Tag Archives: Liberia
Human trafficking. Genocide. Illegal dumping of toxic waste. These atrocities are conducted by human beings who would do anything to cover up the truth. Reporting on human rights issues can be dangerous for journalists, especially those working in conflict areas or under authoritarian regimes. Journalists who report on these issues are often activists themselves and are subjected to the worst that humanity has to offer–beatings, torture, imprisonment, and death. Fear is a powerful weapon and can silence the truth as self-censorship becomes entrenched in the media psyche.
One recent example of the dangers of reporting on human rights issues is that of Liberian daily newspaper Front Page Africa journalist Mae Azango, who has gone into hiding after publishing an exposé on female genital mutilation in Liberia. Cultural traditionalists threatened her life after she revealed the genital mutilation rituals of a secret women’s society.
Journalists like Mae can benefit from several resources and programs designed to aid reporting on human rights. This year, Internews launched Speak Up, Speak Out: A Toolkit for Reporting on Human Rights Issues. Internews says the toolkit is a guide that “follows Internews’ tried and tested training methodology, which is hands-on, practical, and links content knowledge to journalism skills and technical tools in specific environments.” It combines background information on international human rights mechanisms; guidelines on producing nuanced, objective reporting on rights issues; and practical exercises that walk users step by step through the production of human rights stories. Internews hopes the toolkit will aid journalists in their struggle to report and raise awareness on human rights issues in their communities.
Other resources and programs for reporting on human rights include:
- The International Women’s Media Foundation offers the Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship for Promoting Human Rights Journalism. The fellowship aims to promote “international understanding of human rights and social justice while creating an opportunity for women journalists to build their skills.”
- Media and Human Rights is a blog dedicated to the discussion of human rights reporting. The blog is written by Belgian journalist Jean-Paul Marthoz, a professor of international journalism, senior adviser of the Committee to Protect Journalists and of the Panos Institute, and vice-chair of the advisory committee of Human Rights Watch Europe and Central Asia Division.
- Amnesty International gives a Young Human Rights Reporter of the Year award. You can watch a video of last year’s competition here.
- The International Federation of Journalists published a handbook for journalists in southeast Europe titled Human Rights Reporting.
- IREX published a manual with the specific focus on reporting on human trafficking titled Reporting on Human Trafficking: Manual for Training Editors and Journalists in Egypt.
- The International Council on Human Rights Policy published a report titled Journalism, Media, and the Challenges of Human Rights Reporting.
- The Canadian-based Journalists for Human Rights has resources for journalists and conducts training programs on reporting on human rights.
- The Human Rights Network for Journalists in Uganda has resources for Ugandan journalists and a toll free helpline for those in need of assistance.
CIMA Intern Brittany Anicetti contributed to this post.
Highlights from the world of digital media. Sign up here for the full version of CIMA’s weekly Digital Media Mash Up.
China has been in the news for its refocused efforts at censoring its citizens. Last week, Chinese authorities shut down 200 microblogs, claiming they contained porn or vulgar content. This week began with the arrest of a pair of citizens who were accused of spreading rumors online. This came as a top Chinese government official urged authorities to be more forceful in the way they manage the Web and the city of Beijing government said that users have three months to register with their real names or face legal consequences.
It’s working. The Financial Times reported that heavy users of Sina Weibo felt that the microblogs had become less vibrant because of new controls over the site. Perhaps the state will pick up the slack, however. Government-related microblogs increased threefold over 2011.
