Digital Media Mash Up, August - Week 4

In this Issue

Upcoming Events - In Washington, D.C.
In the News:


Upcoming Events - In Washington, D.C.

Independent Media in Egypt and Tunisia
Thursday, September 1, 2011
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Center for International Media Assistance / National Endowment for Democracy / Internews
Participants: Enrique Armijo, Covington & Burling, LLP; Toby Mendel, Centre for Law and Democracy; Jamal Dajani, Internews Network; Joan Barata Mir, Universitat Ramon Llull; Amy Hawthorne, U.S. Department of State; Natasha Tynes, International Center for Journalists; Drusilla Menaker, International Research & Exchanges Board; Moderated by: Stephen Fuzesi, Jr., CIMA Advisory Council
About: Join us for a roundtable discussion on media law in Egypt and Tunisia after the Arab Spring. As the two countries prepare for elections in the fall, media assistance stakeholders are analyzing how reforms will affect the legal enabling environment for independent media. A recent report by the Center for International Media Assistance, Media and the Law: An Overview of Legal Issues and Challenges, finds that the legal conditions under which news media operate are crucial factors to the sector's success. A liberal and empowering legal regime can enable the growth of media and allow them to fulfill their function as watchdog of democratic society without fear of legal sanction, thus helping to make governments more accountable. What current laws, regulations, and practices affect journalists in Egypt and Tunisia? What legislation is being drafted to replace or supplement them, and how will it have an impact on independent media? How can local civil society organizations, donors, implementers, and policymakers use this transition to negotiate meaningful change in the legal enabling environment?
Location: National Endowment for Democracy
1025 F Street, N.W., Suite 800
Washington, DC 20004

Liability and Reliability With Crowdsourced and Volunteered Information for Disaster Management: Part I: Domestic Emergency Preparedness
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Woodrow Wilson Center and the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation
Participants: Martin Valentine, Senior Manager, USAA Insurance; Deborah Shaddon, CrisisCommons Core Team Member and Infrastructure Working Group Lead; Charles Werner, Charlottesville Fire Department (VA); Rand Napoli, Vice-Chairman, NAPSG Foundation (fmr. Florida State Fire Marshal); Brad Kieserman, Chief of Counsel, Federal Emergency Management Agency; Xenophon Gikas, Captain, Los Angeles City Fire Department
About: A local engaged citizenry, prepared for all types of hazards, is central to fostering a higher level of community resilience needed to meet the complex and dynamic threats of the 21st century. The rapid rate of innovation and adoption of technology, especially mobile technology, by citizens and first responders alike has the potential to enable a greater level of community preparedness not previously possible.
Location: 5th Floor
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
One Woodrow Wilson Plaza - 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004-3027
RSVP: Please contact Joe Filvarof with your RSVP for this event-he can be reached by email at or by phone at 202-691-4321.

In the News

Global Censorship Update

Yemeni Government Forces Arrest Cameraman
The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the continuing deterioration of conditions for journalists operating in Yemen. On August 12, authorities detained Ahmed Firas, a cameraman for Suhail TV. (Committee to Protect Journalists, 8/22)

Agency Uses Circumvention Tools to Advance Democracy
As humorless border guards and red-penned press censors have given way to Internet firewalls and denial-of-service cyberattacks, the federal government's international broadcasting arm has had to find new ways to support the free flow of information in repressive states. (Nextgov, 8/23)

China: Online Commerce Site Bans Sale of Web Filtering Software
A major Chinese online commerce site,, has banned sales of software used to bypass internet censorship. (Index on Censorship, 8/23)

China: Online Censors Delete Family's Plea for Justice
Blog posts of family members asking for justice following their relative's suspicious death in police custody have been deleted by Chinese censors, potentially to quell discourse over alleged police brutality. (Index on Censorship, 8/24)

Regime Steps Up Online Control and Media Crackdown
Reporters Without Borders today deplored "extremely worrying" moves by the Uzbek government to control the free flow of news in the country, notably by setting up a new official body to curb the media. (Reporters Without Borders, 8/25)

Digital TV Frequency Allocation Deals Blow to Media Pluralism and Independence
Reporters Without Borders has written an open letter to Volodymyr Manzhosov, the head of the National Council for TV and Radio Broadcasting, questioning last week's controversial allocation of digital TV frequencies and calling for a fairer and more transparent allocation.(Reporters Without Borders, 8/25),408...

