #TweetInterview “From softactivism to thinking of a network as a space to protest”, to be held on September 1 from 11 to 13 hs (local time, -3 UTC). The event will take place on Twitter with the participation of political expert and journalist Natalia Zuazo (@nataliazzz), who is currently writing the book “Wars on the Internet”.
This collective cyberdebate aims to reflect on the impact of cyberactivism, how digital disputes counter disputes on public space, among other topics. You can submit your questions and opinions to @DominemoslasTIC.
The NGO was created on 2006 by a group of women from different parts of the world that advocte for online collaboration for social change and the empowerment of women by using information and communication technologies. Their objective is to raise awareness in internet users (especially young and adult women) to control ICT to end violence against women.
Eric Garner was a 44-year-old African-American man who died following an attempted arrest by the NY Police Department. On July 17, 2014, when police officers attempted to arrest Garner, he had broken up a fight. Garner who suffered from asthma was wrestled to the ground. Medical examiners concluded chokehold and chest compression as the primary causes of Garner's death and Garner's heart problems, obesity and asthma as additional factors. Here is a video of the accident [Warning: Graphic Images]
A few days later (28 August) in Roissy, France, Abdelhak Goradia, a 51 year old Algerian citizen also died inside a police van. The police was carrying Goradia to the airport to be deported back to Algeria when they initially affirmed that he died of a heart attack. Justice department corrected that assessment and stated that Goradia died from choking on his own gastric fluids. His lawyer stated that Goradia called him to say that he was taken away in handcuffs and a head gear. Goradia was previously charged with theft, petty crimes and violence.
Google Chrome finally becomes “legal” in Cuba and blogger Yoani Sanchez says that she gleans great satisfaction from “knowing that the opinions of citizens interested in the free flow of information and technology influenced the elimination of this prohibition.”
A U.S.-based, grassroots movement for appropriate international review of the politically motivated conviction and corresponding imprisonment of former Secretary-General (Chief of Staff) at the Presidency, Mr. Marafa Hamidou Yaya of the Republic of Cameroon.
Marafa Hamidou Yaya was sentenced to 25 years in jail in 2012 on corruption charges linked to a deal to buy a presidential plane.
What better than the seventh art to mobilize? In another effort to push for Elections in Lebanon and prevent an extension of the Parliamentary term #NoToExtension, Lebanese NGO Nahwa Al Muwatiniya (meaning Towards Citizenship) held an “Election Film Week”.
Six works from Chile, Iran, China, Ghana and the US, varying between documentaries and fiction are being screened between August 28 to September 2 at Cinema Metropolis (a theater promoting indie movies) in collaboration with the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE).
On the Facebook Page of the event, where the programme is listed, the organisers note:
We have been struggling with a fragile democracy in Lebanon, ever since its independence. Today, more than in the darkest days of the civil war, the foundations of our democracy are at risk. But we’re not alone in this. The world is full of stories about the human struggle for self-determination and democratic participation. Broadening our perspective serves our effort to improve the quality of the political system in Lebanon.
The films we picked share stories from different countries, all which portray the election process. Collectively, they reveal a combination of human values and ideals and the efforts politicians make to win an election.
To see a glimpse of the movies, check out the trailer posted on Nahwa Al Muwatiniya Youtube Page.
The current parliament extended its four-year stay for the first time in May 2013. And like a year before, various parties are supporting the move this time around under the pretext of security conditions.
The end of the parliamentary term comes amidst a period of turmoil in Lebanon. The country has lacked a president since May 25 after parliament failed to elect a new head of state and top officials could not reach political consensus. A general strike by syndicates demanding to approve a new enhanced wage scale for civil servants has threatened to paralyze the entire country. Lebanon has experience instability on both Syrian and Israeli borders after soldiers were kidnapped by members of Islamic militant organization ISIS.
— Vaintche Rahouli (@vincraholi) August 28, 2014
Twitter and Facebook users from Madagascar's capital city, Antananarivo, have posted several photos of locusts invading the city. Locust invasions are not unusual in Madagascar, especially after tropical storms, but they are very uncommon in larger cities. Locusts can have a devastating effect on crops, especially in a country that has struggled with bouts of famine in past years.
A program of the Center for Victims of Torture, New Tactics is an NGO working to support human rights defenders around the world. Their work includes sharing resources, training, and building an online community. As they say on their website:
Creating change is challenging. If we’re clear about where we are starting from, where we want to get to, and the path from one to the other, we’re more likely to get there.
- Identify the problem
- Create a vision
- Map the terrain
- Explore tactics
- Take action
Each section includes videos, worksheets, and exercises to help the user move through the process.
They are also looking for people to share both tools and feedback — within each of the five steps there is space for contributions. The toolkit is ongoing, and New Tactics hopes to continue adding new elements.
CrisisNET finds, formats and exposes crisis data in a simple, intuitive structure that’s accessible anywhere. Now developers, journalists and analysts can skip the days of tedious data processing and get to work in minutes with only a few lines of code.
The Association for Progressive Communications is asking LGBT activists, women's rights activists, queer bloggers and anyone with an active voice on issues of gender and sexuality on the Internet to participate in their 2014 EROTICS survey. APC explains that the survey seeks to help advocates “understand how sexual rights activists (from a variety of focuses and countries) use the internet to advance their work, what sort of risks, harassment, content regulation, or censorship they deal with, and how they respond to them.” The organization plans to use this information to help increase access to digital security for sexual rights activists and advocate for gender and sexuality issues among Internet rights activists. At a deeper level, they hope to:
…expose the connection between the regulation of sexual speech and content on the Internet and provide evidence that will help sexual rights activists explain the impact of such regulation on their lives and their work.
The EROTICS survey is available in Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Take the EROTICS survey here and visit the project website to learn more about the study.