Posts tagged activism

#WithSyria
Via The Independent:

An evocative YouTube video featuring Banksy, Idris Elba and alternative rock band Elbow has been released as part of a global vigil to mark the third anniversary of the crisis in Syria.
The charity video tribute, which is just over a minute-and-a-half long, brings one of graffiti artist Banksy’s most iconic stencils to life - set against a haunting backdrop of heartbreak and bloodshed.
His girl with a heart balloonartwork, which he has recreated for the #WithSyria campaign, is reworked in the guise of a young Syrian refugee.
She holds on to the balloon as it rises over the civil war-torn country, passing buildings destroyed by bombs and children kneeling next to the bodies of the dead.
As she ascends, she is joined by other children and adults, each holding on to a red balloon. British actor Idirs Elba provides the voiceover, asking those watching to “stand with Syria”.

Image: Screenshot, #WithSyria. Visit The Syria Campaign for more.

#WithSyria

Via The Independent:

An evocative YouTube video featuring Banksy, Idris Elba and alternative rock band Elbow has been released as part of a global vigil to mark the third anniversary of the crisis in Syria.

The charity video tribute, which is just over a minute-and-a-half long, brings one of graffiti artist Banksy’s most iconic stencils to life - set against a haunting backdrop of heartbreak and bloodshed.

His girl with a heart balloonartwork, which he has recreated for the #WithSyria campaign, is reworked in the guise of a young Syrian refugee.

She holds on to the balloon as it rises over the civil war-torn country, passing buildings destroyed by bombs and children kneeling next to the bodies of the dead.

As she ascends, she is joined by other children and adults, each holding on to a red balloon. British actor Idirs Elba provides the voiceover, asking those watching to “stand with Syria”.

Image: Screenshot, #WithSyria. Visit The Syria Campaign for more.

In a dictatorship, independent journalism by default becomes a form of activism, and the spread of information is essentially an act of agitation.

Likes Don’t Save Lives

UNICEF Sweden has a new ad campaign reminding people that while social media Likes are nice, what they really need is money to fund their vaccination campaigns.

As The Verge points out, “Facebook likes aren’t treated as currency in other commercial venues, so they shouldn’t be equated with charitable donations.”

And via The Atlantic:

In the beginning, organizations wanted you to like the heck out of their Facebook pages. Why? You know, community-building, awareness-raising, general “engagement”-upping…

…But one thing clicking “like” doesn’t do is, say, get malaria nets to African villages or boost funding for charity groups. And now that Facebook is nearly 9 years old and Twitter is 7, we’re seeing the inevitable backlash against social-media “slacktivism.”

Back to The Verge:

The campaign, created by ad agency Forsman & Bodenfors, takes a rather bold stance against the awareness campaigns that often spread across Facebook and other social media platforms. UNICEF officials acknowledge that such efforts can help introduce issues to a wider audience, though they fear that for most users, the action stops with the click of a button. To further stress this point, UNICEF Sweden released a bold poster alongside the video clips, saying that every like it receives on Facebook will result in exactly zero vaccinations.

That’s not to say “slacktivists” are a bad thing. Liking, sharing and reblogging do serve their purpose in bringing issues to a wider audience. But then what?

Last year, The Atlantic notes, Zeynep Tufekci, a sociology professor and a fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society, had this to say:

What is called commonly called slacktivism is not at all about “slacking activists;” rather it is about non-activists taking symbolic action—often in spheres traditionally engaged only by activists or professionals (governments, NGOs, international institutions.). Since these so-called “slacktivists” were never activists to begin with, they are not in dereliction of their activist duties. On the contrary, they are acting, symbolically and in a small way, in a sphere that has traditionally been closed off to “the masses” in any meaningful fashion.

The goal then for those working in social media is to simultaneously help the “slacktivist” set help you by building out ambient awareness of an issue through the messaging you create, while also giving activists and more consistently loyal proponents direct calls to action be it donations, volunteerism, network building, etc.

Meantime, if you’re moved to Like a cause, consider volunteering your time and/or other resources to it as well.

The other two commercials in UNICEF’s campaign can be viewed at The Verge. — Michael

Child Marriage: South Sudan

humanrightswatch:

This visually stunning short film tells the story of child marriage in South Sudan. According to government statistics, close to half (48 percent) of South Sudanese girls between 15 and 19 are married, with some marrying as young as age 12.

Read more after the jump.

FJP: Chilling. “This girl is the property of the family… If she still refuses [to get married], we will beat her and force her to get married.

