Last October 2008 FOKO blog camp Madagascar, a Rising Voices grantee successfully organized the first blog camp of the country. Earlier this month (on 4th of July) FOKO was instrumental in arranging a gathering of the Malagasy blogging community and the professional journalists to discuss how citizen media can contribute to a more complete coverage of the recent political crisis in Madagascar. According to the project blog the meeting was organized according to the format of a Barcamp and was rightly dubbed as the second Barcamp of Madagascar.
We will exchange ideas, lesson learned and shortcomings of digital media to inform and warn during crisis or events ( such as elections etc…).
The format of a barcamp will be utilized but panelists will present their experiences and expertise beforehand to pose the bases of the conversation.
An estimated 80 to 90 people came from 5 different regions and 4 different countries.
I gave a quick overview of collaboration between traditional media and new media worldwide, its tremendous impact during crises and our hope that such a collaboration can come to fruition in Madagascar.
A smaller meeting that was part of the American Cultural Center-driven “Friday talk” between journalists and bloggers allowed for an open friendly criticism of both sides and showed that there are room for partnership and mutual growth.
Read the whole report here.
Lova Rakotomalala also wrote in his personal blog:
I saw the youth of Madagascar getting involved without fear and being encouraged and advised by elders who knew all about the importance of communication and independent journalism for a country aspiring to democracy. There was no bitterness or accusation, just statements of events lived personally and stories of everyday courage because that was and is the right thing to do. Mada Matin and Midi Madagasikara wrote lengthy articles about the un-conference and foko's contribution to it so the seeds for more collaboration are in definitely in play.
The FOKO bloggers also reported on the event. Ariniaina writes:
This year Foko has choosen the topic “Crowd sourcing info in Madagascar” presented by Lova Rakotomalala.
Claire, from Global Voices in French, talked about different cases of censorship all over the world.
Now let us look what the FOKO bloggers are discussing on other issues.
Tahina discusses about the problems implementing an SMS Alert System in Madagascar using FrontlineSMS for the Foko Ushahidi engine.
Moonlightgirl, an avid reader, comments:
For us Malagasy people, I can tell you that we have great authors. I’ve read alot of malagasy books, not just tales but stories.
For me personally, I can’t live without reading a book.