Stories from Quick Reads and Digital Activism
From jail, Pedro Canché wrote a letter to fellow journalist Carmen Aristegui after her recent and controversial exit from media group MVS. This letter was published on his Tumblr blog “Diary of a prisoner of conscience“.
15 de marzo de 2015 Carta a Carmen AristeguiA propósito del consumado golpe al equipo de investigación de MVS, en específico a tu equipo de noticias, Carmen Aristegui, ¿cuándo tendremos en México un canal de televisión o cadena de radio nacional exclusivo de periodistas?
Si don Julio Scherer demostró con la revista Proceso la independencia del poder plutocrático y oligárquico del periodismo auténtico ahora le toca a una mujer aterrizar un proyecto nacional al estilo Aristegui. Todo nuestro apoyo. Es hora y tiempo de que los nuevos vientos soplen en favor del viejo arte del periodismo honesto.
Toda mi solidaridad con Daniel Lizarraga e Irving Huerta. Pero no basta con ser solidarios y pronunciarse cómodos desde el celular o la computadora ¿Qué necesitas Carmen Aristegui?
Basta con apelar a la buena voluntad de todos los mexicanos, esa minoría. Pero de férrea voluntad que lee y a la que Televisa y Tv Azteca no le han logrado chupar el cerebro y convertirlos en zombies, todo un manjar para la clase política, en especial al PRI. El PRI maldito.Todos le entramos a la cooperación Carmen Aristegui. Es muy incómodo hacer periodismo desde la palestra de la oligarquía. Bastante incómodo. Como mexicana, y sobretodo como periodista, considéralo.
Aterriza el proyecto ¿dinero? todos le entramos. Todos. Todos los que no queremos ver arder a nuestro México.
March 15, 2015. Letter to Carmen Aristegui. On behalf of the coup done to the MVS research team, specifically to your news team, Carmen Aristegui, when will we have a TV or radio channel just for journalists in Mexico?
What do you need?
If Mr. Julio Scherer while at Proceso magazine showed independence from plutocratic and oligarchic power for authentic journalism, now is the time for a woman to land a national project, Aristegui style. You have all our support. It is time for new winds to blow in favor of the old, honest art of journalism.
All my support to Daniel Lizarraga and Irving Huerta. But supporting is not enough, nor is taking a stance comfortably from your cell phone or your computer. What do you need, Carmen Aristegui?
It should be enough appealing to the good will of all Mexicans, that minority with iron will who reads and to whom Televisa and Tv Azteca have not yet brain washed and turned into zombies, into a nice feast for the political class, PRI especially. That dreadful PRI. We all cooperate, Carmen Aristegui. It is very uncomfortable to make journalism from the arena of oligarchy. Quite uncomfortable. As a Mexican woman, and above all a journalist, think about it.
Start the project, money? We all will help out. Everybody. Everybody who doesn't want to see our Mexico burn.
Pedro Canché was detained on August 30, 2014, accused of sabotage, after covering a protest against the rise in water service fees at Felipe Carrillo Puerto city hall in Quintana Roo, Mexico. As he awaits sentencing, he regularly publishes on his blog images, videos, phrases and thoughts about freedom of expression with the help of organizacion Article19.
A scientific publication in the Journal of Ecological Economics argues that “over-exploitation of either Labor or Nature will result in a societal collapse” if nothing is done to prevent it.
Based on a mathematical model, the study explains (via The Guardian) that the convergence of ” the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity” and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor]” will increase the likelihood of the fall of society as it was observed for previous human civilizations.
