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Hossein Derakhshan Released from Prison

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, on Thursday pardoned the jailed blogger Hossein Derakhshan after his six years.Derakhshan thanked God, Khamenei and his family on his Google Plus page.

Druze Leader Walid Joumbulatt Takes to Twitter

Lebanese politician and Druze leader Walid Joumblatt is on Twitter – and had a hard time proving it really was him.

The account set up on October 27 has attracted about 17,000 followers so far — and a confirmation from the man himself.

Lebanese blogger Mustapha Hamoui quips:

After a three day hiatus after starting the account, the man went on a Twitter storm. To date, he has amassed 666 tweets, all in English, discussing Lebanese and regional politics and other tidbits.

Join Us for a #GVMeetup in Tunis on November 1

gvMeetupTunis
We are pleased to announce that a Global Voices meetup is set to take place in Tunis on November 1, 2014 from 9am to 1pm, at 404 Lab an open innovation lab hosted by the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI).

Global Voices Meetups are local and small gatherings designed to help facilitate meaningful connections with our readers, potential authors or translators, and others that have shown an active interest in our work.

During the same period, other Global Voices meetups will also take place in Accra, Beirut, Dar Es Salaam, and Belgrade.

The Tunis gathering is an opportunity for us to introduce the mission and projects of Global Voices to our readers in Tunisia. In the meetup agenda also, a panel on the subject of alternative media in Tunisia and a keynote speech on personal data protection by Chawki Gaddas from the Faculty of Judicial, Political and Social Sciences of Tunis.

You can find the meetup's full agenda here.

If you are interested in taking part, please complete the following registration form. The event is open to all but seats are limited.

Here is a map to the event venue.

For more information, please contact: abrouafef [at] riseup [dot] net

Iranian Judiciary Sets 1-Month Deadline to Block Viber

Iranian judiciary has set a one-month deadline for Hassan Rohani's government to block or to control messaging applications Viber, WhatsApp and TangoMe.

Connecting Istanbul and London to Crowdsource the Web We Want Festival

Web We Want/Southbank Centre Festival. Image used with permission.

Web We Want/Southbank Centre Festival. Image used with permission.

Twenty-five years ago, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web and gave it to the world. To mark this anniversary, we are building a major new three-part festival at Southbank Centre, where we will ask all kinds of people to share their ideas of how the Web should develop over the next 25 years.

Inspired by Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation and working in partnership with our ‘Web We Want’ global campaign for a free, open and universal Web, the Web We Want Festival is an extensive celebration of how the Internet has changed our lives. It will also explore some of the things that threaten the Internet as we know it and what solutions there might be.

Mirroring Tim Berners-Lee’s vision for the web as a place for equality, we’re asking local and distant community groups, neighbours and strangers, techies and technophobes, old and young, urban and rural, with any level of web-literacy to create the substance of the festival.

To do this, we are having a Web We Want Think-In on Sept. 5 to plan the festival, listening to your ideas all together at the same time. This virtual brainstorming session will take place at a Think-In Hub in Istanbul at the Internet Ungovernance Forum (details here) and in London at Royal Festival Hall (register to attend here). Online, anyone can participate using the #WebWeWantFest hash tag on Twitter.

Suggest artists, ideas, activities and what would you like to see happening so the Festival becomes an enabler of a global movement. Become a part of the party!

Poetry Project Bridges Language and Cultural Barriers between Arabic and Hebrew Speakers in Israel

The Two Project promotes Arabic and Hebrew arts and culture through the language of poetry.

The Two Project promotes Arabic and Hebrew arts and culture through the language of poetry.

The Two Project has just launched, a collaboration between Israeli Jews and Arabs to connect their cultures through the language of poetry. Hebrew and Arabic are both official languages of Israel. Six years in the making, the project is an offshoot of a recently published book, Two: A Bilingual Anthology (link is in Hebrew).

On their website, the Two Project's creators Almog Behar, Tamer Massalha, and Tamar Weiss write [Heb/Ar]:

This site is a part of the Two Project: a bilingual cultural project focusing on the literature and poetry of youth. Its aim is to create a convergence of dialogue between the two vibrant cultures of Israel, in Arabic and Hebrew. [The project presents] a new generation of writers and readers, who because of language barriers, culture, politics, and physical boundaries are not familiar with what goes on in the modern literary scene of their neighbors.

Anat Niv, editor-in-chief of Keter Publishing, who is responsible for the anthology, remarks:

The very fact that you are holding a book and reading it in Hebrew, with a text in Arabic script on the facing page, or vice versa, is a very powerful experience. Even if you don’t read Arabic, when reading this book you can no longer remain oblivious to the fact that this is a place where people live and create in two languages.

Follow the project on their website or on Facebook in Hebrew and Arabic. Two new authors, an Israeli Arab and an Israeli Jew, will be featured monthly.

5 Muslim Countries Where Gays Are Not Prosecuted by the Law

The LGBT Muslims blog identified 5 Muslim nations where the legal system does not outlaw homosexuality. The 5 countries are : Mali, Jordan, Indonesia, Turkey and Albania. While the law in these countries does not criminalize gay lifestyles, the LGBT Muslims blog points out that LGBT communities still suffer from discrimination and non-negligible pressure to remain discreet regarding their lifestyles. Still, the main take away lesson is that gay rights may be more advanced than most would believe in the aforementioned countries. 

Iranians protest in solidarity with Kobane

Iranians held several protest rallies in different cities including Tehran,Tabriz and Mehabad to support Kobane‘s people on Tuesday.Fighting continues to rage in the Syria-Turkey border town of Kobane

Iran Holds Persian ICT Week

Iran held the first annual Persian ICT week conference in Tehran's Ijlas center between August 30-31, 2014. The two day conference was a cooperative effort between Iran's ICT Guild Organization and the Arab ICT Organization. The theme of the conference was entitled, “Internet for Economic Growth,” and panels were held over the two days discussing youth using social media, the ICT industry post-sanctions in Iran, and the role of government in Internet development. 

Many users followed the event on both Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #PersianICTWeek in English, and #‏هفته_فناوری_اطلاعات_و_ارتباطات_پارسی‌زبانان‬ in Persian. Government representatives from many countries including Malaysia, Qatar and Lebanon were present at the event.

In a meeting that followed the event, Iran's Minister of ICT Mahmoud Vaezi and his Qatari counterpart Khatem Hesam Jabar, met to discuss cooperation between the two governments in developing both nation's ICT industry. According to Iran's semi-official Fars news agency, the minister wished to share with Qatar the merits of Iran's new national information network, a project that endeavours to create a countrywide network of websites assigned to domestic IP addresses, separate from the worldwide web. Many Iranian figures have suggested this will aid in the development of domestic ICT infrastructure and economy. Vaezi stated achievements were made in electronic banking, cyber security and information technology, and explained the network was one of the best ways forward in the new youth dominated Internet culture. 

A large portion of the conference was focused on how Iranian youth were engaging in entrepreneurship within Iran's ICT sector, and the government's support of knowledge based industries amongst this new generation. This event preceded President Hassan Rouhani's September 1 televised speech, declaring the importance of the Internet for Iran's youth. 

 

 

Iran's President Says Internet Is Vital

Iranian President Hassan Rohani said in a speech on September 1 that the Internet is vital and Iran “cannot close the gates of the world for the younger generation.”

The next day, two Grand Ayatollahs defended high-speed Internet a few days after another Grand Ayatollah warned about it.

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