[Newsletter] World Press Freedom Day, Human Rights & Tech

Dear All,

The majority of us on this mailing list are able to express our opinions and report our observations online without any fear of censorship, intimidation, or detention. That is not true everywhere, however. Today, on international World Press Freedom Day, let us remember that censorship is another force which prevents voices from making themselves heard.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has released a special report on the 10 Worst Countries to be a Blogger. Freedom House published “Freedom on the Net: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media.” And World Association of Newspapers has launched WorldPressFreedomDay.org as a clearing house of related information.

It is important to remember that the fight against censorship doesn’t just take place once a year on May 3. A community of anti-censorship activists at Global Voices Advocacy document the latest developments related to censorship, create guides to protect anonymity and enable circumvention, and advocate for free speech every day.

Live Streaming of Human Rights and Technology Conference

Online censorship frequently takes place when netizens attempt to discuss issues related to human rights. This is one of the reasons that human rights organizations in Europe and North America have historically spoken on behalf of communities affected by human rights abuses. The downside of this strategy, however, has been that communities around the world have been depicted in both traditional and new media by employees of human rights organizations rather than actual residents of the community.

New technologies are creating a new model of advocating for human rights. On Tuesday afternoon at the Soul of the New Machine conference I will present case studies of Ceasefire Liberia, Drop-In Center, HiperBarrio, and El Nula Por La Paz as examples of capacity-building programs that empower communities affected by human rights abuses to document their own stories rather than the old model of advocacy campaigns which speak on behalf of communities.

Other speakers will examine the roles of mapping, photography, data collection, animation, corporations, video, and social networks as they all relate to human rights documentation and advocacy. Remote viewing hubs have been set up in New York City, Bogotá, and Medellín. Rising Voices grantee Lova Rakotomalala will speak at the New York City gathering about Foko Madagascar, and its experience using technology to protect human rights in Madagascar.

Fora.tv will broadcast the entire conference live and for free on Monday and Tuesday.

Finally, speaking of Lova, he has started a campaign calling for the release of Razily who was detained in front of a large audience (and while videotaped) as he carried a Malagasy flag through the street. Learn more on the blogs of Lova and Ethan Zuckerman, and please consider signing a petition calling for Razily’s release here.

Upcoming Workshops

Upcoming citizen journalism workshops will take place in Moscow on May 21 and 22 and in Bangalore on May 9.

All the best,

David

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