Posts tagged with ‘Democracy’

For journalists with only passing familiarity with Turkey’s internal workings, noting that the country is deeply divided by the debate of religion versus secularism has become as tired and worn-out as travel writers noting that Istanbul sits at the “crossroad of cultures” between Europe and Asia. But “the Taksim excursion park protests cut across the clichéd secularist-Islamist divide that dominates the Western image of Turkish politics,” said Asli Bali, an assistant professor at the UCLA School of Law, in a statement released June 3. “They give voice to widespread frustrations with the prime minister’s arrogant and dismissive treatment of all forms of dissent.”
See? Someone Won!
FJP friend Jonathan Roy (he designed our logo) has started an editorial cartoon Tumblr.
Welcome him aboard by giving him a follow.

See? Someone Won!

FJP friend Jonathan Roy (he designed our logo) has started an editorial cartoon Tumblr.

Welcome him aboard by giving him a follow.

In a study of 392 campus speech codes last year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, where I work, found that 65 percent of the colleges had policies that in our view violated the Constitution’s guarantee of the right to free speech.

- Greg Lukianoff, the New York Times. Feigning Free Speech on Campus. (And here’s a link to the study he mentions above)

Take from those numbers what you will — universities are home to either smart, enlivened debate or misguided enthusiasm — but Lukianoff’s op-ed piece is worth a read. In the framing of his piece, university life looks a bit like micro-life. Which is what it should be but usually isn’t.

See one of his examples:

Civility is nice, but on college campuses it often takes on a bizarre meaning. In 2009, Yale banned students from making a T-shirt with an F. Scott Fitzgerald quotation — “I think of all Harvard men as sissies,” from his 1920 novel “This Side of Paradise” — to mock Harvard at their annual football game. The T-shirt was blocked after some gay and lesbian students argued that “sissies” amounted to a homophobic slur. “What purports to be humor by targeting a group through slurs is not acceptable,” said Mary Miller, a professor of art history and the dean of Yale College.

shortformblog:

Does social media predict how people vote? This here infographic makes said argument. Check it out.

shortformblog:

Does social media predict how people vote? This here infographic makes said argument. Check it out.

Issues in Connectivity & Net Neutrality 101

The latest from our conversation with Farai Chideya, journalist, novelist, and entrepreneur. Here she discusses net neutrality and connectivity. Should content providers also determine data delivery speeds? Should some degree of access to broadband be guaranteed despite a person or community’s means to afford it? How does this impact journalism? How does it impact an individual’s ability to participate in democracy?

Background: For newbies to this-issue-that-affects-all-of-us-internet-reliant-people-in-the-world, catch up on what’s going on here. Free Press does a lot of great work on this issue, so check out their research and resources here.

Bonus: The National Broadband Map, where you can find out how connected your community is.

Myanmar Announces End to Press Censorship
It’s been a long time coming for the Southeast Asian country, but today the nation’s government stated that it will no longer censor private publications.
Journalists say they will remain cautious, however, despite the good news. The Irrawaddy, a longtime independent follower of Burmese struggle, explains the possible complications:

Under new rules released on the Information Ministry’s website on Monday, journalists will no longer have to submit their work to state censors before publication as they have for close to half-a-century.
However, reporters will still have to send their stories to the PSRD after publication so government monitors can determine whether their work violated any publishing laws, journalists said. It was not immediately clear to what degree that might result in self-censorship.

The country’s move toward a more democratic society has been underway for more than a year now, and several good things have come of it — political prisoners have been released, US sanctions have been lifted, democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi has reentered politics.
But some positive changes, like the sudden access to YouTube and FaceBook, have surprised onlookers. Racist comments posted against the country’s Rohingyas minority, coupled with the state-led "ethnic cleansing" of the fringe population, suddenly make some very large problems public.
FJP: Despite the complications, it’s a wonderful thing.

Myanmar Announces End to Press Censorship

It’s been a long time coming for the Southeast Asian country, but today the nation’s government stated that it will no longer censor private publications.

Journalists say they will remain cautious, however, despite the good news. The Irrawaddy, a longtime independent follower of Burmese struggle, explains the possible complications:

Under new rules released on the Information Ministry’s website on Monday, journalists will no longer have to submit their work to state censors before publication as they have for close to half-a-century.

However, reporters will still have to send their stories to the PSRD after publication so government monitors can determine whether their work violated any publishing laws, journalists said. It was not immediately clear to what degree that might result in self-censorship.

The country’s move toward a more democratic society has been underway for more than a year now, and several good things have come of it — political prisoners have been released, US sanctions have been lifted, democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi has reentered politics.

But some positive changes, like the sudden access to YouTube and FaceBook, have surprised onlookers. Racist comments posted against the country’s Rohingyas minority, coupled with the state-led "ethnic cleansing" of the fringe population, suddenly make some very large problems public.

FJP: Despite the complications, it’s a wonderful thing.

What do you pay attention to in the news?

In the latest from our conversation with Andie Tucher, director of Columbia Journalism School’s Ph.D. program, we explore how journalism functions in our democracy. People (with access) have the freedom to choose what media to pay attention to, but what happens when we’re not on the same page about important issues anymore?

Bonus: A relevant read on confirmation bias and seeking out only that which we agree with.

Web App Demands a “Democracy without Secrets”

Nulpunt, meaning zero in Dutch, is a web app that aggregates public government documents and allows registered users to rifle through them by topic, comment on sections of interest, and share their investigations over social media. Its a Dutch entity that only covers the Dutch government.

FJP: Elsewhere in Europe, the free-access movement is spreading. Earlier this week, the British government announced that all publicly funded scientific research will be made free and available to everyone by 2014. Yesterday, the EU made a similar initiative, which lays the groundwork for other member nations to follow suit.

