Although K-drama (South Korean soap opera) seems doing well internationally, South Koreans’ discontent and complaints on its repeated patterns and cliched scenarios and characters are bubbling under. Recently, as major network TV, KBS decided to extend a poorly-written soap opera ‘Princess Aurora’ which many call an ‘insult to viewers’ intelligence', net users have started gathering signatures. And this rather unusual online petition [ko] calling to end the show and overthrow an extremely powerful screenwriter, Im Sung-han, is gaining traction; the first round of petition already surpassed its target of 10 thousand signatures in about a week, and seven thousands have signed in its second round.
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Mildred Largaespada [es] from the blog 1001 Trópicos [es] writes that Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega “wants to reform the country's political constitution in order to be forever re-elected, among other issues in which he also wants absolute power.”
In a post [es] dedicated to President Ortega, Mildred concludes:
We don't want to be his women. Nor his men. Nor his children. Nor his people. We don't want only his laws, nor simply the god, Holy Virgin, saints or angels that he dreams up. We don't want to cross ourselves with his prayers. We don't want our country to be only his. Nor our past, present and future. Nor that of our sons and daughters. We don't want his padlocks. We don't want him to tell us how and when to breathe, who to talk with, what to think, what to say. If he wants to live constrained for the rest of his days, let him tie himself up.
Twitter users are sharing their reactions with the hashtag #ReformáÉsta [Reform This].
“What is the purpose of the massive protests?”, a question that many Portuguese citizens have repeated since the economic crisis started, has become a motto for a Laboratory of Democracy organized by the non-profit association Academia Cidadã (Citizen Academy).
The “informal debate about the occupation of the public space in large scale demonstrations” in Portugal will take place on November 14, 2013, at The Nation Room – Embassy of No Land of 2013′s Architecture Triennale of Lisbon, and will be broadcast via livestream:
O que muda no país quando centenas de milhares de pessoas se manifestam? Serve de alguma coisa dizer apenas que o caminho “não é por aí”? Se os políticos não ouvem de que serve perder um dia a gritar? E que alternativas e propostas têm os protestantes? Quem organiza as manifestações deve ser responsabilizado pela situações de violência? Ou a violência é a resposta possível ao estado a que chegámos? A polícia tem agentes infiltrados a criar agitação?
What is the change that comes in the country when hundreds of thousands of people demonstrate? Is there any point to just [criticize and] say that the path [to follow] is “not that way”? If politicians do not hear, then why should one waste a day shouting? And which alternatives and proposals do protesters have? Those who organize demonstrations should be made responsible for the situations of violence? Or is violence the possible answer to the state that we have reached? Does the police use undercover agents to “agitate”?
Aiming at “helping to create political, economic and social alternatives to the austerity”, the debate, moderated by journalist São José Almeida, will bring together the main collectives that have mobilized massive protests in Portugal in the last years to share the ”defeats, achievements and challenges to the current ways of protesting”. Guests include members of the Geração à Rasca (“Scraping-By” Generation) protest that started the March 12 Movement back in 2011, Plataform October 15, Screw Troika!, and also the trade union federation CGTP (General Confederation of the Portuguese Workers). More activities hosted by Academia Cidadã are planned until November 16.
The prestigious Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 is taking place in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo and the government ensured an expensive makeover of the city for the distinguished guests. Groundviews posts a guide to the other sides of the city which are apparently invisible to the guests.
The Movimiento Independentista Nacional Hostosiano (MINH), a Puerto Rican pro-independence movement, is organizing a peaceful protest on November 23 to demand the liberation of Oscar López Rivera. López Rivera is the longest-held political prisoner in the western hemisphere, charged with “seditious conspiracy” for his struggle for Puerto Rico's independence from the U.S. López Rivera has already been imprisoned for 32 years in several federal prisons in the U.S. José M. López Sierra, writing on his blog Compañeros Unidos por la Descolonización de Puerto Rico, has posted further details on the protest, along with this video, which shows the highly respected Puerto Rican actor, Jacobo Morales, urging people to join the protest.
The FIRE programme awards, an initiative of AFRINIC, acknowledge the actors from the African region who strive to provide solutions to internet development for the African Continent. The 2013 FIRE Awards Winners are :
- Nikohapa Ventures Ltd for their customer engagement platform (Kenya)
- HSoft Africa, Ltd for an adapted mail-order pharmacy (Benin & more)
- Make Every Woman count (MEWC) for empowering African women and girls through the use of online resources (all nations)
- CINETCORE for the VENAME Platform that aims to promote, management and sale of African cc TLDs through mobile payment (Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal and Mali)
Below is the presentation of the MEWC initiative :
Peruvian human rights organizations are speaking out against [es] the appointment [es] of pro-Fujimori congresswoman Martha Chávez [es] as a member of the Human Rights Commission in Congress due to her history [es] of disrespect of human rights.
