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Highway Africa 2014 Extends Deadline for Registration

The deadline for registration for the 18th annual Highway Africa Conference has been extended to Friday, 08 August 2014:

Due to the influx of interest in the 18th annual Highway Africa Conference, the deadline for registration has been extended to Friday, 08 August 2014.

The world’s largest annual gathering of African Journalists takes place at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, from 7 – 8 September 2014.

With the theme, “Social Media – from the margins to the mainstream”, the event will explore how social media have impacted on all aspects of our lives in the last ten years.

Spanish Congress Comission Approves AEDE Tax or Google Tax

The Spanish Congress’ Commission of Culture approved the so called AEDE Tax (for the Spanish name of the Association of Editors of Spanish Newspapers), also known as Google Tax as part of the draft bill of the Law of Intellectual Property.

GurusBlog explains what is this tax about:

A tax by which an inalienable right is created so every journalistic update website automatically generates a collection right on any other website that links to it. An organ like a SGAE (for the Spanish name of General Society of Authors and Publishers) will be in charge of the collection and the distribution among its associates.

On Xataca they note:

Unlike Germany, the media group that is lobbying for this legislation -AEDE- gets the “inalienability” to be added so as to avoid to be self-evident: if Google has to pay a medium for linking from Google News, it would suffice to take it out, and after realizing the sudden loss of traffic, that medium might request to get back without any fee.

After some tweets, some netizens are upset:

Angrier than me with the AEDE tax. Überfav, unfortunately.

This AEDE tax is ridiculous and it goes against the nature of Internet itself! LINKING IS NOT A CRIME!

Other users are promoting not linking to the media:

WordPress plugn to block all URLs than link to AEDE y the Spanish Center of Republishing Rights.

The Hypocrisy of Outrage Against LGBT Rights in Jamaica

An off-colour comment by a Jamaican sports commentator who “dampened the moment of post World Cup celebrations with his shouts of ‘Heil Hitler’ on national television” leads author and blogger Kei Miller to pen a letter to the editor illustrating why his countrymen are living a double standard – outraged by the Hitler reference, most Jamaicans seem to have no problem “liv[ing] comfortably in a period of bigotry” when it comes to LGBT rights.

But wait, some may argue…isn't that like comparing apples and oranges? Perhaps, but Miller argues that the two can be compared:

The point of any comparison is never to make things equal. A thing is only equal to itself. My point really is…that it is interesting a widespread reaction against the historical REMINDER of bigotry, when there are other contemporary expressions of bigotry being tolerated and even celebrated.

Palestinians are Friends with Journalists

Marcelino Torrecilla N. has started a series in Spanish called Stories from Gaza. The first installment by this United Arabe Emirates based Colombian was published on El Tiempo of Bogotá and tells a story of two Gulf News journalists in Abu Dhabi.

Taking pictures in the Gulf is challenging and even when trying to take pictures of women. But Palestinians are used to be photographed. The media are friends of the Palestinians and they know that. as Torrecilla translates:

In Gaza it is very different. With one of the highest concentrations of media in the world, the people of Gaza are used to being photographed. Not only this, but they welcome the eyes of the world. The Palestinians don't have an army to fight with. They have the rocks they throw at Israeli soldiers and they have their tears.

For more stories about the Gaza Strip in Spanish told by an eye witness, follow Marcelino Torrecilla's updates on Twitter.

This post was part of the elventh #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on July 14, 2014.

#NoBakchich, a Cameroonian App to Fight Administrative Corruption

Paul Biya, president of Cameroon - Public Domain

Paul Biya, president of Cameroon – Public Domain

Corruption is a well-documented issue in Cameroon. For decades, political scandals have infamously stained the public administration due to multiple embezzlement charges, which in turn led to the creation of a special task force to fight corruption named  ”Operation Epervier“.

The outcome of the task force has been mixed so far. Therefore, Cameroonian citizens have taken it upon themselves to report and combat corruption more effectively. A group of IT programmers created an app called NoBakchich that crowdsources all the information related to administrative procedures so that citizens have a clear picture of how to get paperwork done and how much it should cost. The app also allows citizens to report any bribes that they have had to face:

Ainsi, chacune d'elles est gratifiée d’une notation, baptisée «compteur de tchoko»,informant les autres usagers des bonnes ou mauvaises pratiques.  

Each administrative procedure will be given a notation, called “Tchoko (bribe in local language) counter” informing other users of public services involved in bad practices.

Le Griot reports that $600 million US dollars are lost annually because of corruption, one-third of which is from illegal logging of the national forests.

Trinidad & Tobago Minister Passes the Buck with Failed LifeSport Programme

Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister has shut down the controversial Life Sport programme following the results of an audit, which uncovered the ministry's inability to account for millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money. The programme was originally intended to provide disenfranchised youth with options to a life a crime through sport, but ironically, the Minister of National Security alleged that funds from the programme were being paid to criminals. In a satirical post about the issue, Wired868 says:

Persad-Bissessar [the Prime Minister] said the contents of the Auditor General’s report into Life Sport would be forwarded to the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions] and Integrity Commission, which do not have their own investigators, and the Police Service that, based on its record, could not find sand at the beach.