That collapse is already a reality in the south of Madagascar, a region that has suffered recurrent bout of famine over the past decade. 300,000 people are at risk of famine in the region because of a severe and prolonged drought since November 2014. 90% of the Malagasy population live with less than 2 USD/day, a stark reminder of the growing inequity on the African continent. John Strauss Kotovaoarivelo is an accountant manager from the region. He visited the city of Ambovombe and could not hold back his tears from what he saw. He hesitated but felt compelled to share the urgency of the situation by posting photos of children fighting for their lives because of lack of food. Kotovaoarivelo writes :
Je ne peux pas me taire et faire comme si de rien n’était devant la gravité de la situation vécue au quotidien par nos compatriotes dans le sud. Ces photos parlent d’elles même. Je ne vais pas vous prendre la tête pour ces photos, mais quand même en vous bousculant juste un peu pour réfléchir avec moi sur les pourquoi et les comment de toutes ces choses qui font chaque jour le calvaire de ces pauvres gens. Je vais vous révéler là des photos pour ne pas dire des informations qui passent presque inaperçues [..] Nos dirigeants sont occupés ou aveuglés par d’autres choses qu’ils ne pourront jamais déchiffrer le message sur les regards de ces pauvres enfants
I cannot keep quiet any longer and pretend as if nothing is happening in the face of the grave situation that our countrymen in the south face on daily basis. These photos speak for themselves. I will not bludgeon your head with these photos, but I hope they will jost your awareness a little and help you reflect with me about the plight of these people. I am merely sharing my pictures so that their suffering will not go unnoticed [..] Our political leaders are so busy or so blinded by other things that they cannot feel the message in the eyes of these children, seeking help.
The retention of metadata coming from the digital environment has special relevance in Latin America, where throughout history several dictatorships have spied and collected private data to implement a policy of terror. Paraguay is not an exception. Nowadays, Paraguay is a democracy, but the use of data recalls the dangers of when dictator Alfredo Stroessner was in power. The draft bill, dubbed “Pyrawebs” (“pyragüés” means “informant” in Guarani), is generating resistance and discussions among Internet users.
— Derechos Digitales (@derechosdigital) March 5, 2015
Paraguay: They want Internet providers to keep users’ information for a year
The activist website Pyrawebs.tedic.org explains:
El gobierno paraguayo está a punto de ordenar a los ISP a rastrear y almacenar los datos de tráficos de los IP durante 12 meses. Estos planes se hacen con el pretexto de combatir el terrorismo, pedofilia y narcotráfico, pero que en realidad pertenecen en un Estado policial. Las políticas de retención de datos obligatorias tratan a cada uno de los ciudadanos como sospechosos con una constante e intrusiva vigilancia masiva.
Además compromete el anonimato en línea, que es crucial para los investigadores, periodistas, movimientos sociales, ONGs de derechos humanos, todos y todas aquellas que se dedican a la expresión política.
The Paraguayan goverment is at this point ordering ISPs to track and record IP information for 12 months.These plans are made with the excuse of combating terrorism, pedophilia and drug trafficking, but they really belong to a state policy. Obligatory retention policies treat every citizen as a suspect withconstant and intrusive monitoring.
Moreover, it compromises online anonymity, which is crucial for researchers, journalists and social movements, human rights NGOs and every person who makes political expressions.
Opponents of the project object to the magnitude of the information that will be stored:
— Patricia Vargas (@patriciavargasq) March 4, 2015
This is what they will know about you if the law is approved #pyrawebs… How much they want to know?
INFOGRAPHIC: What information does metadata tell about you?
-What you search for on the Internet and the sites you visit
-Where you work and study and all the places that you've visited
-What time you wake up
-Your political and sexual preferences
-Who you know and with whom you communicate
-Where you live
Opponents also want to follow the example of Germany, Austria or Argentina, where metadata retention has been declared unconstitutional:
— Mariana Cunha e Melo (@MariCunhaMelo) March 4, 2015
MT @derechosdigital: Many countries avoid regulations on metadata retention. Why do they want to use it in Paraguay?
The topic was on the March 5 agenda at the Paraguayan Congress, but the vote was postponed:
Se posterga por 8 días el proyecto #Pyrawebs. Tenemos una semana para dar guerra a que burros como Tuma no tengan nuestros datos.
— Ariel (@TuitdelaFont) March 5, 2015
#Pyrawebs is postponed for 8 days. We have a week to fight and prevent idiots like Tuma having our information.
Talented Ugandan writers take to the Internet to tell positive stories about the country:
We will be honest with you. Stories about poverty porn, hunger, Ebola, tribalism and all negative stories about Uganda, you will never find them here. This is a site to celebrate the positive stories about The Pearl of Africa through poetry, stories, profiles, opinions, music, dance and drama.