Yesterday, November 5, Congress rejected [es] the request by congressman Heriberto Benítez -who had previously voted for Martha Chávez- to disable the commission.
— Alvaro Giles (@AlvaroGiles1) November 6, 2013
We have returned to the streets because we are outraged!
A special webpage ‘NIS 2012‘ [ko] was set up by savvy net users to host an interactive timeline explaining how the NIS (National Intelligence Service)’ election manipulation scandal has unfolded over the year. The site also features a diagram displaying relations and dynamics between concerned interest groups and political powerhouses and a list of top ridiculous quotes made by politicians and spy agents.
Jay Harish Shah, an Indian passenger who travelled on Air France and had an unforgettable experience, did not stop at filing complaint with the airlines. He created a blog titled One Night In Paris sharing his plights which went viral prompting the airline to reply quickly. He shares his subsequent communications with the airlines in the same blog.
Clashes continue to intensify in small South Korean village Miryang as senior villagers resist the government's decision to impose electrical power lines across their land, saying they will fight to the death for their land and living rights. An environmental group started a grassroot campaign in Daum Agora site [ko] of gathering small donations from individuals to provide solar panels for the villagers. Over 1400 net users have participated so far.
On 0ctober 30, 87 people trying to reach the Mediterranean sea died after being abandoned in the Sahara Desert when their drivers left them stranded to seek for help. The harrowing story of one the survivors, 14-year-old Shafa, highlights the plight of many migrants trying to reach Europe and the obstacles they face. In an article entitled “dying at the gates of Europe”, Philippe Rekacewicz, a french cartographer, illustrates with a series of map the story of the migrants struggle from Africa to Europe [fr]:
Protests have continued against South Korea's spy agency who allegedly interfered with the latest presidential election and manipulated public opinion to tip the scales in favor of current president Park Geun-hye. Ahead of Park's official visit to Western Europe, Koreans living in France held candlelight vigils denoucing the allegations and more are planned next week in the United Kingdom and France. @wjsfree posted a nice roundup of protest photos and links.
As the “50 member-committee” meets to amend Egypt's constitution, some civil society organizations and urban activists participated in producing what they called the “urban constitution document” [Ar]:
We present this document to “50 member-committee” as a comprehensive suggestion for articles we see important in being added to the constitution. What's more important is that we present it to all Egyptian people to work together and unify our efforts to see these rights becoming a reality.
Join us in adopting these rights, share it all over your neighborhoods, regions, villages and cities. Join the debate to improve the document. At the end, if you agree with it and the rights it presents, sign the document and help us gather signatures through spreading the word all over Egypt to make this a popular demand.
Bahrain interior ministry allegedly ordered 1.6 million teargas canisters to use against protesters, and South Korean company DaeKwang is believed to be one of the major suppliers. R. Elgin wrote in Marmot's Hole blog about the ironic history of tear gas– a notorious symbol of Korean government's clampdowns back in 70-80s becoming a money-maker nowadays. Earlier this month, net users tweeted photos of protesters outside the Korean embassy in London, calling Korean companies to stop selling toxic gas.
‘Internet Needs an Uncompromising “Marco Civil” in Brazil!‘, state international organizations that advocate for free speech and freedoms online in an open letter released on October 28, 2013 (on the eve of the vote on Brazil's ‘bill of rights’ for Internet users). Its opening paragraph reads:
The “Marco Civil da Internet” is a remarkably progressive legislative text to protect Internet and fundamental rights online in Brazil. It has been drafted through an unprecedented collaborative effort involving citizens. But for the past 3 years, it has remained stuck in Parliament, under heavy pressure by industry – mostly telecom – lobbies.
As Global Voices reported earlier this month, Brazil's House of Representatives and Senate had to analyze the bill until the end of October, following a request for urgency in the examination by President Dilma Rousseff last September 11, 2013. Rousseff's speech at the United Nations in the end of September, with tough criticisms of US government surveillance programs and a proposal for the global development of a new digital policy, has grabbed the attention of international organizations.