Mounting Concern about Kazakhstan's Use of Cyber-Censorship
Kazakhstan, which likes to portray itself as a regional model after holding the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's rotating presidency in 2010, seems to be forgetting all of its fine promises in order to embark with evident determination on the road of cyber-censorship. (Reporters Without Borders, 8/26)

Digital Media News Affecting Activists

Apps for Good: Technical Innovation from the Minds and Thumbs of Disadvantaged Youths
Apps for Good recruits immigrant or unemployed youths from London neighborhoods to develop phone programs relevant to their needs and to teach entrepreneurial skills. (Christian Science Monitor, 8/17)

E-Portal to the Future
Universal online government services in Thailand is the goal by 2015 through a planned all-purpose website. (Bangkok Post, 8/17)

Mobile Crowdsourced Website Expands in Latin America
Kara Andrade realized the impact of mobile communication while walking around in the Guatemalan jungle. (IJNet, 8/19)

Teaching Journalism in an Age When News Comes to You
Does it matter where a story comes from, as long as it makes the news? Apparently it doesn't matter at all, to many of the latest crop of journalism students who believe their smart phones hold the keys to truth. (PBS MediaShift, 8/22)

Khan Academy Integrates With Digital Textbooks
The 12-minute video lectures that Bill Gates has called "the start of a revolution" will now be linked with the material in some digital textbooks. Etextbook maker Kno announced Monday that it will integrate thousands of tutorial videos from Khan Academy into its book. (Mashable, 8/22)

Cheap Smartphones Could Transform Africa
A story popped out at me on Singularity Hub last week about an $80 Android smartphone manufactured in China and sold in Kenya. It caught my attention precisely because cheap smartphones have the power to transform poor countries in a big way, and that's something that should get the attention of every business. (Internet Evolution, 8/22)

Indonesia's Mobile Pace Leveling Off
To Stay Competitive, Major Cellular Companies Need to Get Creative as Era of Easy Expansion Begins to Wither (Wall Street Journal, 8/22)

Chile: New Partnership Between Global Voices and Mi Voz
Global Voices and Mi Voz - a Chilean network of online citizen newspapers - have just launched a new partnership. Every month Global Voices will publish an article with stories from Mi Voz, amplifying the voices of their citizen correspondents to an international audience. (GlobalVoices, 8/22)

How e-Textbooks, Online Modules Could Keep Journalism Education Current
Journalism textbooks can be a challenge (or as one commenter on my recent post on the subject called them, an oxymoron) in today's fast-changing media world. (PBS MediaShift, 8/25)

Update on Digital Media Companies and Outlets

Google+ Gets a +1 for Browser Security
Launching a new Web app today comes with a few certainties, and one of them is, "I will be a target for hackers" for sure. (Barracuda Labs, 7/21)

Thousands Urge Apple to Pull Censorship Patent
For the tech world, this has been the summer of patents. One reason Google wants to purchase Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion is to grab its 24,000 active and pending patents. (Save the Internet, 8/19)

Google+, Day 15: A Closer Look at Google+ Privacy
One of the most appealing aspects of Google+ for many users is privacy. Many feel Facebook has been too cavalier when it comes to sharing personal information, and that Google is a better steward of sensitive data. (Net Work, 8/22)

Rise in Defamation Cases Involving Blogs and Twitter
The growth of social networking sites has seen the number of defamation cases involving online content more than double in the 12 months to June, new research has found. (Guardian, 8/26)

Digital Media's Response to Censorship Over Riots

Little Evidence Links Mob Violence to Social Media
Worried that flash mob violence would overrun city streets as it had elsewhere, the Cleveland City Council unanimously passed legislation that would criminalize the use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media for assembling unruly crowds or encouraging people to commit a crime. (CNN, 8/19)