Roberts [the Minister of Sport] followed the Prime Minister’s lead by suggesting that the criminal activity was done by his employees and the buck stops with them, which…is arguably the equivalent of a motorist pleading innocent to a fatal accident because he closed his eyes just before impact.

Colombian Sentenced to Prision and Fined for Comments Online

On a judicial ruling that sets a dangerous precedent in Colombia, the Supreme Court of Justice refused to reconsider an appeal taken on the verdict that orders 18 months of imprisonment and a 9,5 milon pesos fine (about US$5,1000) for netizen Gonzalo López for comments published on El País newspaper website, in the Colombian city of Cali.

On 2008, López called Gloria Lucía Escalante, former officer at a public utilities company, a “rat”.

Newspaper El Espectador wonders if this is not a threat against the freedom of expression and shares opinions by lawyers who consider there is a confunsion between information and opinion.

One and a half years without cassation by Gonzalo López to dismiss verdict for slander.

What abot his right of free expression? Supreme Court condemns Gonzalo Hernán López for telling Gloria Escalante what he thinks. Wrong!

Some netizens have sarcastic opinions that the decision should be for former president Alvaro Uribe:

(Former president Alvaro) Uribe accused (former president Juan Manuel) Santos without producing evidence, he is free. Gonzalo Lopez accuses Gloria Escalante on the internet and he serves 18 months. Equality?

2 Journalists Arrested for Alleged Defamation of a Minister in Madagascar

Two journalists from the daily paper Madagascar Matin were placed under arrest at Antanimora's jail, in the capital city of Madagascar, Antananarivo. Earlier this morning (July 23), both of them were summoned to the Brigade of Fiadanana for a hearing.  Solo Rajaonson, another local journalist,  posted the following update in Malagasy on Facebook :

About the latest news regarding freedom of press in Madagascar: our colleagues, the Publication Manager of the newspaper Madagascar Matin, Jean Luc Rahaga and his Editor-In-Chief, Didier Ramanoelina are placed under arrest at the penitentiary of Antanimora in Antananarivo, Madagascar. This is the result of a complaint of defamation from  Rivo Rakotovao, the Minister of Transport and Industry. So much for breaking away from our recent dark past, I guess

 

“Racism is Not an Issue in Latin America” — Seriously?

In an opinion piece for the New York Times titled “Latin America's Talent for Tolerance,” Enrique Krauze proposes the notion that Latin America is less prone to racism:

[...] European-style racism — which not only mistreats and discriminates but also persecutes and, in the very worst cases, tries to exterminate others because of their ethnicity — has been the exception and not the rule in modern Latin America.

Krauze's opinion piece prompted blogger Julio Ricardo Varela to question the validity of his position in an article written for Latino Rebels:

At the beginning of the piece, Krauze starts with FIFA’s “Say No To Racism” campaign,”a message” that “was particularly directed toward the soccer stadiums of Europe, where there have been many instances of racial taunting and physical aggression by hostile fans against African and other black players.” Just a few sentences later, Krauze is quick to let us know that such racism doesn’t occur in the Americas: “the stadiums of Latin America have for the most part been free of this phenomenon, despite the fervent nationalism and fanaticism of the fans.” I am guessing that neither Krauze nor his Times editor did some actual fact-checking because in just five minutes, I was able to locate several examples of racism in Latin American stadiums.

After pointing out that so-called “European-style racism is what formed Latin America in the first place,” Varela concludes with these words:

When we as Latin Americans admit the truth and confront it head on, only then can real change occur. In the meantime, the literal whitewashing of Latin American history needs to be monitored and when it appears in mass media, we must all do our best to quickly call out this ignorant attitude. The only way to transform society is to ensure that we don’t allow certain opinions to become the standard. We can do better, and we will. One tweet at a time.

Vigilante Justice on the Rise in Senegal

Sada Tangara, a photographer and blogger based in Dakar, Senegal posted a photoreport on the rise of vigilante justice on the streets of Dakar, capital city of Senegal. He explains the genesis of his project and why this type of popular justice is prominent in Dakar [fr] :

Il faut savoir qu’à Dakar, quand un délinquant se fait attraper par une foule alors qu’il vient de commettre un crime ou un délit, il est systématiquement tabassé, grièvement blessé et meurt parfois des suites de ces coups. J’ai donc voulu comprendre ce cycle de violence et montrer la vengeance disproportionnée que subissent parfois les délinquants en retour de leurs actes [..] Pour les Dakarois, cette justice populaire est un moyen d’effrayer les agresseurs et d’essayer de les dissuader de revenir dans leur quartier.

In Dakar, when an angry crowd manages to catch a delinquent that has just committed an infraction or a crime, he is systematically beaten, and is often seriously injured and may even die. I wanted to understand this cycle of violence and to show the disproportionate violence that some of these delinquents suffer as a result of their actions [..] For the people of Dakar, this type of popular justice is a way to scare potential perpetrators and to deter them from coming back to their homes.

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