Encouraging for a “swift adoption” of Marco Civil in Brazil, the open letter was initiated by La Quadrature du Net and has already been signed by global organizations such as Wikileaks, Reporters Without Borders and Article19, as well as other national organizations from Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Poland and Spain.
The cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved a bill [ja] on October 25, 2013 to impose tougher penalties on civil servants, lawmakers and others who leak national secrets and harm national security. The so-called Secret Information Protection Act has been unpopular among Japanese press, human rights advocates, and citizens who fear that the government would conceal radiation information.
Information security law expert Lawrence Repeta examines potential risks of this bill such as right to access information in comparison with the American cases of Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning.
Before the bill was approved, the government accepted comment from the public, and among 90,480 comments submitted in a two-week span in early September, 69,579 were against the bill. The bill awaits the approval of parliament.
Today, October 26, was the day Saudi activists chose to protest against the driving ban on women in the Kingdom. As social networks were buzzing under increasing number of reports of women driving across the country, a brilliant a capella remake of Bob Marley's “No Woman, No Cry” spread at the speed of light, in a sound support of brave women challenging conservative sexist legislation and pseudo-scientific justification of them being prohibited to enjoy freedom of movement:
Subverting the discourse of austerity, a protest was held in Lisbon earlier this week to “thank” the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission for the ongoing measures to tackle the economic crisis in Portugal.
The protest took place on October 21, 2013, and gained the attention of mainstream media though journalists were surprised to find out that protesters were just being ironic:
De forma a: 1. mostrar, usando uma linguagem clara e sem subterfúgios o que realmente a troika e o governo querem, 2. tornar clarinho como água o que já sabiamos, que só 2% dos portugueses acredita que a austeridade está a funcionar; e 3. divulgar a manifestação de dia 26 de Outubro, o grupo Que se Lixe a troika, organizou este protesto recorrendo à ironia e ao humor.
Aiming at 1. showing, through a clear and direct language, what troika and the government really want; 2. making something we already knew crystal clear: that only 2% of the Portuguese believe austerity is working; and 3. spreading the word out about the protest called for October 26, the group Que se lixe a Troika (Screw Troika) organized this protest resorting to irony and humour.
In a video from October 21′s action you can hear messages of “support” such as ”485 euros a month?? Isn't that a bit too much? 150 or 200 would be just fine!” or:
We came here to thank Troika, to thank austerity, I believe we must get poorer, because not everyone can have rights, isn't it?
Check out the caption of the poster above for more information about the national protest called for October 26.
Future Places, a former digital media festival that is turning into a “media lab for citizenship” for its sixth edition, will take place in Porto, Portugal, from October 28 to November 2, 2013.
“A festival without an audience, where everyone who is present participates and discovers in real time ways of collaborating”, explained curator Heitor Alvelos in an inspiring closing note [pt] of 2012′s edition, recalling the ongoing motto since 2008 ”technology are potential tools for the emancipation of citizens”:
não subscrevemos o paradigma que está por detrás da instantaneidade vertiginosa e auto-referente dos gadgets digitais. Queremos usá-los, sim, mas recusamos a amnésia que muitas vezes transportam e induzem. Queremos simultaneamente honrar uma herança histórica, analógica, que atribui sentido e explica o que somos hoje; queremos cultivar a determinação que permite revoluções lentas, mudanças de paradigma a longo prazo; e participando em actos de contestação ao que é socialmente injusto, queremos simultaneamente propor.
we do not endorse the paradigm that lies behind the dizzying instantaneity and self-reference of digital gadgets. We want to use them, yes, but we refuse the amnesia that they often carry and induce. We both honor a historic and analog inheritance which gives sense and explains what we are today; we want to cultivate the determination that allows for slow revolutions, paradigm shifts in the long term; and while actively contesting what is socially unjust, we want to simultaneously make proposals.
The event will bring together scholars, artists, scientists and technologists for a week of practices and debate on digital media. A series of citizen labs will offer workshops on stopmotion, music, gaming, photography, and more.
South Korean conglomerate Samsung has come under fire for their notorious labor violations. ‘International Campaign for Health and Labour Rights of Samsung Electronics Workers‘ explains about South Korean Court's recent ruling that orders industrial-accident payouts to the bereaved family of a former Samsung employee who died of leukemia.