Your Single Page CSS and JavaScript Scrolling Animation for a Cause Site of the Day
Every Last Drop is a single page Web site by Waterwise, a UK NGO focused on water issues, to demonstrate how and where you can conserve water on a daily basis.
Earlier today we posted on repetition in Web design so count this among the ways to do it better.
Our sophisticated internal critique of the site ran something like this:

Michael: You want to see something neat. [Sends URL]
Jihii: Oh my God, I can’t even take this, it’s so cute.
Michael: It’s…
Jihii: Oh my God, I love this little man.

Sophistication, FJP style.
Image: Partial screenshot, Every Last Drop. Select to Embiggen.

Your Single Page CSS and JavaScript Scrolling Animation for a Cause Site of the Day

Every Last Drop is a single page Web site by Waterwise, a UK NGO focused on water issues, to demonstrate how and where you can conserve water on a daily basis.

Earlier today we posted on repetition in Web design so count this among the ways to do it better.

Our sophisticated internal critique of the site ran something like this:

Michael: You want to see something neat. [Sends URL]

Jihii: Oh my God, I can’t even take this, it’s so cute.

Michael: It’s…

Jihii: Oh my God, I love this little man.

Sophistication, FJP style.

Image: Partial screenshot, Every Last Drop. Select to Embiggen.

For people who’ve followed me on Twitter, they’ve gotten to know many of the people I tweet about as characters in a broader Arab Spring narrative. You see their ups and downs, the hopes fulfilled and their dreams dashed. But because it’s happening over twitter, you’re not experiencing these stories in the past tense. You’re experiencing them in the present – as present as you can get. And my characters are real people, whether they use their real names or are forced to use pseudonyms for their own safety.

Andy Carvin, interviewed by Jesse Hicks. The Verge. Tweeting the news: Andy Carvin test pilots Twitter journalism.

For those who don’t know much about NPR’s Andy Carvin, this is a good primer. For those who know who he is, you probably know that he has a book coming out too — about his time reporting the Arab Spring on Twitter.

Citizen Journalism Outfitters in Cairo Succeed in Crowdfunding Campaign

An Egyptian “media collective” called Mosireen, which trains journalists and activists in the Cairo area, successfully finished its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

From an interview with the collective’s leader, Salma Said, posted at The Lede:

The activists initially came together to build an archive of clips documenting the street protests of early 2011, Ms. Said said, but then, struck by the lack of independent reporting on the post-Mubarak government, they began to make their own reports, often incorporating video recorded on phones. Given that the airwaves were still dominated by state channels that were loath to broadcast any critical reports on the country’s new rulers, the Mosireen activists staged a series of public screenings of video that challenged official accounts of clashes, like the claim that the security forces only used force against “thugs,” not peaceful protesters.

With it, they’ll continue to screen films, train journalists, and do archival work. See their videos, taken by those they’ve trained in workshops, on YoutTube or in Cairo.

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.

Whether you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your 8-year-old’s basketball game without broadcasting the children’s faces to the world, our face blurring technology is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube.

Slate. YouTube Now Lets You Blur Faces in Videos. Will It Help Keep Human Rights Activists Safe?

Related: The Guardian and Witness.org released ObscuraCam earlier this year to accomplish much the same thing.

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.

I VOTE for Women

In 2008, over 51% of 18 to 29-year-olds voted in the US presidential elections. While numbers are usually down across the board during midterms, in 2010, youth voter turnout dropped to 24%.

To counter that and get young people back to the voting booth, a pending nonprofit called I VOTE has launched an issues-based media campaign to demonstrate that people can affect change on the issues they care about. It really comes down to voting.

The appeal here is different by a level of degree than traditional get out the vote campaigns. Instead of appealing to a sense of “civic duty,” I VOTE is attempting to engage people on issues of importance as a gateway to further political involvement and actual voting. Call it an appeal to enlightened self interest: vote because you give a damn.

The video above focuses on women’s health and was directed by Jessica Sanders, an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker.

In the Q&A below, I VOTE founder Haroon “Boon” Saleem talks about his vision for this election season and beyond. — Michael

FJP: What is I VOTE and what is it trying to accomplish?
Boon Saleem: I VOTE is a pending non-profit organization that will produce, acquire and disseminate high-quality, youth-issue based viral campaigns for the 2012 election cycle and beyond.

