Featured Author: Diego Casaes

This past week at the Brazilian Digital Culture Forum [pt] I had a chance to meet up with Diego Casaes, a dedicated Global Voices author and translator from Salvador, Brazil. Much of Diego's writing on Global Voices has spread awareness about legislative threats to online freedom in Brazil, such as the infamous “Azeredo Bill“. He has also profiled cyber-activists like João Carlos Caribé and Daniel Pádua (who just lost his life to cancer) and their attempts to protect the individual freedoms and social bonds enabled by the Internet.


Diego will soon be headed to Copenhagen to report on the United Nations Climate Change Conference from December 7 – 18. He was invited to cover the conference as a winner of the Think About It blogging competition, where you can read all of his posts related to climate change in Brazil.


I'm Diego Casaes. I'm from Brazil. I live in Salvador in the northeastern part of Brazil. I am the coordinator of the Portuguese translation team and a voluntary author for Global Voices Online.

David Sasaki: And how did you get started in Global Voices Online?

Diego Casaes: I got started when I met Paula Goes (Global Voices author and Portuguese translator) on Twitter. She invited me to write. It was about the flooding in Brazil. And it was in May, 2009, this year. So it has been seven months.

DS: What are some of the other topics that you write about on Global Voices?

DC: I mostly write about freedom of speech and cyberactivism. A couple of times it was about the environment. Mostly about cyberactivism.

DS: How do you see the Brazilian blogosphere as different from other blogospheres around the world?

DC: Well, maybe because we are very passionate when we discuss things so bloggers take this passion from daily life to their blogs. So they are very optimistic and discuss really loudly with each other. They scream on Twitter. In many blogs you can see many comments … like flaming comments. People with passion. Actually, it's interesting to see how the Brazilian blogosphere is quite different from others.

DS: And why do you think that is? You think it's just … cultural?

DC: Maybe. Because I was talking to a friend from Kazakhstan and he says that the blogosphere in Kazakhstan is not very active. They have lots of blog posts, but not lots of comments. In Brazil it is very different. We see lots of comments in the blog posts. People really discuss things.

DS: So what are some of the things that Brazilian bloggers are discussing these days?

DC: These days, especially in 2009, they are very addicted to discussing about cyber-activism. Because we have lots of bills that want to take away our freedom on the internet. So, in this event where we are here now, lots of blogs from cyber-activism and freedom of speech are discussing all of this.

DS: What do you write about on your personal blogs?

DC: Well, some of my points of view on many subjects of communication, freedom of speech. But I also have a blog about Japanese culture because I listen to Japanese music and I watch many Japanese animations. So I mostly write about that. It's nice actually because nobody thinks you would write about that. I'm not very Japanese. I don't look Japanese, but I just love it.

DS: You're going to Copenhagen, right? For a conference on climate change. How did that all come about?

DC: Well, actually I got a message from my Global Voices reader profile asking me to go to Copenhagen to participate in the Think About It competition, a European blogging competition. I went to Copenhagen in September and we were at the launch event where we learned about what we were going to blog about on climate change. Now, last week, we got the news – me and two other guys – that we were selected to represent the European Journalism Centre in the COP15. From 92 bloggers only three of us.

DS: Solana Larsen from Global Voices asks, “What are you going to do in Copenhagen with your blogging award?”

DC: Well, I hope to bring bloggers’ and journalists’ views on the COP15. And maybe meet some world leaders and try to ask them if they really want to see the planet die. And try to bring citizen media into the discussion because there are plenty of journalists who are going to COP15 but I think this is the only actual event where many bloggers are going to a big even like this. So, it's quite different. And I hope to do a good job reporting on climate change.

DS: Sylwia Presley asks, “How has working for Global Voices changed your life?”

DC: Since I am Brazilian, I am very passionate about many things and I think that Global Voices is part of us because we learn from it and we bring some of these themes that we're discussing on Global Voices to our daily life and discuss them with friends.

Sometimes I bring topics like wars in distances places like Africa
or people dying of hunger in Kazakhstan. I think Global Voices made me more aware that we are in a world and that there are other people in this life; not only our close friends.

DS: This question comes from Ethan: “Where can I learn more about Technobrega music?”

DC: I saw his question on Twitter and I was quite scared because I don't listen to technobrega. But I did some research and there is this website called bregapop.com and they gather many style of brega music including technobrega and it is interesting because in the bands’ profiles they had the Orkut profile telephone numbers. So if you want to contact them you can just go to this community and find many artists from Belém do Pará, which is the place where the technobrega emerged from.

They also embedded many YouTube videos of technobrega in this community so it's quite fun actually. It is interesting how they use citizen media and other web 2.0 resources on this website.

DS: What would you like to see for the future of Global Voices in the next five years?

DC: For the future of Global Voices I think we are going to create much more content on the Lingua sites and I think that we'll establish a very well-known community. We'll get famous I think. Many more people will want to contribute to Global Voices. At this event where we are right now, many people came to me asking, “how can we contribute to Global Voices?” So I think that the community will grow.

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