Tag Archives: Syria
Anthony Shadid was my favorite reporter. All I had to do was see his byline and I would read every word of his articles. I used to see him from time to time around Beirut when I lived there and always wondered what new story he was working on and if it would earn him another Pulitzer. The world lost a great reporter when he passed away on February 16 from an asthma attack he suffered as he rode with smugglers in Syria.
Though in the end it was his own body that failed him, he died while getting the story, and there is no denying that Shadid often put his life at risk to report the truth. He was shot in Palestine, kidnapped in Libya, and spied on by Syrian agents at his own home in Lebanon. Writing about Syria is a touchy subject for anyone in Lebanon, which is not far removed from the deaths of journalists Samir Kassir and Gebran Tueni, both of whom were assassinated for their outspoken views on Syria in 2005.
As if losing Shadid weren’t enough, last week, journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik were killed in an apparent targeted attack on their makeshift media center in Homs. Two other journalists who were wounded in the attack, Edith Bouvier and Paul Conroy, have asked for help to get out of Syria to receive medical treatment. In all, eight journalists have been killed in Syria since mid-November.
The deaths and injuries remind us how dangerous it can be to work as a journalist. Fortunately, there are many great organizations working to help journalists in grave situations across the globe. Here are a few of them:
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) was founded in 1981 by a group of U.S. foreign correspondents. CPJ publishes an annual report, Attacks on the Press, as well as other information on journalist safety, and organizes protests and works through diplomatic channels to help journalists in dangerous situations.
The International News Safety Institute (INSI) is a coalition on news organizations, journalist support groups, and individuals dedicated to the safety of news media staff working in dangerous areas. INSI’s global safety network offers advice and assistance to journalists in these areas.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) promotes international action to defend press freedom through independent journalists unions. IFJ is recognized by the United Nations as the organization empowered to speak on behalf of journalists and has established an International Safety Fund to provide aid to journalists in need.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is an international organization that defends journalists imprisoned or persecuted for doing their job; exposes mistreatment and torture, fights against censorship and laws that undermine press freedom; gives financial aid to journalists or media outlets in difficulty as well to the families of imprisoned journalists; and works to improve the safety of journalists, especially those reporting in war zones.
Global Journalist Security, founded in 2011, is a Washington, DC-based consulting firm that offers security training and advice to media workers, citizen journalists, human rights activists, and NGO staff. The group also trains security forces in developed nations as well as in emerging democracies that aspire “to meet international press freedom and human rights standards how to safely interact with the press.”
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