Specifically, the “I VOTE” campaign will highlight issues that will spur 18-35 year olds to the polls in November — civil rights, jobs, the environment, women’s self-determination, wealth inequality, education, healthcare, and above all, holding government accountable for protecting our future. The multi-platform campaign will utilize social networking, online video spots, organizational partnerships, and cultural creation to funnel the youth into America’s tried and true tool for change: the vote.

FJP: How is it different than other get out the vote campaigns?
Boon: What differentiates I VOTE from current run-of-the-mill campaigns is the quality of the content. The co-creators of I VOTE have worked at the juncture of entertainment and activism and have a particularized knowledge of youth oriented engagement (concerts, comedy shows, debate watch parties, art gallery auctions). There is no group of individuals with a stronger track record of outreach, engagement and activation of 18-35 demographic. Traditional campaigns/politicos simply do not speak in the parlance of the youth. We do.

FJP: Is it partisan?
Boon:I VOTE is proudly non-partisan. We are guided not by political ideology but by American Optimism.

FJP: What is its media strategy and how does reflect I VOTE’S mission?
Boon: The lynchpin of I VOTE is a digital and mobile strategy focused on communicating with the 18-35 target demo through viral videos/PSAs and interactive social media. We will then leverage technology to share the content and promote a two-way dialogue with young voters, inviting them to add their story to the movement using video, photos, blog posts, and tweets.

We will establish this dialogue by tapping into an extensive nationwide network of A-List creatives to produce fresh, original content that resonates with younger voters. Filmmakers, actors, photographers, and musicians, both established and cutting edge, will lend their talents to give voice to the issues facing the youth in 2012.

FJP: What do you hope to accomplish by the 2012 elections, and then what do you want to accomplish afterwards?
Boon: We aim to engage, unify, and motivate the youth aged 18-35 to turn out in November at the same level they did in 2008. We know this will not be achieved by brow-beating them over civic duty - it will only be accomplished by building a cultural groundswell that makes them want to vote.

Moving beyond Election Day, I VOTE as an organization will sustain robust levels of youth political engagement. By continuing to marry fresh creative content with innovative outreach to like-minded individuals, organizations & NGO’s, I VOTE will evolve to fit the issue-based needs of the day, ensuring that the youth culture develops into a dependable activist force — one that participates in the political process every single day instead of every four years.

BONUS: Aren’t registered? You can do so quickly via TurboVote, a nonprofit that uses technology to increase civic engagement.

YouTube Launches Human Rights Channel
Via the YouTube blog:

Activists around the world use YouTube to document causes they care about and make them known to the world. In the case of human rights, video plays a particularly important role in illuminating what occurs when governments and individuals in power abuse their positions. We’ve seen this play out on a global stage during the Arab Spring, for example: during the height of the activity, 100,000 videos were uploaded from Egypt, a 70% increase on the preceding three months. And we’ve seen it play out in specific, local cases with issues like police brutality, discrimination, elder abuse, gender-based violence, socio-economic justice, access to basic resources, and bullying.
That’s why our non-profit partner WITNESS, a global leader in the use of video for human rights, and Storyful, a social newsgathering operation, are joining forces to launch a new Human Rights channel on YouTube, dedicated to curating hours of raw citizen-video documenting human rights stories that are uploaded daily and distributing that to audiences hungry to learn and take action. The channel, which will also feature content from a slate of human rights organizations already sharing their work on YouTube, aims to shed light on and contextualize under-reported stories, to record otherwise undocumented abuses, and to amplify previously unheard voices. The project was announced today at the Internet at Liberty conference, and will live at youtube.com/humanrights. Storyful will source and verify the videos, and WITNESS will ensure the channel features a balanced breadth of issues with the context viewers need to understand the rights issue involved.
We hope this project can not only be a catalyst to awareness, but offer people new avenues for action and impact. The channel is committed to providing new citizen creators as well as viewers with the tools and information necessary so that every citizen can become a more effective human rights defender. It will also be available on Google+, where the broader human rights community can take part in discussions, share material, and find collaborators.

Image: Screenshot the Human Rights YouTube channel.

YouTube Launches Human Rights Channel

Via the YouTube blog:

Activists around the world use YouTube to document causes they care about and make them known to the world. In the case of human rights, video plays a particularly important role in illuminating what occurs when governments and individuals in power abuse their positions. We’ve seen this play out on a global stage during the Arab Spring, for example: during the height of the activity, 100,000 videos were uploaded from Egypt, a 70% increase on the preceding three months. And we’ve seen it play out in specific, local cases with issues like police brutality, discrimination, elder abuse, gender-based violence, socio-economic justice, access to basic resources, and bullying.