This is Uganda (ThisIs256), is a platform of talented writers from Uganda who are determined to tell stories about Uganda and for Ugandans aimed at demystifying stereotypes from people who do not know the real story of Uganda all over the world. The platform is loosely composed of diverse array of Ugandan writers who desire and seek to represent and reclaim an authentic, reflective, honest, and objectively balanced study about Uganda you will never find anywhere else in the mainstream western media.
@faeriedevilish, blogging for Infoactivismo, reflects on the need to be creative in communicating our protests. Along those lines, the author explains the importance of creativity while referring to protesting events in Ayotzinapa, where photocopies of the victims’ faces were used to attract and generate awareness about the terrible incidents.
Illustrators not only made use of online resources to get the public's attention, but the streets also took the leading role for young people's creativity.
En una ciudad en la que la proliferación de marchas lleva en el mejor de los casos a una saturación, y en el peor de ellos, a prejuicios de clase, hacer que las marchas de Acción Global Ayotzinapa dieran incentivos para seguir participando fue un reto gigantesco.
Y es que marchar es del Contingente Carreola. Marchar es usar tu talento para incidir – como los jóvenes de la ENAP que pintaron las caras de lxs desaparecidxs en Reforma, lxs estudiantes de la Nacional de Música que marchaban interpretando música. Marchar es de quienes cuentan del 1 al 43, y de quienes cambian los dichos machistas por versiones feministas.
Marchar no es aburrido ni tedioso: es una forma de participación social que, de hecho, puede ser bastante divertida.
In a city where a proliferation of marches can either fill the streets or lead to class prejudices, it was a huge challenge to have the Ayotzinapa Global Action encourage further participation.
The march is lead by the Stroller Contingent. Marching uses your talent to have an affect on people, such as the kids from the National School of Plastic Arts who painted their faces reflecting the people who disappeared during the Reform period, and students from the National Conservatory of Music marched while playing music. The march has people from ages 1 to 43 and those willing to change their chauvinist remarks for more feminist ones.
Marching isn't boring or tedious. It's a way to participate in something social and fun.
You can follow Infoactivism on Twitter.
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:
In Defiance of Ebola Rumors, Support for The National Team at 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Spreads to Guinean Social Networks
Supporters took to dusty streets across the country to show their joy when the team qualified for the quarter finals, after a match whose result at the expense of Mali only came the day after the final whistle, when lots were drawn in a hotel room.
Guinea is one of the three countries most affected by the fever epidemic brought on by the Ebola virus. Although Morocco refused to host the African Cup of Nations due to the risks posed by the arrival of supporters from the infected region, it allowed the Sily National (National Elephant), the nickname given to the Guinean national team, to make their home on Moroccan soil for the preparation stages.
Drawn in a group where their chances of qualifying for the quarter finals were seen as minimal right from the start, they managed to knock out Mali against all expectations, after an epic match which ended in a draw. The two teams had to be separated by the drawing of lots in a hotel room the day after the match. For a nation with few opportunities to come together because of political difficulties and the hardship of the Ebola virus, everybody began to support the national team. Social network messaging went viral. It's a fever which has taken over a whole nation, and goes beyond the world of sport.
In a post titled “How can we explain the infatuation with Guinea's Sily National?“, a blogger called “cireass” analyses the reasons for this fever, on his blog Southern Rivers: A Look at Guinea, part of the mondoblog.org network:
Après une campagne de qualification délocalisée à l’extérieur du pays (au Maroc) pour cause d’Ebola qui frappe la Guinée depuis fin 2013, le Sily National de Guinée s’est qualifié non pas sans humiliation lors de ses déplacements dans des pays qui voyaient toute une nation porteuse du virus Ebola. De quoi ‘séduire’ plus d’un de ses supporteurs…
La dernière raison qui pourrait expliquer cet appui, ce sont les réseaux; précisément la tendance selfie. Oubliez la période où Internet représentait un luxe pour les Guinéens. De nos jours, en dépit du problème récurrent d’électricité, la plupart des personnes de la tranche d'âge 15-30 ans disposent d’un compte sur Facebook. Et la tendance du moment, c’est de poster un selfie avec un dérivé du Sily (maillot, bracelet, bonnet, etc.) sur Facebook, Instagram ou Twitter. Ces milliers de photos donnent l’image d’une équipe soutenue par tout un peuple.
