Digital Media Mash Up: August 2012, Week 2

In this Issue

Top Reads

Upcoming Digital Media Events

In the News:



Top Reads

Only China May Censor Chinese Search Engines
If you want to censor the Internet in China, you'd better be a part of the government, or else you might get arrested and then fired like the three Baidu workers accused of deleting posts for pay. The story of the four fired workers is interesting not because of the fact people were scrubbing posts for money -- according to The Wall Street Journal's Paul Mozur, that's nothing new -- but because censorship is already such a common practice in China, and Baidu is such an active part of it. (Atlantic, 8/6)

The Poorer the Country, the Higher the Cost
The cost for Internet access differs significantly from one country to another. Take for instance the price for 1Mbps: it can cost $250 in Togo (TogoTelecom), and $445 in Niger (Orange Niger), but it can cost only $25 for an 8Mbps connection in France (Orange). (Diplo, 8/8)

The United Nations and the Internet: It's Complicated
On Aug. 2, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution urging the White House to stop an obscure U.N. agency from asserting greater control over the Internet. It is the "consistent and unequivocal policy of the United States," the lawmakers affirmed, "to promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multistakeholder model that governs the Internet today." (Foreign Policy, 8/8)

Internet Security Without Law: How Service Providers Create Online Order
Computer viruses cause a great deal of harm. They steal money from users' bank accounts, distribute spam email from infected machines, and self-organize into botnets that can be used to temporarily overwhelm websites and other servers. Undesirable though these malicious programs may be, they are also costly to avoid, detect, and deter. Because costs are imposed both by the malicious programs themselves and by their abatement, economic analysis needs to be brought to bear to determine the kinds of policy responses that may be appropriate. (George Mason University, 6/19)

Upcoming Digital Media Events

Webinar: "Telling Great Stories"
Monday, August 13, 2012
12:00 p.m. or 4 p.m. EST
Diana B. Henriques became a contributing writer to The New York Times in December 2011, after more than two decades at the paper.

Training: Skills for the Digital Journalist
September 10-14, 2012
Keith Jenkins, NPR; Darren Durlach, Boston Globe; and others
Draft schedule:
Price: $1,175.00
Register: Apply by August 8, 2012 at
Webinar Series:

In the News

Global Censorship Update

Click Here to View a Map of Global Censorship Update Articles

Press Freedom Group Criticzes Oman for Convicting 20 Bloggers, Activists
Reporters Without Borders said Thursday it "vigorously protests" the sentences handed out this week. It also called on Oman to throw out the verdicts. (Washington Post, 8/9)

Interview: China's 'Internet Police' Targets Collective Action
Audie Cornish talks to Gary King, director of Harvard University's Institute for Quantitative Social Science, about new research that looks at the types of online postings censored by the Chinese government. (NPR, 8/8)

Facebook Pushing for 'Likes' to Be Considered Free Speech
Daniel Ray Carter, a sheriff's office employee in Virginia, filed a lawsuit after he was fired for liking the Facebook page of his employer's competitor, and he gained some key support in court. Facebook filed a motion in the United States Court of Appeals, saying that likes should be protected by the First Amendment. (AllFacebook, 8/7)

Disinformation Flies in Syria's Growing Cyber War
On Sunday, it was a hijacked Reuters twitter feed trying to create the impression of a rebel collapse in Aleppo. On Monday, it was another account purporting to be a Russian diplomat announcing the death in Damascus of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (Reuters, 8/7)

Tajikistan Criticized for Blocking Access to News Websites
Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Border (RSF) has criticized Tajikistan for blocking access to news websites. RSF said in a statement on August 2 that access to the country's leading independent news agency Asia-Plus was blocked on August 1 -- for the third time in two months. (Radio Free Europe, 8/6)

Temporary Block on LiveJournal in Russia Exemplifies Overblocking
A regional Russian Internet service provider temporarily blocked the entire Russian LiveJournal site in response to a court order to block one blog on the platform. The incident illustrates the probability of overblocking, especially when targeting an IP address. (OpenNet Initiative, 8/6)