That’s why our non-profit partner WITNESS, a global leader in the use of video for human rights, and Storyful, a social newsgathering operation, are joining forces to launch a new Human Rights channel on YouTube, dedicated to curating hours of raw citizen-video documenting human rights stories that are uploaded daily and distributing that to audiences hungry to learn and take action. The channel, which will also feature content from a slate of human rights organizations already sharing their work on YouTube, aims to shed light on and contextualize under-reported stories, to record otherwise undocumented abuses, and to amplify previously unheard voices. The project was announced today at the Internet at Liberty conference, and will live at youtube.com/humanrights. Storyful will source and verify the videos, and WITNESS will ensure the channel features a balanced breadth of issues with the context viewers need to understand the rights issue involved.

We hope this project can not only be a catalyst to awareness, but offer people new avenues for action and impact. The channel is committed to providing new citizen creators as well as viewers with the tools and information necessary so that every citizen can become a more effective human rights defender. It will also be available on Google+, where the broader human rights community can take part in discussions, share material, and find collaborators.

Image: Screenshot the Human Rights YouTube channel.

Live Streaming as Activism

  • BROOKE GLADSTONE: A lot of people think of live streaming as a paragon of objectivity. Is this really the case?
  • MANS ADLER: No, but it's definitely much harder to fake. I mean, it has the potential of validating things that a lot of other tools have a hard time of validating. Since Twitter is only text, it's very hard for a news editor to validate if someone writes that there is 100,000 people on Tahrir Square at the moment. However, if they are live streaming, then a news editor will be able to send a real time chat saying, can you broadcast to the right, and they will validate that this is going on right here, right now...
  • BROOKE GLADSTONE: …What is the relationship between news outlets and this live streaming?
  • MANS ADLER: A lot of news outlets pick up our videos, use it around their websites or even in their traditional broadcasting scenarios. We have deals with all the public broadcasters in Scandinavia and also a couple of the private ones.
  • When the bomb exploded in Oslo in the 22nd of July this year, there was a person starting a live broadcast, and he - with the bomb they had taken out, and that video was directly picked up by the Danish national broadcaster. So it took four minutes from he started his broadcast until that broadcast was live on the television in the market.
  • FJP: Mans Adler is a co-founder of Bambuser, a live streaming mobile app. Read on at http://wny.cc/JzCDUn
The Internet Defense League
The Internet can always use more heroes and Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit, and Fight for the Future have formed the Internet Defense League to make it so.
Public enemy number one: ACTA and CISPA style legislation that seems to sprout like mushrooms these days.
Via Forbes:

Ohanian describes the project, which they plan to officially launch next month, as a “Bat-Signal for the Internet.” Any website owner can sign up on the group’s website to add a bit of code to his or her site–or receive that code by email at the time of a certain campaign–that can be triggered in the case of a political crisis like SOPA, adding an activist call-to-action to all the sites involved, such as a widget or banner asking users to sign petitions, call lawmakers, or boycott companies.
“People who wish to be tapped can see, oh look, the Bat-Signal is up. Time to do something,” says Ohanian. “Whatever website you own, this is a way for you to be notified if something comes up and take some basic actions…If we aggregate everyone that’s doing it, the numbers start exploding.”

Developers are encouraged to join the League. GitHub is here, a Google Group here and Tracker is here.

The Internet Defense League

The Internet can always use more heroes and Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit, and Fight for the Future have formed the Internet Defense League to make it so.

Public enemy number one: ACTA and CISPA style legislation that seems to sprout like mushrooms these days.

Via Forbes:

Ohanian describes the project, which they plan to officially launch next month, as a “Bat-Signal for the Internet.” Any website owner can sign up on the group’s website to add a bit of code to his or her site–or receive that code by email at the time of a certain campaign–that can be triggered in the case of a political crisis like SOPA, adding an activist call-to-action to all the sites involved, such as a widget or banner asking users to sign petitions, call lawmakers, or boycott companies.

“People who wish to be tapped can see, oh look, the Bat-Signal is up. Time to do something,” says Ohanian. “Whatever website you own, this is a way for you to be notified if something comes up and take some basic actions…If we aggregate everyone that’s doing it, the numbers start exploding.”

Developers are encouraged to join the League. GitHub is here, a Google Group here and Tracker is here.