After a qualification campaign relocated abroad (in Morroco) due to Ebola, which struck Guinea at the end of 2013, the qualification of Guinea's Sily National was not without humilation, as it was forced to decamp to countries as many of its neighbors regarded the whole Guinean nation as a vast carrier of the Ebola virus. This aggravation was certainly “attractive” to more than a few of its supporters.
Social networks are the final possible reason for this support, specifically the selfie trend. Forget the time when Guineans saw the internet as a luxury. These days, despite persistent electricity problems, the majority of people in the 15-30 age bracket have a Facebook account. And the current trend is posting a selfie with Sily National merchandise (shirt, wristband, cap etc.) on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Thousands of these photos create an image of a team supported by the whole population.
Korean Air Lines vice president has made numerous headlines, both locally and internationally, for her arrogant behavior on a recent flight out. She randomly accused a crew member of serving macadamia nuts ‘incorrectly’ and even she ordered a plane back to the gate to remove the crew member out of the plane. No wonder this sensational story has become one of the trending topics in social media. Among numerous internet jokes, parody photos and even a cartoon by Japanese users, one stood out most would be a game mocking the Airplane nuts fiasco. A Korean web developer, Tai-hwan Hah (@duecorda) made a simple game entitlted ‘Crew Members’ Tycoon’ [ko]. However you play, you get the same result of the crew member being yelled at and hearing the sentence ‘You! Get out of the plane!’ — the very word the vice president allegedly said to the crew.
During the economic and political crisis in Argentina in 2001, people shouted in the streets, “Go to hell, everyone (rulers)!” More than a decade after these events, this popular cry was transformed into a digital tool that allows voters to learn about the political background of their candidates. On Infoactivismo, there is a piece about the project Cargografías (roughly translated as Position-ography):
El objetivo es brindar información a la ciudadanía para la toma de decisiones durante periodos electorales y ser un recurso de utilidad para periodistas e investigadores, quienes a partir de la herramienta podrán construir sus propias historias y apoyar sus proyectos de investigación.
The aim is to give information to the constituency for decision making during election periods and serve as a useful resource for journalists and researchers, who will be able to build their own stories and support their investigation projects using the tool.
The tool allows to analyze the political career of public officers in the last 30 years and document situations that might not be found in a regular Internet search.
Project founder Andrés Snitcofsky explains his intention was to show that many officers who were in office in 2001 are still there in spite of people's complaints. Although the information already existed, until now it wasn't collected in one place. So, Cargografías began with a Google Doc and a group of friends who organized the available information that was available on their own time. That database is now available on Popit.
Political activism is not exclusively reserved for young people and adults. This was demonstrated by Sofia, an 11-year-old Mexican girl who decided to collect signatures calling for the resignation of the president of her country, Enrique Peña Nieto. These are her reasons.
Peña Nieto has not responded as he should have to the families of the missing students, he went to China and he has a house costing 80 million pesos (approximately 5.88 million dollars).
This initiative caused many positive reactions. For example, some decided to sign in order to demonstrate to Sofia and other Mexican children (as well as adults) that having a better country is possible, and to remind those who govern that people placed them there and that the people can remove them. Sofia's mother said:
Yo no tengo idea de cómo se destituye a un presidente. Pero ojalá pueda de verdad llevar esas hojas a alguna parte que ayude a Sofía a sentir que su esfuerzo vale la pena, que lo intentamos a toda costa. Fui incapaz de decirle que no lo hiciera, que era casi imposible. No puedo cortarle las alas. Esta generación viene con fuerza, con fe y determinación, y con un concepto de lo que es decente y justo que ya quisieran muchos para un fin de semana.
I don't know how to dismiss a president. But, hopefully one can take those papers somewhere so that Sofia can feel that her efforts were worth it, that we tried at all costs. I was unable to tell her not to do it because it was almost impossible. I couldn't cut her wings. This generation is full of strength with faith and determination, and with a concept of what is decent, something that many want for a weekend.
The petition was placed on the Change.org platform and already has 10,500 signatures at the time of this post.