Reuters Hacked by Pro-Assad Propagandists Again, This Time on Twitter
Supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are stepping up the social media propaganda war, and in the past few days have made Reuters their favorite target. (Christian Science Monitor, 8/5)

Syrian Blogger: 'I Live or Die Here'
Al spends hours hunched over his keyboard, typing, working on his blog, Thoughts and Feelings of a Syrian Freedom Fighter. Its entries, thousands of words, white letters against a black background, are nothing like the usual bomb and body-count stories about Syria. (CNN, 8/5)

Massive Internet Censorship Could Add Tajikistan to "Countries Under Surveillance"
Access to the leading independent news website Asia-Plus has been blocked for the third time in two months. It was last blocked on 23 July (see below) and had only just been restored when it was blocked again yesterday. (Reporters Without Borders, 8/2),43109.html

Belarusian Journalist Detained For Showing Subway Security Flaws
Several Belarusian journalists have been lately arrested for having shown flows in the security system of Belarus. The latest arrest, on 25 July 2012, was that of Vital Ruhayn on charges of hooliganism and obscene language in public. In fact, he became infamous for publishing a video online showing a lack of security on the Minsk subway although it was the target of a deadly bombing in April 2011. (EDRI-gram, 8/1)

Nigeria: Senate President Calls for Social Media Censorship
The President of Nigeria's Senate, David Mark, recently advocated clamping down on social media in the country. Many netizens perceived his comments as a declaration of battle on the Nigerian web. (Global Voices, 7/30)

Digital Media News Affecting Journalists and Netizens

Crowdfunding Public Radio: A Public-Private Partnership
Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, where contributors earn rewards in kind, are often likened to fundraisers for public broadcasting. "99% Invisible" flips this logic on its head. The quirky, design-oriented public-radio show has raised $160,000 through Kickstarter to produce the next season. Other public-radio types are taking notice. (Economist, 8/9)

Sina Weibo's Services 'Limited' During Gu Kailai Trial
Users of China's main Twitter-like service, Sina Weibo, have reported difficulties posting messages during a controversial murder trial. (BBC, 8/9)

Netizen Report: Pan-African Edition
This week the spotlight turns to Sub-Saharan Africa where Internet freedom advocates are demanding reform as a range of governments across the continent continue policies of censoring dissent. In Nairobi, Kenya, a Pan African Civil Society Workshop on "Who Controls the Internet?" published a statement calling for African nations to prioritize the UN Human Rights Council Resolution affirming freedom of expression online. (Global Voices Advocacy, 8/9)

New Google Tools to Make the Search Engine More All-Knowing
When Google imagines the future of Web search, it sees a search engine that understands human meaning and not just words, that can have a spoken conversation with computer users and that gives users results not just from the Web but also from their personal lives. (New York Times, 8/8)

Aggregators Help Radio Reach Online Audiences
For the radio industry, there may be no better symbol for the challenges of adapting to the digital age than two candy-colored mobile apps. (New York Times, 8/5)

Pan African Civil Society on "Who Controls the Internet"
Civil society representatives attending a recent Pan African Civil Society Workshop on "Who Controls The Internet" published a statement highlighting support of digital rights efforts and calling for civil society, individual governments, the African Union and other multinational organizations to protect and respect Internet freedom. (Netizen Project, 8/5)

Netizen Report: Olympic Edition
While the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics was meant to celebrate freedom and creativity, its organizers have exercised strict copyright control. World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee appeared at the opening ceremonies of Games amid a dance about social media with a lights display of his live-tweet "This is for everyone." (Global Voices Advocacy, 8/2)

Cryptocat Increases Security in Move Away From JavaScript Web Delivery
Announced over the weekend, encrypted chat service Cryptocat will soon be accessible only by downloading a local browser extension for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Beta release date for version 2 is currently set for August 18th. (Forbes, 7/30)

Freedom House IGF Incubator Project
Freedom House is organizing a competition among civil society activists to obtain funding for projects that promote, protect and advocate for Internet freedom at the national or regional level. At least four projects will be selected to compete in a final round of the competition at the Global Internet Governance Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan, in November 2012. (Freedom House)
Application deadline: September 1, 2012

