Stories from Quick Reads and Media & Journalism
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.
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!
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.
Storipot is a News aggregator that provides you with headlines of the latest stories (“Feeds”) curated from websites and blogs by or about Uganda.
Storipot helps you filter through the noise of today’s vast information by bringing to surface a summary of the day's most important stories on a single page.
We are currently doing this through clever computer algorithms that routinely crawl through our large database of more than 250(as of launch) Ugandan content sources. We analyze and gauge all this content to bring you the most compelling content on the web from Uganda.
However, with the understanding that nothing beats the human judgement, Storipot also employs human editorial curation mechanisms. With a team of long-time experienced bloggers and journalists, we sieve through the blog sphere to discover and bring you great content that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Designed for both readers and publishers.
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.
The Cambodian Center for Human Rights has launched a portal documenting the human rights violations experienced by Cambodian journalists. Cambodia's constitution guarantees freedom of speech but journalists are still harassed and killed, especially those who report about the abuses committed by local officials and business interests with ties to powerful leaders.
The proposed Prevention of Electronic Crimes (PEC) Bill in Pakistan has raised concern among local and international human rights organisations as it could put at risk freedom expression and privacy in Pakistan.
Mariam at Catalyst Woman blog reports:
After the dedicated efforts of numerous advocacy groups, ngos and private citizens, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication has agreed to a public hearing of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes (PEC) Bill 2015 this Friday, 22 May in Islamabad.
Invitations to the “public” hearing have only been extended to six people to appear before a committee of 20 members. According to the Joint Action Committee on the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 (PECB) & Alliance For Access:
This is contrary to the spirit of a “public hearing.”
The Joint Action Committee members are definitely among the stakeholders, but we are not the only ones. Instead of hand-picking selected invitees, we call upon the NA Standing Committee on IT to conduct the public hearing in a proper manner, by opening it to all concerned members of the public and invite the entire print and electronic media too, in the spirit of transparency and openness.
The Catalyst woman blog proposed a #Tweetstorm to raise awareness of the public’s concerns about the Cyber Crime Bill in its current state. “There should be a public debate on all aspects of the bill,” the blog says.
Over 20 members of three Venezuelan media groups, El Nacional and Tal Cual, as well as news site La Patilla, are now prohibited from leaving the country. Caracas judge María Eugenia Núñez ordered the restriction on the opposition media figures, who are “accused of ‘continuing aggravated defamation'”, according to broadcaster NTN24.
Venezuela places travel ban on opposition media execs – VideoNewsUs http://t.co/ZAvKZNM7k9
— Democracy News Ven (@DemNewsVen) May 13, 2015
The court order was requested on April 28 by the National Assembly president, Diosdado Cabello, seen as one of president Nicolás Maduro’s closest allies in government and member of the ruling PSUV party. It was stated that these media organizations had affected the government's reputation by featuring “unscrupulous” publications from ABC, a Spanish daily newspaper.
The reports published in January alleged that Cabello was connected to drug trafficking in Venezuela.
As a result, Cabello sued for defamation everyone of importance at newspapers El Nacional, La Patilla and Tal Cual; as well as 22 members of the respective boards, including Miguel Henrique Otero, editor-in-chief of El Nacional, Teodoro Petkoff, from Tal Cual, and Alberto Ravell from La Patilla.
Alberto Ravell and Miguel Henrique Otero found out about the court rulling while travelling outside the country. They declared, respectively, that they will return to Venezuela in a few days to face the charges, and that their editorial lines will not change.
Despite what it seems like a violation of freedom of speech, even international treaties exempt such reproductions of news items from legal liability, except for the source.
Teodoro Petkoff, director of TalCual, and one of Venezuela’s most outspoken government critics, has already been banned from leaving the country because of another defamation lawsuit filed by Cabello last year. Petkoff recently received a prestigious journalism award in Spain, but was unable to collect it in person. The award was instead received on his behalf by former Spanish president Felipe Gonzalez, who spoke about attacks to freedom against expression in Venezuela.
According to Venezuelan law, the Court needs to notify each of the defendants, something that has yet to be done. Also, under no circumstance can a judge rule this prohibition without having talked to them first.
This defamation case had a very timely consideration and resolution, something noticeable in a country where the average prisoner has not seen a Judge in the first few months after its detention, or has spent around two years in prison without sentence, something analyzed in the blog The Devil's Excrement.
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.
The application RhinoBirdTV, developed by the Chilean Felipe Heusser, who founded the NGO Ciudadano Inteligente, allows users to share video experiences in real time. The makers of RhinoBirdTV hope their product will help facilitate a more democratic world by breaking down boundaries and connecting people through simple-to-distribute live videos.
RhinoBirdTV chose to launch its Android version on April 20, the day of the 119th annual Boston Marathon, allowing users to broadcast and receive live videos from the event, following the hashtag #bostonmarathon.