Although southeast European countries are progressive in many other ways, the decline of women's reproductive rights in some Western Balkan countries has been a worrying trend. In Macedonia, several small protests have been held in recent years to demonstrate people's opposition to government involvement in determining public sentiment on issues like abortion and family planning, after the government implemented a national anti-abortion campaign that began in 2011.
In recent years Macedonia has undergone a very subtle, yet dreadfully pervasive deterioration of the situation with women's rights. Mainly unnoticed or overlooked, the government latched on the popular, deeply misogynist sentiment of the suffering mother (a metaphor often used for the country itself) and after the initial surge of promise with the introduction of the gender quotas in 2006 and the adoption of the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, which paired with the history of equal treatment from the previous system led to even higher percentages in female representation in certain areas compared to the EU average, things started moving downwards steadily, without sufficient public resistance.
It can arguably be claimed that the ploy began with the anti-abortion posters and newspaper ads which started littering the public space out of nowhere circa 2006-2007 without anyone claiming responsibility for them…
As part of the Second International Conference on Democracy and Digital Government 2015 (ICEDEG 2015), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is hosting Hack Ecuador Challenge 2015 (HEC'15). The event welcomes Ecuadorians with open-data apps that promise to deliver needed services in local communities, improving the nation's online ecosystem, especially in the public sector.
— Open Hack IEEE (@OpenHackIEEE) January 7, 2015
Why join Ecuadorian IEEE? 3) IEEE Hack Ecuador 2015. Best App Awards.
Iria Puyosa, a representative of one of the contest's organizers, told Global Voices about her expectations:
De acuerdo con los indicadores del Open Data Barometer, la política de datos abiertos de Ecuador se orienta hacia la innovación y el bienestar social. En Ecuador se dispone de datos abiertos sobre variables demográficas, educación, salud, producción agrícola, importaciones/exportaciones, transporte y telecomunicaciones. Este es el tipo de datos que pondremos a disposición de los participantes en el hackathon. Esperamos una gran participación de los estudiantes afiliados a la Sección Ecuador de IEEE. Y lanzamos el reto a los empresarios y emprendedores tecnológicos ecuatorianos para que también se sumen a procesos de innovación, usando datos abiertos.
According to indicators of Open Data Barometer, Ecuadorian open-data policy is oriented towards innovation and social welfare. In Ecuador, open data is available about demographic variables, education, health, agricultural production, import/export, transport, and telecommunications. This is the kind of data that we will make available to the participants in the hackathon. We expect that a large number of students affiliated with Ecuadorian IEEE, will attend the event. We also challenged Ecuadorian technology entrepreneurs to join the innovation process using open data.
Who is participating?
The contest will be divided into two categories: students and professionals.
What are the prizes?
Winner of first prize gets $800 in cash and a winner's certificate. The second-place winner gets a certificate, too. Winners will be announced on April 8.
— Open Hack IEEE (@OpenHackIEEE) February 19, 2015
March 4 Informational Webinar -> Sign up free and learn more about the #HackEC15
Artist and social entrepreneur Nomsa Mazwai (Nomisupasta) and some friends got together to collect signatures for a petition to stop the sale of Steve Biko‘s autopsy report. Watch the YouTube video of the campaign:
One again, bloggers, hackers, designers, experts, as well as citizens interested in open data and transparency will meet to celebrate International Open Data Day 2015 all over the world to promote the opening of government data. The event is expected to have online meetings but also in-person activities all over the globe, requiring exceptional coordination and organization.
Faeriedevilish, blogging for School of Data, informs us on the Open Data Day festivities to take place on Saturday, February 21st in Spain and various cities in Latin America. Here you'll find information about the organization and event coordination in Buenos Aires, Lima, Medellín, Madrid, Mexico City, Xalapa, Monterrey, San Salvador, Panama City, etc., where many different activities will be held:
Alerta – Nos unimos a Abierto al Público: queremos que #datosabiertos se vuelva trending topic mundial en Twitter el 21 de febrero. Para lograrlo, las organizaciones participantes tuitearemos con este hashtag (y pediremos a lxs participantes que también lo hagan) el sábado 21 a partir de las 10:00 hora México, 11:00 hora Lima, 13:00 hora Buenos Aires, 17:00 hora Madrid. Importante: no usar el hashtag antes de esta hora.