Infographic: Human Rights Most Affected by the Internet
This infographic has been developed with the support from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. (Association for Progressive Communications)

Update on Digital Media Companies and Outlets

Google Settles With FTC, Agrees to Pay $22.5M Penalty for Bypassing Safari Privacy Settings
Google today agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charge that it bypassed Safari's privacy settings to serve targeted ads to consumers. (TechCrunch, 8/9)

Samsung Says Not Considering Buying RIM or Blackberry Licence
South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co (005930.KS) said on Thursday it has not considered acquiring Research In Motion (RIM.TO) (RIMM.O) or licensing the embattled BlackBerry phone maker's new mobile operating system. (Reuters, 8/9)

An E-Mail Service With Lots of Smarts
There were other good reasons for Microsoft to start fresh: because times have changed and e-mail has changed; because e-mail isn't the only thing you do online anymore (see also Facebook, Twitter); and, frankly, because lots of people still think of Hotmail as, you know, Hotmail. (New York Times, 8/8)

Android Races Past Apple in Smartphone Market Share
Hack Attack Exposes Major Gap in Amazon and Apple Security
The recent hacking of Mat Honan was doubly shocking: he's a writer for tech Bible Wired, and hackers were able to crack his accounts with non-technical ease. (CNN, 8/7)

Apple to Remove YouTube App From iPhone and iPad
The rift between Apple and Google just got a little wider. On Monday, Apple released a test version of its coming iOS 6 operating system, which powers iPads and iPhones, and developers promptly noticed that the YouTube app was missing from its lineup of built-in apps. (New York Times, 8/6)

Wall Street Journal Blog Features Video Clips from Paper's Journalists
A memo from Wall Street Journal executive editor, online Alan Murray says the paper is launching a video blog "powered entirely by clips from our journalists." The WSJ WorldStream site goes live later this month. (Jim, 8/6)

With Live Streaming and New Technology, BBC Tries to Be Everywhere at the Olympics
While some American television viewers are grumbling about the retro feel to NBC's London Olympics coverage, with tape-delayed broadcasts of the opening ceremony and other events, audiences in Britain are getting a more contemporary - even futuristic - TV Games. (New York Times, 8/5)

Q&A: Why the BBC Wants to House Tech Start-Ups
The BBC's commercial wing, BBC Worldwide, has launched BBC Labs, a start-up accelerator with office space, and investor's mentorship. But what does the broadcasting powerhouse want from UK start-ups? (Gigaom, 7/27)

Net Governance has Signed the Declaration of Internet Freedom - Have You?
A coalition of online organisations wants millions of internet users to sign a declaration that promotes internet freedom, to give normal citizens the political brunt to defeat contentious anti-internet bills like Sopa and Pipa. (Wired, 8/8)

Brazil's #MarcoCivil
"Marco Civil", otherwise known as Brazil's Internet bill of rights, could lead the way for more rights-based government policies on online freedoms. If passed, it would make the nation one of the first to guarantee net neutrality in South America. One of the unique features of the bill is that it was posted online for public consultation, drawing thousands of contributions from Brazilian netizens. (Al Jazeera, 8/8)

European Commission Launches Public Consultation on Net Neutrality
The European Commission has launched a public consultation that aims to delve into issues of transparency, switching and internet traffic management with an aim to preserve net neutrality. (Wired, 8/7)

Court Prompts Twitter to Give Data to Police in Threat Case
Twitter officials have complied with a court order to turn over account information to help New York police investigators identify who threatened to carry out an attack like the Colorado movie theater shooting at a Broadway theater where Mike Tyson is appearing in a one-man show, the police said Tuesday. (New York Times, 8/7)

Brazil: Congress to Vote on "Bill of Rights" for Internet Users
The Marco Civil da Internet, a "bill of rights" for Internet users proposed in Brazil, would represent a paramount advance in country's progressive digital policymaking agenda. Officials expect the law will come to a vote on August 8. (Global Voices Advocacy, 8/3)

