Digital Media Mash Up: December 2011, Week 2

In this Issue

Upcoming Events - In Washington, D.C. and Beyond

In the News:


Upcoming Events - In Washington, D.C. and Beyond

Washington, DC

Hungary's Media Law: One Year Later
Tuesday, December 13, 12am
It has been a year since Hungary's parliament passed a media law that drew widespread international criticism for undermining freedom of expression and increasing media controls. The government has disputed these claims, but the recent International Partnership Mission to Hungary, which comprised freedom of expression and media development groups, found the new regulations to be "broad, uncertain, and inconsistent with European standards of media freedom." Specifically, democracy and media advocates object to the law's scope of regulation, vague content rules, the Media Council's wide-ranging powers and appointment structure, and changes to public service media, among other issues. Panelists will examine the impact of the law one year after its passage and discuss the outlook for press freedom in Hungary in the wake of deteriorating economic conditions, media convergence, and other challenges.
Featuring: Charles Gati, Johns Hopkins University; Miklos Haraszti, Columbia University; Ellen Hume, Central European University; Balázs Weyer, Foundation for Quality Journalism; Nadia Diuk, National Endowment for Democracy.
Location: Center for International Media Assistance at the National Endowment for Democracy, 1025 F Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC

Beyond Washington

FAILfaire NYC 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011, 7pm
Tech projects for social change succeed sometimes, but more often than not, they fail. The successes are reported on, and the failures are quietly pushed under the proverbial rug. Well, it's time to bring out the failures, with a sense of humor, and with an honest look at ourselves at FAILfaire NYC 2011. FAILfaire features case studies of projects using tech in social change that have, to put it simply, been a #FAIL. Busted, kaputt. Tongue firmly in cheek, we take a close look at what didn't work and why the projects failed amidst the hype of tech changing the work - hype that we all are subjected to (and are sometimes contributors to).
Organized by: - a global network of people using mobile technology for social impact. Hosted by: The U.S. Fund for UNICEF, with participation from UNICEF's Innovation Unit
Location: U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 125 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038-4999

Share the MADness: A Social Media BarCamp for Lebanese Civil Society
Saturday, December 17, 2011, 8:30am
Media for Advocacy and Development: a social media trainer certification program designed to develop the skills needed to be a successful social media trainer/coach in the Arab advocacy and development context.
Featuring: SMEX, AUB, AltCity, Annahar, AddWork, EMediaT, Girl Geek Camp, IndyAct, LOST, Ma3bar, Maharat Foundation, أن ~ n community creativity, Naharnet, and YASA.
Location: American University of Beirut, Lebanon

In the News

Global Censorship Update

View the Global Censorship Update in a Google Map.

Internet Freedom in Central Asia Worsens Say Human Rights Groups
Internet freedom in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan is amongst the worst in the world and, although not nearly as bad, it is deteriorating rapidly in Kazakhstan, a group of human rights organisations have said. (The Telegraph, 11/30)

This Week in Internet Censorship
Activists and bloggers under fire, "cyber security" proposals, and surveillance tech exports. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, 12/6)

BELGIUM: Belgian ISPs vs. Internet Freedom
Last September, in a case initiated by the Belgian Anti-Piracy Federation (BAF), an Antwerp Court of Appeals ordered two major fixed broadband providers (Telenet and Belgacom) to block access to the Pirate Bay at the DNS level. In November, the BAF sent a letter to other Belgian ISPs, threatening legal action unless they also blocked access to the Pirate Bay. Earlier this week, a Belgian Internet watchdog group (NURPA) reported that one of the three major mobile Internet providers in Belgium, Base, complied with the letter and voluntarily started blocking access to the Pirate Bay. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, 12/7)

CHINA: China Cracks Down on Microblogging Rumours That Are 'Worse Than Cocaine'
Official Chinese media say that rumours spread on popular microblogging sites are damaging to society (The Guardian, 12/6)