Alert – We're meeting at Abierto al Público: we want #datosabiertos (#opendata) to trend on Twitter on February 21st. To do so, we'll be tweeting participating organizations with this hashtag (and we ask participants to do the same) on Saturday, February 21st starting at 10:00 in Mexico City, 11:00 in Buenos Aires, 17:00 in Madrid. Important: do not use the hashtag before this time.
Click here for more information on the International Open Data Day festivities.
Macedonian Metamorphosis Foundation has developed a first among mobile applications – an app against hate speech, aiming to bring information from this area to the fingertips of mobile phone users and help them battle this odious occurrence on the Internet.
The app, available for free download both Android and iOS users, was developed in order to more effectively combat hate speech online, enabling access to the latest news in this area, access to educational and expert resources, such as a library with e-books on the matter, interactive tutorials about the various opportunities for reporting hate speech, as well as participation in events related to the fight against hate speech through an integrated calendar.
The application, dubbed simply “Don't Hate”, is the first mobile app of this kind in the world and is currently only available in Macedonian and Albanian, while its creators do plan on developing it further for other languages and markets in the near future.
Since the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa last September, a group of citizens driven by Mexican journalist and producer Epigmenio Ibarra has decided to prevent the case from being forgotten by conducting a roll call of the names of each student every day at 10 p.m. Mexico Central Time.
Mexicans and foreigners alike have joined this initiative both within and outside of the country.
— Ara-Ídem (@5AraCoelli) January 27, 2015
We say their names every night. We will continue doing so until we conquer truth and get justice.
Each name is normally accompanied by an illustration from the Illustrators for Ayotzinapa movement to keep the memory of the students humanized. Some also add the phrase “Because if we forget, they win” to remind people about the importance of maintaining their memory alive.
— Sussan Buendia (@Buendia_Tunel) February 3, 2015
No to closing the case. We're going to push harder, we will cast a shadow over EPN. 10pm Roll call.
The roll call continues to gain traction.
— Alejandro T (@birkut) February 4, 2015
The daily roll call by @epigmenioibarra continues to get up to 500RTs per student.
Cada noche los RTs del pase de lista del 1 al 43 alcanza a miles en sus TLs, es otra pequeña marcha que acompaña. Sigamos juntos.
— Compa Salces (@carlossalces) January 27, 2015
Each night, RTs of the roll call from 1 to 43 reaches thousands in their TLs. It's another small protest accompanying the efforts. Let's continue together.
And every day there is a call to join this roll call where the following hashtags, relevant to the movement, are included: #YaMeCansé (#TiredofThis), #AcciónGlobalporAyotzinapa (#GlobalActionforAyotzinapa), #NosFaltan43 (#We'reMissing43), among others.
— Compa MariaIsabel (@wixaritari) February 4, 2015
Group: Those against apathy and neglect and because #We'reMissing43, let's join the roll call #WeAreAllAyotzinapa with @epigmenioibarra
— Frank (@frankcjc) January 30, 2015
Those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it. Ready for the roll call with @epigmenioibarra
As the world watches Russian soldiers and Russian-backed separatists occupy Ukrainian administration buildings, cities, and even an entire peninsula, a group of Ukrainian hackers is fighting back by launching an invasion of their own.
Since this summer, Ukrainian hacker Yevgeniy Dokukin and his group of fellow computer pros calling themselves Ukrainian Cyber Forces have carried out “Operation Bond, James Bond,” in which they leaked web camera and security footage from Crimea, separatist-held areas of eastern Ukraine, and even government offices in Russia. Dokukin and the Ukrainian Cyber Forces have been leaking videos from cameras for months now, including a video supposedly from a separatist base in Donetsk.
A few weeks ago, Dokukin and his allies took up new weapons in their cyberwar: printers. In a series of Facebook posts, Dokukin has explained how, after accessing private WiFi networks, the Ukrainian Cyber Forces were able to print documents on vulnerable networked printers in various offices in Crimea and separatist-held areas in eastern Ukraine, and were now trying to do the same in Russian networks.