On Twitter, people welcomed RhinoBirdTV with enthusiasm and high expectations:
— Matias del Rio (@matiasdelrio) April 20, 2015
Far from the Marathon is a marvel made in Chile the USA.
— Rhinobird.TV (@RhinoBirdTv) April 20, 2015
Los Chilenos en Boston son unos capos. Aguantando el frío y la lluvia para apoyar @RhinoBirdTv Emocionante.
— felipe heusser (@fheusser) April 20, 2015
Chileans in Boston are bosses. Enduring the cold and rain to support.
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.
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.
Herve Cornara's Relatives Want Him to Be Remembered as a Great Guy, Not the Beheaded Victim of a Lunatic
Herve Cornara was the manager of ATC, a delivery company in Chassieu in the suburbs of Lyon, France. More importantly, he was a father of a young man and loved by his relatives and colleagues.
Cornara was killed and beheaded by Yassin Salhi next to a ISIS flag at a factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, in the Isère region. Salhi is a truck driver and father of three. He was born in Pontarlier, France; his mother now lives in Morocco and his late father was Algerian.
Il était investi, c'était quelqu'un qui voulait toujours aider les gens. Je vais continuer ce qu'il a commencé
He was invested in his community. I will continue the work he started
Pascal Servino, a friend of Cornara, adds:
C'était un homme affectueux, généreux. Il était strict sur le quartier : dès que quelque chose n'allait pas, il se mobilisait pour résoudre les problèmes. Il va nous manquer.
He was an affectionate, generous man. He was relentless when it came to the community: when something went wrong, he would get involved right away to solve the issue. He will be missed.
20,000 Nigeriens took to the streets in Niamey, Niger on June, 6. There are multiple causes for the protests: endemic poverty, mediocre governance and restricted free speech are among the main grievances from Nigerien civil society. These protests come on the hill of similar uprisings in Burkina Faso, Burundi and Togo. The government resigned in Burkina Faso while elections are postponed in Burundi. In May, citizens in Lome protested presidential election results that saw Togolese president Faure Gnassingbe won a third term.
Cowing wrote on her Facebook page (which is private, but quoted with permission below):
Woaaa, talk about “it's a small world” moment. I had a suspicion the girl opposite me was taking a sneaky phone picture on the Eiden the other weekend. Sure enough, that photo appeared on Instagram, and now, a friend of mine living in Beijing sees it and says he's sitting opposite the Taiwanese girl who took it.
Cowing's friend in Beijing then posted a photo on Facebook of Instagram user tammytu, who snapped the photo during a recent sightseeing trip to Kyoto.
The two women are now friends, according to Cowing.
Faten Bushehri tracks reactions to the trial of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, who was sentenced to death on May 16, on Global Voices Checkdesk, a project in partnership with Meedan's Checkdesk to verify news.
Morsi is being charged with collaborating with foreign militants to free Islamists during a prison break from the Wadi Natroun prison amid the Egyptian revolution in January 2011. Among his 105 co-defendants were some 70 Palestinians, accused of being members of Hamas, who were charged and tried in absentia. And among the Palestinians sentenced to death, Hassan Salameh has been in an Israeli prison since 1994, and Raed Attar is already dead.
Morsi was the president of Egypt for one year after the revolution, which overthrew Hosni Mubarak early 2011, who ruled Egypt for more than 30 years. Morsi's reign was cut short in July 2013, following massive protests calling for his ouster. Then, the Egyptian Army took command, under the leadership of Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces and Minister of Defence General Abdul Fattah El Sisi, who is now Egypt's president.
The next hearing is set for June 2.
Follow the link to add more stories and help verify them. Please contact me if you are interested in joining the team.
Media Factory, a startup accelerator which focuses on the business of online news and journalism, announced the second class of its news acceleration program, seeking to support new digital-only media ventures in Latin America during 2015.
Teams should be based anywhere in the region and have a strong professional network, successful experience generating impact (building audience, having political influence, or creating revenue), experience in journalism and digital content, capacity to produce summaries and to cover breaking news, and a fluid understanding of new technologies related to media. The initial goals will be to work on audience generation, community engagement and defining a business model.
Media Factory invests USD 75,000 in each company and works with founders on editorial efficiency, audience growth, and revenue generation. The second class will be held over three months in Buenos Aires, beginning Sept. 1st, 2015, after the Media Party conference.
After the acceleration period, the teams will return to their countries of origin where they’ll receive the mentoring of Media Factory to scale and achieve new rounds of investment. Furthermore, as part of the acceleration process, the startups will build strong sales and marketing departments so they can monetize their platforms.