October 17 was the international Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Four groups, the Abbé Pierre Foundation, France Inter, Génération réactive et la Fondation Agir contre l'exclusion de Seine-Saint-Denis decided to give four homeless persons a platform on twitter to narrate their everyday lives. They live in different cities of France: Paris, Metz or Bourges. The blog Tweets2rue explains in more details the objective of the project [fr]:
une expérience de 6 mois où la parole est directement donnée aux personnes de la rue pour raconter, via Twitter, leur quotidien ou partager leurs états d'âmes.
This will be a 6-months-long project in which homeless folks will directly tell their story via twitter, their everyday lives and their ups and downs
With their mobile phones, Patrick (@kanter57640, 47 and homeless for 3 years), Ryan (@usher226, 24, and homeless for 4 months), Nicolas (@nickopompons, 36, 10 year homeless) and Sébastien ( @DjamaikaPtiseb, 33, also 10 years without a home) will share their lives in the streets directly on social networks. You can also follow the project via the hashtag #tweets2rue.
According to information leaked by Edward Snowden and reported by the German publication Der Spiegel, the NSA (National Security Agency) “has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican government for years.”
A Snowden leak, discussed in detail in Der Spiegel, shows how the NSA broke into the email servers of the Mexican president Felipe Calderon's public account, and used that access to wiretap the president, cabinet members, and senior diplomats. The NSA described the program, called “Flatliquid” as “lucrative.” A second program, “Whitetamale,” also spied on senior Mexican politicians (including presidential candidate Peña Nieto), targeting efforts to change the country's disastrous War on Drugs.
The Guardian reports that Mexico's foreign ministry condemned these allegations and stated that “this practice is unacceptable, illegal and against Mexican and international law.” The foreign ministry also said that “US President Barack Obama had pledged to carry out an ‘exhaustive investigation’ into who was responsible for the suspected spying.”
More revelations of the spy agency's election manipulation scandal came out, rekindling several month-long protests. Three agents were being probed on Oct 18 for tweeting and re-tweeting political articles to influence pubic opinion. On Oct 19, about 20 thousands[ko] attended a mass candlelight vigil in Seoul protesting the spy agency scandal. @Wjsfree gathered photos of this weekend's protests held across the country.
October 10 saw the official launch of Dandin.me, a novel independent platform whose founders are based in Egypt. Abdel-Rahman Hussein, one of the people behind Dandin.me, explains what it aims to achieve:
The rationale behind it was our desire to create an audio platform that would manage to encompass a wide array of emerging talent in the region, in their respective arenas. It is a platform for expression, in whatever guise, and the flip side of that is the hope that this expression finds an engaged audience via the platform.
Representatives of the organizations that manage the technical infrastructure of the Internet meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay, have released a Declaration on the future of Internet cooperation [es], in which they analyze the problems currently affecting the future of the Internet.
Among other things, they mention the importance of globally consistent Internet operations and warn against the fragmentation of the Internet at a national level, while expressing their concern about the global decrease in confidence of Internet users due to the recent revelations of monitoring and surveillance.
This can, in some way, be considered as a response to proposals that go in that direction, such as that recently advanced by the president of Brazil, Dilma Roussef, before the UN and to the activities of the NSA.
OpenStreetMap users volunteered their time to create a crisis map of Izu Oshima island [ja], a small island to the south of Tokyo where more than a dozen of people were killed by mudslides triggered by this week's deadly Typhoon Wipha. The red dots on the map represent reports submitted by users, which give information on things such as disaster relief, blocked roads, and water supply.
With 5.6 million users (September 2013 Data) Facebook is very popular in Bangladesh. Badrud Doza reports that a Facebook group and a TV show titled ‘Aamrai Bangladesh’ (We are Bangladesh) are changing the face of Bangladesh.
The group is dedicated to connect the young people who are involved in community works and committed to social service.
They are acting as a platform to organize the largest network of online blood donation groups in the country. They also focused on the other community support work-service to the poor, collect money for the critical patients to cover their costs, connect police to people etc.
Léonarda Dibrani, 15, was on field trip with her schoolmates when she was detained by the french police, near Levier, France. She was later deported with the rest of her family [fr] to Kosovo as illegal immigrants. The Dibrani family fled Kosovo about five years ago because they are Roma. Léonarda tells the story of her deportation andthe conditions in which she lives now[fr], not being able to speak Albanian nor Serbian. In a social context where Roma population is frequently stigmatized, the french government has promised to conduct an investigation on the conditions of the arrest. The hash tag #Leonarda has been a trending topic on French social networks since the arrest and more 3000 people have already signed a petition for her return. Many observers have noted that the law has been applied appropriately in this particular case.