Posts Tagged ‘Digital Activism’

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How DO we make policy in the digital age?

February 24, 2010

As I think about the points I’d like to make at the Policy Making in the Digital Age conference this Saturday, and the “Policy Schools and the New Media Debate” panel I’m moderating, I can’t help but stop and wonder, “How DO we make policy in the digital age?” I am someone who looks deep into these issues every single day, and from what I see each day, and have  watched happen over the past few years of this digital age, I can only think that there may be no hardened answer to this question but, “With great flexibility and a watchful eye.” Read the rest of this entry ?

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2009: A retrospective on my year of media development adventures

January 4, 2010

2009 was a banner year for me in terms of media development. It was not by any means my starting point in media, but it could go down as year in which my work achieved lift off. But all was done in the name of helping people spread information, express themselves, and/or strengthen their networks with other people to promote change. So, I thought I’d take a look back at my year in media development, get it all together in one place, take stock, establish something to compare 2010 to, reminisce a little.

Researching Extractive Industry Transparency and Journalism Development in Africa

I began the year leading a team through a study to assess needs and effective training practices to raise the level of business journalism in Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda. Our findings would then be synthesized into a report to provide training and media development recommendations to Revenue Watch Institute, which wanted to use training to improve business journalism, and promote extractive industry transparency. The best part of this project was that I got to spend two weeks in January in balmy Nigeria–a country the Bradt guide calls “Africa for the Advanced”–and meet face to face with Nigerian journalists, journalism educators, and media development experts. Lagos, in particular, was INTENSE. And fantastic. I also got a chance in this to bone up on my skills developing surveys and interview guides, building networks of contacts, designing a team research wiki, and producing a report of findings. Read the rest of this entry ?

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New Media and The Middle East – Challenging Authority in Iran

September 30, 2009

This is another installment in my series of posts on examples of ways new media are being used to challenge authority in the Middle East. This post will focus on Iran.

Internet access in Iran has seen a particular explosion, growing faster than any other Middle Eastern country, according to Reporters Without Borders.  “From 2000 to 2007,” reported Sepideh Parsa, “the number of users grew from 250,000 to 18 million, which accounts for 53.7% of users in the region”.

Within this explosion has been the rise of blogging in Iran, with the blogosphere becoming such a phenomenon as to warrant its current nickname, “Weblogistan”.  This rise in blogging is having political ramifications for the Iranian State.  “Blogs have become an essential medium for dissidence against the autocratic regime and its state-controlled media”, said Parsa.  “Iran has one of the strictest censorship policies in the Middle East. Thus, blogs offer Iranians the only platform to peacefully exchange their political thought, emotions, and opinions while overcoming the boundaries that have been imposed by the government”. Read the rest of this entry ?

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New Media and The Middle East – Challenging Authority in Egypt

September 26, 2009

3010243499_52df7e2a27_oNew media, especially social media, are playing a significant role in challenging authority and states in the Middle East. This is the first post in a series I will publish on examples of how new media are being used toward this end. Egypt will start off this series.

Egyptians have begun using online social-networking tools like blogs, Facebook, and YouTube as tools of dissent against the existing authority.  This is significant given that the reigning president, Hosni Mubarak, is seen as a dictator—in fact, one of the world’s ten worst dictators—and his reign has been marked by human rights abuses and acts against freedom of expression that have warranted calling him one. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Bit Torrent Technology As a Tool for Change

August 12, 2009

529px-The_Pirate_Bay_logoWith all of the legal troubles that bit torrent websites like The Pirate Bay have been having over the filesharing services they provide that enable countless (millions? billions?) copies of licensed digital products to go unpaid for, it seems that bit torrent technology itself is accruing a pretty bad image. Understably so, at least to those who don’t pirate digital intellectual property. However, in all of this publicity over this technology as a vehicle for stealing, I’m concerned we might not see the good this technology could do.

Whenever I come across anything that involves potentially spreading information in a way that transfers knowledge from being concentrated into the hands of a few to the hands of many, I can’t help but think of the Information Divide and the implications for international development. So, naturally I think about this when I think about bit torrent technology. I personally feel that digital piracy that causes intellectual property holders like filmmakers, musicians, and programmers to lose money is merely one aspect to this technology. But what about the development aspects? Read the rest of this entry ?

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