For the first class in 2014, Media Factory reviewed 115 entries, interviewed 58 teams and selected 18 finalists, to choose three teams to its first class of entrepreneurs. ElMeme.me from Argentina, El Cambur from Venezuela, and GKillCity from Ecuador spent around 100 days in Buenos Aires, received investment and mentorship from disruptive digital media worldwide like Mic.com, Vox Media and the Knight Lab at Northwestern University.
Performers, communicators and scientists are working together on Hacia el Litoral. Acción Colectiva (On the Way to the Littoral: Collaborative Action), an initiative to give voice to the population dwelling in the lands located between Cali (Colombia) and the border with Panama:
Hacia el litoral. Acción colectiva es una práctica artística, una serie de movimientos sobre un territorio, geográfico y mental, un ejercicio de relectura del territorio y de frontera realizado por dos grupos, uno ubicado en Cali y otro en Ciudad de Panamá, conformado por artistas, comunicadores sociales, antropólogos, ingenieros, sociólogos, biólogos, entre diferentes actores que conforman un grupo interdisciplinar llamado a desarrollar proyectos y acciones en un viaje que comprende Ciudad de panamá, Jaqué, Punta Ardita, Juradó, Bahía solano, El Valle, Nuquí, Coquí y Cali. Con el proyecto La Radio Va–llena, Estación Viajera resultaron ganadores de la beca CreaDigital de los Ministerios de las TIC y de Cultura en Colombia, en la categoría cross y transmedia, año 2014.
‘On the Way to the Littoral: Collaborative Action’ is a creative practice, a series of movements over a land, geographically and mentally, an exercise in reinterpretation of the territory and frontiers elaborated by two groups, one located in Cali and the other in Panama City. The project is comprised of performers, social communicators, anthropologists, engineers, sociologists, biologists, creating an interdisciplinary group to develop designs and actions along a journey which takes in Panama City, Jaque, Punta Ardita, Juradom, Bahia Solano, El Valle, Nuqui, Coqui and Cali. With the project La Radio Va-llena and Estación Viajera (Travelling Station) they were winners of the CreaDigital grant awarded by the Ministries of ICT (Ministry of Information Technology and Communications) and Culture in Colombia, in the cross and trans-media categories for 2014.
Radio Va-llena gathers classical music excluded from mass media, sounds, voices and life histories of the region's population and their effects, demarcated by the frontier, allowing them to subvert surroundings marked by conflict and violence through a manifestation of cultural expressions.
The University del Valle (Cali) on May 14, 2015, alongside the Cinemateca of University in the teatrino of the Facultad de Artes Integradas (Integrated Arts Faculty) will be able to hear sound postcards, watch videos of different characters and photos of the travelling, as well as conversations with members of Radio Va-llena.
This text is part of the 46th #LunesDeBlogsGV (#MondayBlogsOnGlobalVoices) on March 23, 2015.
On #LunesDeBlogsGV (#MondayOfBlogsOnGlobalVoices), we work to preserve blogs as an “endangered species”, confronting the challenges that threaten their existence in today's digital jungle. In a similar effort, the blogger Iván Lasso compiles stories about the future of blogging and the problems bloggers face today, when their content runs the risk of being lost in the abundance of different types and quality levels of information on the Internet. The situation bloggers increasingly find online, Lasso argues, is approaching a “David and Goliath” situation.
Lasso says of the biggest issues for bloggers today:
A raíz de la popularización de la web, de unos años para acá hay mucha más audiencia potencial disponible. Pero sospecho que gran parte de esa audiencia nunca podría ser tuya (tuya, mía… de blogs pequeños, vamos). Es audiencia que acude a la red en busca de simple entretenimiento y que si quiere información más “dura”, acude a los medios tradicionales que ahora ya están en la web.
In recent years, following the popularity of the Web, there is a much larger audience available. But I suspect that much of this audience will never be yours. Its's an audience that comes to the Net looking for simple entertainment and when they want more “hard” information, they go to the traditional mainstream media which is also on the Web.
Lasso also offers some solutions for the challenges bloggers face:
Hoy día, para que un blog independiente alcance un cierto grado de éxito (reconocimiento, reputación y visitas) debe convertirse en un rayo láser que apunte a aquello en lo que quiere destacar:
¿Quieres dar noticias? Tienes que darlas lo antes posible, más rápido que nadie.
¿Quieres hacer análisis u opinión? Tienes que profundizar más que nadie.
¿Quieres ser didáctico? Tienes que explicar mejor que nadie. Y también con más detalle que nadie.
Nowadays, for an independent blog to have a certain degree of success (recognition, reputation, and views), you must become a laser beam focused on what readers want:
- You want to report news? You must give it them as soon as possible, faster than anyone.
- You want to offer analysis and points of view? You must go deeper than anyone.
- You want to be instructional? You have to explain things better than anyone. And be more specific than anyone.