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Facebook Campaign Garners Iranian Journalist Masih Alinejad Women's Rights Award

 

The cover photo from Masih Alinejad's Facebook page "My Stealthy Freedom"

The cover photo from Masih Alinejad's Facebook page “My Stealthy Freedom”

London based Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad won the 2015 Women's Rights Award at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy for her Facebook page “My Stealthy Freedom” this past week. The page invites Iranian women to post pictures of themselves without a Hijab, in defiance of Iran's Islamic laws that enforce compulsory hijab. With over 750, 000 followers, this page has been considered something of social media movement for Iranian women.

Below is a video from her acceptance speech at the Summit: 

10 African Children’s Illustrators You Should Know

Jennifer Sefa-Boakye highlights 10 of Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators’ finalists:

Late last year Ghana-based pan-African literary organization Golden Baobab introduced us to a shortlist of talented illustrators, whose work ranged from 3-D Ashanti folktales to intricately drawn Moroccan cityscapes and African barbershop-inspired murals in Durban. Awarded in November, the inaugural Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators was one of the foundation’s six prizes recognizing the year’s best African writers and illustrators of children’s stories.

Questions About Australian Media Freedom After Egypt Releases Peter Greste

Max Chalmers, from Australian independent online media site New Matilda, welcomes the release of Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste after 400 days in Egyptian prison. He also calls for “the speedy release of Greste’s colleagues who remain behind Egyptian bars”. However, he questions Prime Minister Tony Abbott's support for media freedom in a speech following the news.

[Abbott's] own government has been responsible for a crackdown on press freedoms more generally, and as he moved on to warnings about a new age of terror he laid the groundwork for yet more intrusive and draconian legislation.

UAE Honours Naama Al Qassimi as Country's “First Teacher”

Blogger and commentator Sultan Al Qassemi today received an award from the state on behalf of his mother, Naama Bint Majid Al Qassimi, for being “first teacher” in the United Arab Emirates. The avid Twitter user, who has 309k followers, shares those old and rare photographs featuring his mother as a student and then a teacher, some 50 years ago.

He tweets:

Mrs Al Qassimi graduated from a university in Kuwait in 1964 before returning to the UAE to teach. She shares the award with Amina Al Suwaidi.

The Difference Between ISIS and Al Nusra Front

Satirist Karl Sharro draws a stark comparison between two Al Qaeda offshoots fighting each other in Syria: the notorious ISIS and the Nusra front. He tweets:

Both terrorist organisations use the Islamic prayer “There is no God other than Allah and Muhammad is Allah's prophet” in a different font on their flags.

2015 Presents an Opportunity for Free and Fair Elections in Africa

Wekesa Sylvanus hopes that 2015 will be a year of free and fair elections in Africa:

https://wekesasylvanus.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/will-2015-be-a-year-of-free-and-fair-elections-in-africa/

Since the advent of multi party democracy in Africa, electoral contests have become a do or die affair in majority of African countries. Elections in Africa are a high risk affair and in the recent times, they have been a trigger of conflicts. Kenya and Ivory Coast are good examples of how mismanaged elections can plunge a country into a conflict. Half a century after gaining independence, majority of African states have not got it right in terms of conducting and managing free and fair elections. The year 2015 will see a host of African countries go through elections. Presidential elections and/or legislative elections will be held in Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Togo, Ivory Coast, Mauritius, Central Africa Republic, Burkina Faso, Niger, Guinea, Chad, and Egypt and may be South Sudan depending on the peace deal to be signed. Most of these countries have struggled to institute the practice of democracy in recent times. 2015 therefore presents a great opportunity for them to show the world that they have matured democratically.

Emerging Threats in Cybersecurity Legislation in Africa

Access, an international human rights organization is troubles by emerging threats in cybersecurity and data protection in Africa. Ephraim Kenyanitto explains:

The Convention was originally scheduled to pass in January 2014, but was delayed for modifications after protests by the private sector, civil society organizations, and privacy experts—all of whom had very little involvement in the drafting process. But a number of countries promulgated harmful new cybersecurity legislation after it was improved in June.

As Access noted in analyzing both versions of the Convention, the Convention has some positive provisions but still needs strengthening. It requires states to consider human rights in implementing cyber security legislation, but it also supports greater government control of private user data. For example, the Convention permits governments to process private data when “in the public interest,” a confusingly vague standard.

Photo of Peshmerga Combatant Breastfeeding Her Child Captivates Kurdish Media

Shared widely online. Photograph by Veronique de Viguerie, September 6, 2014. Veroniquedeviguerie.com.

Kurdish media outlets are abuzz with a photograph of a Peshmerga woman, sitting beside an automatic weapon, breastfeeding her child. The picture has been widely distributed on social networking sites, highlighting the strength of Kurdish women and the resilience of female combatants in the ongoing fight against ISIS.

In contrast to the contentiousness of breastfeeding in many Western countries (most recently in the United Kingdom), Kurdish media outlets have largely welcomed this Peshmerga woman breastfeeding her child, celebrating how the photograph captures her dual roles as a “warrior” and a “nurturer”.

Kurdish Internet users have also praised the Peshmerga woman, whose identity remains unknown. Kemal Taher from Erbil remarked, “I don’t know what to say about this lioness of Kurdistan, wishing them success on the battlefield, May God protect you all”. Shakar Sndy from Sulaymaniyah said, “An example that we’re proud of”.

Internet users have circulated photographer Veronique de Viguerie's image widely online, typically without attribution. Using Google's reverse image search, Global Voices learned that the photo is de Viguerie's work. (Note added by Kevin Rothrock.)

UAE's First Teacher Naama Al Qassimi Honoured

Commentator and blogger Sultan Al Qassemi today received an award from the state on behalf of his mother, Naama Bint Majid Al Qassimi, for being “first teacher” in the United Arab Emirates. The avid Twitter user, who has 309k followers, shares those old and rare photographs featuring his mother as a student and then a teacher, some 50 years ago.

He tweets:

Mr Al Qassimi received the award on behalf of his mother today.

Iranian Facebook User Sentenced to Death

Soheil Arabi was sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet Mohammad on the Facebook.The Revolutionary Guards arrested Soheil Arabi on November 2013. Iranian Twitter user Velgard tweeted below about this, explaining that Arabi is only a 30 year old Iranian who is not a political activist, but merely “one of us.” Several bloggers and Facebook users were arrested in last twelve months.

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