— MustLive (@MustLiveUA) December 8, 2014
#UkrainianCyberForces have begun occupying networked printers in Donbas and in Crimea.
As Dokukin told RuNet Echo, he sees the wasted ink and paper in Russia as a variant on Ukraine’s own “economic sanctions” aimed at its neighbor. The messages appearing on these printers vary, but they share a common theme:
Якщо ваш мережевий принтер передасть “вітання Путіну” чи надрукує “Слава Україні!” та інші цікаві надписи, то знайте, що він під нашим контролем.
If your network printer passes along “greetings to Putin” or prints “Glory to Ukraine!” or other interesting messages, then you know that it is under our control.
Not all of Dokukin’s printer messages were meant to be confrontational. Recently, the Ukrainian Cyber Forces accessed an open network printer in Canada—an especially strong ally of Ukraine throughout the ongoing crisis—and printed the message “Thanks for supporting Ukraine!” in English.
As Russia increases its support of information warfare, including slick redesigns of its news agencies and propping up fake Ukrainian news sites, Ukrainian Cyber Forces are taking the trolling and information war to their opponents—and their offices—more directly.
Vero Flores Desentis, blogging for Mujeres Construyendo (Women Building), reflects on Internet users’ behavior regarding the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa and rubs salt in the wound of those of us who use cyberspace for worthy causes, and calls us to an in-depth examination of our conscience: are denouncing and indignation on the Internet enough to make a change or do they just represent a simple catharsis? Thus, the author points out the duality of Internet denunciation regarding the events in Ayotzinapa:
Creo que es un tema que duele a la sociedad, y duele mucho. Lo que me sorprende es la dualidad de la denuncia social. Por un lado, cada vez tenemos más acceso a plataformas que nos sirven para denunciar o para establecer públicamente algún posicionamiento frente a un tema, y cada vez somos más las personas que las utilizamos. Y estas denuncias son una herramienta muy poderosa de denuncia social sin duda. Pero por otro, la denuncia ahí se queda, no hay un eco de ejecución que realmente ayude a disminuir los casos que lamentablemente siguen sucediendo.
I think this is something that hurts society. What amazes me is the duality of social denunciation. On one hand, each time we have more access to platforms that allow us to denounce or set publicly some position about a given topic, and each time more people use them. And these condemnations are a very powerful tool for social denunciation. Burt on the other hand, the denounce just stays there, there is no echo of carrying out that really helps reducing the cases that, unfortunately, keep coming.
Vero adds that just as in other disturbing cases, social networks channel our outrage about Ayotzinapa, although making it public doesn't change the situation. To change something, we must act outside the cybernetic world, changing our actions.
You can follow Vero Flores Desentis on Twitter.
Some renowned journalists in Mozambique have accounts on various social networks, but they do not believe in their potential to influence decision-making, government action or social participation among others. However, the government itself has recognised their utility by creating accounts on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. Here are three recent examples where social networks have knocked on the door of accountability and governance in Mozambique.
1. In November 2013, a letter by Carlos Nuno Castel-Branco circulated on Facebook criticising the method of government used by Armando Emílio Guebuza, President of the Republic of Mozambique. As a result, the author of the letter was summoned to testify before the Attorney General on May 26, 2014.
2. When the Confederation of Economic Associations (CTA) offered a Mercedes Benz S350 to the President of the Republic, José Jaime Macuane, a university lecturer at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, immediately wrote a post on Facebook explaining that the act violated the Public Probity Law. The issue made the headlines of various newspapers and was discussed all over the country for over a week, even once the Mercedes had been returned three days later.
3. To promote citizenship, transparency and active participation by citizens, Olho do Cidadão (Citizen's Eye), which is led by Fernanda Lobato and Tomás Queface, developed digital platform Txeka to allow citizens to participate directly in observing elections on October 15 via SMS, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and email. This culminated in the creation of a situation room, comprising various civil society institutions and academicians, as well as a partnership with STV – an independent television channel – which hosted the broadest real-time coverage of the event, using the information sent by citizens via the Txeka channels.
In spite of the fact that in Mozambique, just 4.3% of the population has access to the Internet, the citizen reporter's perspective is valid and useful. Debates on social networks can influence government actions to a certain extent.
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).
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.