Other China-related digital news:
Digital Media in the Middle East
The Role Of New Media And Communication Technologies In Arab Transitions – Analysis
The pace of events in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya in early 2011 led analysts to identify Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as an important catalyst of the Arab spring. Looking at the role of these tools in processes of political change, we distinguish two phases: firstly, their role in bringing down old regimes, and secondly, their significance in consolidating transitions to democracy once the revolutionary dust has settled. Whilst it is clear that ICTs made an essential contribution to the overthrow of Mubarak and Ben Ali, experiences from other parts of the world show that their role in sustaining the democratic transition process in the longer run is less certain. (Eurasia Review, 12/10)
How the Arab Spring Moved Citizen Journalists to Use Maps, HTML5 Instead of Text
Covering countries in political turmoil has opened the door to innovation: activists and citizen journalists are using maps, HTML5 and video to report the events of the Arab Spring instead of relying only on text. (Mashable, 12/13)
SYRIA: Syria’s Information Revolution Brings News Out of the Dark
Fadi Aho describes his childhood in northeast Syria in the 1980s as “living in a fortress within a fortress.” In Qamishle, near the borders of Turkey and Iraq, he was separated not only by the 650 kilometers between him and the political and cultural capital Damascus, but also by the tightly controlled police state, which he said had prevented him from knowing much about either home or abroad. “There was no real source of news,” he recalls. “No one talked about anything or knew anything.” (The Daily Star, 12/15)
AFRICA: Mobile Technology in Africa: A Comparative View between Kenya and South Africa
A recent GSMA report stated that Africa is currently the second biggest market for mobile in the world. This means that there is huge innovation potential in terms of mobile technology application development, as well as creating solutions (think access to information, ability to transfer money, creating jobs) for the more than 649 million handset owners on the continent. (MIH Media Lab, 12/12)
LIBERIA: AFP Features Ushahidi Liberia
VIDEO: Agence France-Presse visited Ushahidi Liberia’s office during the recent presidential elections to learn how the electoral process, and conflict across the country, was being mapped by partner organizations on the ground. (Ushahidi, 12/12)
SOMALIA: Somalia’s Insurgents Embrace Twitter as a Weapon
Somalia’s powerful Islamist insurgents, the Shabab, best known for chopping off hands and starving their own people, just opened a Twitter account, and in the past week they have been writing up a storm, bragging about recent attacks and taunting their enemies. (New York Times, 12/14)
ARMENIA: More Online Diplomacy
Following the recent Question & Answer session on Twitter with the UK’s new Ambassador to Azerbaijan, his outgoing counterpart in neighboring Armenia, Charles Lonsdale, is due to answer questions on Facebook on Friday 16th December. (Global Voices, 12/14)
KYRGYZSTAN: Crowdsourcing Tapped in Initiative to Add Kyrgyz to Google Translate
Kyrgyz speakers recruited on Facebook and other social networking sites have submitted nearly 30,000 pairs of texts in Kyrgyz and English in an effort aimed at getting Google to add Kyrgyz to the list of languages available on its automatic translation site. (Net Prophet, 12/14)
RUSSIA: After Mass Protests In Russia, Is The Kremlin Using Facebook To Ease The Pressure?
After posting a message on Facebook ordering officials to look into reports of possible violations at polling stations during the December 4 vote, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s page has been overwhelmed by negative comments. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 12/12)
UZBEKISTAN: An Uzbek PM on Facebook; A Funny Fantasy or for Real?
Have you gotten a “Friend Request” from O’zbekiston Respublikasi Bosh vaziri, Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev on Facebook yet? His personal page has 1,818 Friends, explains him to be a 100% Conservative believer in Islam, interested in Women and Married, inspired by various Westerners politicians and so on. There are even some professional photos, both uploaded and tagged, on his profile. But is this all real? (NewEurasia, 12/7)
SERBIA: Mapping Digital Media: Serbia
The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs. (Open Society Foundations, December 2011)
Towards a Cyber Security Strategy for Global Civil Society?
Cyberspace is at a watershed moment. Technological transformations have brought about an architectonic change in the communications ecosystem. Cyber crime has exploded to the point of becoming more than a nuisance, but a national security concern. There is a seriously escalating arms race in cyberspace as governments scale up capabilities in their armed forces to fight and win wars in this domain. Telecommunication companies, internet service providers (ISPs), and other private sector actors now actively police the internet. Pressures to regulate the global network of information and communications have never been greater. (Global Information Society Watch, December 2011)
mHealth: New Horizons for Health through Mobile Technologies
Based on the findings of the second global survey on eHealth, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched this report on the state of mobile technology usage in the field of health. It was written with support from the mHealth Alliance, the United Nations Foundation, and the Vodafone Foundation. The survey enquired about national trends in the adoption of mHealth in 14 specific areas ranging from the use of mobile technologies for health call centres and treatment compliance to mobile telemedicine and community mobilisation for health promotion. Member States were also asked to assess the most significant barriers to mHealth adoption for their country situation, as well as the practice of evaluating existing programmes. (Communication Initiative Network, 12/15)
Global Censorship Update
View Global Censorship Update – December 2011 in a larger map