New Bill Would Force Canada to Review Copyright Law Every Five Years
A little more than a year since the last copyright reform bill (C-32) died when a general election was called, Canada's Conservative government finally committed to update the country's lagging copyright laws. (, 7/9)


Reuters, Gizmodo Hacks are Cautionary Tales for News Orgs
Hackers working in support of Assad loyalists this week decided to take a shortcut, attacking the Reuters news agency's blogging platform and one of its Twitter accounts, and planting false stories about the vanquishing of rebel leaders and wavering support for them from abroad. (PBS MediaShift, 8/9)

Social Media Becoming Online Battlefield in Syria
Social media is often credited with helping spread the Arab Spring, as activists shared messages of discontent and organized protests using Facebook and Twitter. More than a year after the Arab Spring began in Tunisia, it has become a megaphone for propaganda from both sides of the struggle in conflict-ridden Syria. (Mashable, 8/9)

Daily Report: A Step Forward for the Mobile Wallet
Cash moved one small step nearer to its deathbed with the announcement on Wednesday that Square, the mobile payments start-up, would partner with Starbucks Coffee Company, reports Claire Cain Miller on Wednesday in The New York Times. (New York Times, 8/8)

Call for Applications: Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowships - Washington, D.C.
The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program at the Washington, DC-based National Endowment for Democracy invites applications for fellowships in 2013-2014. This federally-funded program enables democracy activists, practitioners, scholars, and journalists from around the world to deepen their understanding of democracy and enhance their ability to promote democratic change. Dedicated to international exchange, this five-month residential program offers a collegial environment for fellows to reflect on their experiences; consider best practices and lessons learned; conduct independent research and writing; engage with counterparts; and develop professional relationships within a global network of democracy advocates. Deadline: Monday, October 15, 2012.
More information:
Application information:


Truth in the Age of Social Media
Verifying information has always been central to the work of journalists. These days the task has taken on a new level of complexity due to the volume of videos, photos, and tweets that journalists face. It's not only the volume that presents challenges but the sophisticated tools that make it easier than ever to manipulate information. This issue of Nieman Reports looks at how the BBC, the AP, CNN, and other news organizations are addressing questions of truth and verification. (Nieman, Summer 2012)

Safety on the Line: Exposing the Myth of Mobile Communication Security
This report evaluates the risks and vulnerabilities of mobile phone services and apps in 12 specified countries: the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Belarus, the People's Republic of China, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Libya, the Sultanate of Oman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Tunisian Republic, the Republic of Uzbekistan, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. (Freedom House / Broadcasting Board of Governors, 7/27)

Multilateral Cyber Security Solutions: Contemporary Realities
Cyber security poses one of the more significant contemporary challenges today, resulting in the deployment of enormous resources and its treatment in countless papers and reports. Inevitably, the subject of multilateral solutions is treated-suggesting the need and efficacy of pursuing or evolving various forms of global agreements and activities. (Public Interest Report, Spring 2012)


IJNet is the premier global website for journalists and media managers to learn about training and networking opportunities.

Global Policy Weekly
The Center for Democracy and Technology's Global Policy Weekly highlights the latest Internet policy developments and proposals from around the world, compiled by CDT's Global Internet Freedom Project.

Deeplinks Blog
Online censorship, privacy, and surveillance information from Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The Open Net Initiative
The OpenNet Initiative is a collaborative partnership of three institutions: the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto; the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; and the SecDev Group (Ottawa).

NDItech | democracyworks
The NDItech DemocracyWorks blog provides a platform for NDI to engage in ongoing conversations about the important and increasing role technology plays in politics and democratic development. The blog is managed by NDI's ICT (information and communication technology) team.

Internet and Digital Media in China

Social Media Exchange
Social Media Exchange (SMEX) is a social enterprise that offers training and consulting on social media and online strategy to both nonprofit and for-profit organizations in Lebanon and the Arab world.

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*Items compiled for the Digital Media Mash Up are taken directly from other websites and published material. The links do not represent the views of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Center for International Media Assistance, or its staff.