Twitter to Join Facebook & RIM for Riot Talks With UK Government
Twitter has confirmed that it will attend a meeting with UK Home Secretary Theresa May and other UK officials about the role social media played in riots earlier this month. (Mashable, 8/22)

Twitter Study Casts Doubts on Ministers' Post-Riots Plan
Analysis of tweets during recent unrest appears to undermine the case for banning people from social networks (Guardian, 8/24)

Facebook and Twitter to Oppose Calls for Social Media Blocks During Riots
Ministers expected to row back from David Cameron's demand that suspected rioters be barred from websites (Guardian, 8/24)

Facebook and Twitter Riot Clampdown Opposed By Human Rights Groups
Amnesty International and Index on Censorship voice concern ahead of home secretary's meeting with social networks (Guardian, 8/25)

In Britain, a Meeting on Limiting Social Media
British officials and representatives of Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry met Thursday to discuss voluntary ways to limit or restrict the use of social media to combat crime and periods of civil unrest, while trying to dodge charges of hypocrisy and censorship that trailed Prime Minister David Cameron's call to restrict use of the networks after this month's riots. (New York Times, 8/25)

Digital Media in the Middle East

U.S. Providing Iraq With Phone, SMS Monitoring Devices
A U.S. military official says Washington will provide Iraqi authorities with technology to monitor and record phone calls and phone-text messages with the aim of preventing terrorist attacks, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq reports (RFI). (Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, 8/21)

Libyan TV Still on Air, But State Radio Reported Silent
There's still some confusion about the current media situation in Tripoli. Glenn Hauser reports that "At 0006 UT Aug 22, MSNBC reported that the rebels had seized the state radio building in Tripoli." This report may have been premature (see update 1200 UTC). (Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 8/22)

Iran Launches Spanish-Language Hispan TV
A Brazilian newspaper has reported the inauguration and launching of Iran's first Spanish-language news channel, which can be received in Europe and America, including Brazil. (Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 8/22)

Blank Pictures from Libyan State TV Augurs Moment of Change
Rebel spokesman claims control of the Jamahiriya channel after fighters storm the building (Guardian, 8/22)

Special Report: In Libya, the Cellphone as Weapon
When Muammar Gaddafi's government shut off the cellphone network in Misrata in the early days of Libya's uprising, it wanted to stop rebel forces communicating with each other. (Reuters, 8/23)

In Afghan Fight, U.S. Takes to the Airwaves
In this rugged province where news travels almost exclusively by radio, the man who calls himself DJ Abed Lawang is one of the biggest names on the airwaves, known for playing hit Pashto ballads, telling jokes and hosting a popular call-in show about farming practices. (Washington Post, 8/24)

Syria Plans New 'Counter-Propaganda' Channels
The leading Western media are purposefully spreading disinformation about developments in Syria, according to that country's Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud. (Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 8/25)

China Reveals Involvement in Cyber Attacks

Slip-Up in Chinese Military TV Show Reveals More Than Intended
A standard, even boring, piece of Chinese military propaganda screened in mid-July included what must have been an unintended but nevertheless damaging revelation: shots from a computer screen showing a Chinese military university is engaged in cyberwarfare against entities in the United States. (Epoch Times, 8/21)

China's Denials about Cyberattacks Undermined by Video Clip
Viewers of China Central Television got an unusual glimpse last month of that nation's cyber-weaponry: A video clip showed a military computer program on which an unseen user selects a "target" - in this case, a Falun Gong Web site based in Alabama - and hits a button labeled "attack." (Washington Post, 8/24)

Chinese TV Programme Shows Apparent Cyber-Attack on US Website
Footage that appears to feature army-labelled software raises questions about China's denials of involvement in hacking (Guardian, 8/25)

Internet Returns to Libya

After Months of Blackouts, Web Access Returns to Libya
Internet service was, indeed, returning Monday to Tripoli and other parts of Libya. (CNN, 8/22)


Revolution in Georgia: Student Newspaper Goes Digital First
The Red & Black, one of the largest and most-feted college newspapers in the country, recently dropped a bombshell on its readers and the student journalism community. (PBS MediaShift, 8/18)