Networked Activism

In early June Yochai Benkler spoke at the Personal Democracy Forum about the political power of networked activism.

Drawing on the campaign against the proposed SOPA and PIPA copyright and intellectual property laws, he describes the influential nodes (eg., TechDirt and the Electronic Frontier Foundation) that drove awareness and action on the issues. 

Important to the discussion is how radicalized media environments and information systems have changed the way politics, policies and democracy works.

A “loose” transcription comes from OpenCongress:

The networked public sphere is composed of layers. There are the traditional media organizations and they continue to play a role, but interestingly, in this dimension they are not in a privileged position. They are complemented by blogs that allow particularly engaged & knowledgeable individuals… to play substantial roles. We see the tech media, not at all political, playing a critical role. We see traditional NGOs also playing a large role as info brokers & sources of education, and amazingly enough, over 3 dozen special purpose action sites that are set up specifically to find a way to block the legislation… one or two of them stick, and they move forward, and they stop this piece of legislation.

Together creating a tapestry that is in fact the nature of the networked public sphere. No, not everyone is a pamphleteer, but we’re also not falling off a cliff. What you see is a complex relationship between NGOS & commercial organizations, between V.C.’s & activists, b/w traditional media & online media, between political media left & right and tech media, all weaving together a model of actually looking, learning, mobilizing for action, and blocking [SOPA]. This, ideally, is the shape of the networked public sphere.

Recommended Bonus: If you haven’t read it and are interested in how peer production and the information economy works, how the Internet can (and should) reimagine property and the commons, and how all this affects personal freedoms, read Benklar’s The Wealth of Networks (PDF). It’s simply one of the, if not the, most important books on these topics. There’s also an an ever evolving Wiki that you can dive into too.

Run Time: ~16:00.

Journalism and Democracy

In this video, CUNY Professor CW Anderson imagines the future of journalism and its changing place in democracy. Partisan reporting, Anderson says, will thrive alongside some big names from today – like, say, the New York Times – to serve as news for the educated and the upper class. Will this reflect itself the democracy we live in? Anderson conjures up images of old torchlight parades and globalization, the Clinton impeachment and political apathy to remind us that democracy isn’t unchanging but is influenced by its press, its time, and what its citizens think of themselves.

FJP: Heavy stuff! See our first video with Chris here, and expect more from our interview with him soon.

#monazarat

Surveillance Tech, Western Companies and Authoritarian Regimes →

We’ve mentioned it before and we’ll mention it again and again: the digital tools that help liberate are also used to repress, and are often put in the hands of authoritarian regimes by Western companies.

Via The Atlantic:

For all of the good this technology has done, activists are also beginning to understand the harm it can do. As Evgeny Morozov wrote in The Net Delusion, his book on the Internet’s darker sides, “Denying that greater information flows, combined with advanced technologies … can result in the overall strengthening of authoritarian regimes is a dangerous path to take, if only because it numbs us to potential regulatory interventions and the need to rein in our own Western corporate excesses.”

The communications devices activists use are not as safe as they might believe, and dozens of companies — many of them based in North America and Europe — are selling technology to authoritarian governments that can be used against democratic movements. Such tools can exploit security flaws in the activists’ technology, intercept a user’s communications, or even pinpoint their location. In many cases, this technology has led to the arrest, torture, and even death of individuals whose only “crime” was exercising their universal right to free speech. And, in most of these cases, the public knew nothing about it.

Recent investigations by the WallStreetJournal and BloombergNews have revealed just how expansively these technologies are already being used. Intelligence agencies throughout the Middle East can today scan, catalogue, and read virtually every email in their country. The technology even allows them to change emails while en route to their recipient, as Tunisian authorities sometimes did before the revolution.

Western Surveillance Technology & Repressive Regimes →

In a longread, the Washington Post explores how Western surveillance technology that listens in on cell phone calls, monitors Internet activity, takes pictures of people while they use their computers and otherwise tracks people while it hacks their digital devices, ends up in the hands of the world’s most repressive regimes.

Via the Washington Post:

Northern Virginia technology entrepreneur Jerry Lucas hosted his first trade show for makers of surveillance gear at the McLean Hilton in May 2002. Thirty-five people attended.

Nine years later, Lucas holds five events annually across the world, drawing hundreds of vendors and thousands of potential buyers for an industry that he estimates sells $5 billion of the latest tracking, monitoring and eavesdropping technology each year. Along the way these events have earned an evocative nickname: The Wiretappers’ Ball.

The products of what Lucas calls the “lawful intercept” industry are developed mainly in Western nations such as the United States but are sold throughout the world with few restrictions. This burgeoning trade has alarmed human rights activists and privacy advocates, who call for greater regulation because the technology has ended up in the hands of repressive governments such as those of Syria, Iran and China…

…But the overwhelming U.S. government response has been to engage in the event not as a potential regulator, but as a customer.

The list of attendees for this year’s U.S. Wiretappers’ Ball, held in October at the North Bethesda Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, included more than 20 federal agencies, Lucas said. Representatives of 43 countries also were there, he said, as were many people from state and local law enforcement agencies. Journalists and members of the public were excluded.

H/T: @AnupKaphle

Internet and Surveillance: The Challenges of Web 2.0 and Social Media
Edited by Christian Fuchs, Kees Boersma, Anders Albrechtslund and Marisol Sandoval
A 40-page intro is available here (PDF).

Internet and Surveillance: The Challenges of Web 2.0 and Social Media

Edited by Christian Fuchs, Kees Boersma, Anders Albrechtslund and Marisol Sandoval

A 40-page intro is available here (PDF).