VOA Somali Service Available on Mobile Phones in Great Britain
Voice of America's Somali Service, which has been providing extensive coverage of the devastating drought in Africa, is now being offered to mobile phone users throughout Great Britain. (Voice of America, 8/22)

Online Guatemalan Newspaper Publishes Wikileaks Cables About Presidential Candidate
Plaza Pública, a Guatemalan online newspaper, published U.S. State Department cables obtained from Wikileaks regarding presidential candidate Otto Pérez Molina. (Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, 8/22)

Interview With Nikahang Koswar, Editor of Collective News Website
Nikahang Koswar is an Iranian journalist and cartoonist who was forced to flee his country in 2003 for trying to sketch too realistic a portrait of the society fashioned by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Reporters Without Borders, 8/24),40836.html

Brazilian Internet Rights Bill Ready for Congress' Review
The Brazilian minister of communications announced that Tuesday, Aug. 23, a bill defining Internet rights was ready and would be sent shortly to Congress for its review, reported the newspaper Folha de São Paulo. The bill has been under discussion for over a year. (Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, 8/25)

Uzbekistan Launches Its Own Facebook, Except It's Not For Everyone
Ever since social networks have come under greater scrutiny for their role in the Arab Spring -- and indeed in the U.K. riots -- repressive governments have been scrambling to find ways to rein in the unruly kids and their social networks. (Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, 8/26)


The Evolving Landscape of Internet Control: A Summary of Our Recent Research and Recommendations
Over the past two years, we have undertaken several studies at the Berkman Center designed to better understand the control of the Internet in less open societies. During the years we've been engaged in this research, we have seen many incidents that have highlighted the continuing role that the Internet serves as a battleground for political control, including partial or total Internet shutdowns in China, Iran, Egypt, Libya, and Syria; many hundreds of documented DDoS, hacking, and other cyber attacks against political sites; continued growth in the number of countries that filter the Internet; and dozens of well documents cases of on- and offline persecution of online dissidents. The energy dedicated to these battles for control of the Internet on both the government and dissident sides indicated, if nothing else, that both sides think that the Internet is a critical space for political action. In this paper, we offer an overview of our research in the context of these changes in the methods used to control online speech, and some thoughts on the challenges to online speech in the immediate future. (Berkman Center, 8/18)

International Bloggers and Internet Control
The Internet is an increasingly contested space, particularly in countries with repressive governments. Infringements on Internet freedom, particularly through Internet filtering and surveillance, have inspired activists and technologists to develop technological counter-measures, most notably circumvention tools to defeat Internet filters and anonymity tools to help protect user privacy and avoid online surveillance efforts. The widely heralded role of online activism in the Arab spring and the increasing incidence of Internet filtering around the world have spurred greater interest in supporting the development and dissemination of these tools as a means to foster greater freedom of expression online and strengthen the hand of activists demanding political reform. However, despite the perceived importance of this field, relatively little is known about the demand for and usage patterns of these tools. (Berkman Center, 8/18)

2011 Circumvention Tool Evaluation
Given the rising awareness of the potential of the Internet as a political space and increasing government control over the space, it is easy to understand the widespread interest in finding technical solutions to Internet filtering. While filtering circumvention technologies emerged in 1996 with Bennet Hazelton's Peacefire, designed to evade filtering within US high schools and universities, in recent years, there's been a great deal of interest in the technical community and the general public in the topic of Internet circumvention. The embrace of an "Internet freedom" agenda by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a pair of widely publicized speeches has increased awareness of the challenges of Internet filtering and encouraged new actors to explore or enter the field.(Berkman Center, 8/18)
In the Name of God: Faith-based Internet Censorship in Majority Muslim Countries
Religion-based Internet censorship bars the free flow of information in many majority Muslim countries by means of regulatory restrictions and ISP-level technical filtering that blocks objectionable web content. (OpenNet Initiative, 8/1)

In the Name of God: Faith-Based Internet Censorship in Majority Muslim Countries
Religion-based internet censorship bars the free flow of information in many majority Muslim countries by means of regulatory restrictions and ISP-level technical filtering that blocks objectionable web content. (OpenNet Initiative, 8/1)