CHINA: More Signals on Social Media Control
We noted at CMP yesterday that the rhetoric of online information control has been gearing up in China in recent days, focusing on social media and particularly on microblogging platforms like Sina Weibo. Like the recent action by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television to ban the insertion of advertisements in television dramas in China, the intensified campaign against "unhealthy" information online - microblog rumors are characterized as a "drugs," for example - takes its cues from the October "Decision" on so-called cultural reforms. (China Media Project, 12/7)

ECUADOR: Twitter User Receives Warning from Government Official
On 19 November 2011, the President of the National Assembly, Fernando Cordero, issued a public warning against Betty Escobar, an Ecuadorian citizen who lives in the United States. Through the micro-blogging social network Twitter, Cordero warned Escobar to "change her language or she would soon regret her licentiousness," after she tweeted a comment that was critical of the official. (IFEX, 11/28)

EGYPT: Egypt Blogger Maikel Nabil Wins Freedom Award
Embattled and imprisoned Maikel Nabil has not received the same attention as his fellow jailed cohorts. Until now. The International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) in Turkey has named the young Egyptian blogger the first IFLRY Freedom Award winner for "his firm commitment to freedom." (Bikya Masr, 12/2)

EGYPT: Frustrated @Alaa's Father Takes Innocence Evidence to the Public
Prominent lawyer and father of detained activist Alaa Abdel-Fatah, fed up with prosecutors 'inexplicable laxness' in vetting charges, goes public on TV with evidence suggesting his son's innocence (Al-Ahram, 12/6)

EGYPT: Glimpses of a Detained Blogger in Cairo
VIDEO: Early on Wednesday, Mosireen, a media collective in Cairo, added a short report on the activist blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah to its YouTube channel. (New York Times, 12/7)

EGYPT: Maikel Nabil Retrial Postponed for 8th Time
A military court on Wednesday postponed the re-trial of blogger Maikel Nabil until 14 December. This is the eighth postponement since the retrial began on 1 November. (Al-Masry Al-Youm, 12/7)

EGYPT: Mona Eltahawy, Journalist Who Was Assaulted By Egyptian Security Forces, Blasts Junta's Violent Oppression
VIDEO: Mona Eltahawy, an acclaimed Egyptian-American journalist who was arrested and assaulted by Egyptian security forces last month, is now determined to tell the world about the spiraling situation in her homeland. (Huffington Post, 12/8)

INDIA: India Asks Google, Facebook to Screen User Content
The Indian government has asked Internet companies and social media sites like Facebook to prescreen user content from India and to remove disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory content before it goes online, three executives in the information technology industry say. (New York Times, 12/5)

INDIA: Press Coverage of Online Censorship Row
We are maintaining a rolling blog with press references to the row created by the proposal by the Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology to pre-screen user-generated Internet content. (Center for Internet and Society, 12/8)

IRAN: Iran Blocks U.S. 'Virtual Embassy'
Iranian Internet users say the country's authorities have blocked a web-based U.S. "embassy" to Iran, less than a day after it went online. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 12/7)

IRAN: International Broadcasters Say Iran Is Increasing Efforts to Jam Foreign Broadcasts
Leading international broadcasters on Wednesday accused Iran of increasing its intimidation of foreign media and accelerating efforts to jam satellite broadcasts in Farsi from reaching Iranian audiences. (Washington Post, 12/7)

RUSSIA: Journalists and Bloggers Arrested during Moscow Demonstration
Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday's arrests of reporters, photographers and bloggers while covering a street protest in Moscow against the results of the previous day's parliamentary elections and the irregularities that accompanied the polling. (Reporters Without Borders, 12/6),41...

SYRIA: Why Syria's Arrested Blogger, Razan Ghazzawi, Is One of My Heroes
A consummate activist, let's hope my friend's belief in the power of people is well placed and helps secure her freedom. By Jillian C. York. (The Guardian, 12/5)

SYRIA: Arrest of Syrian Blogger Razan Ghazzawi
Yesterday afternoon, Syrian immigration police at the Syrian/Jordanian border arrested activist/blogger Razan Ghazzawi while she was heading to attend the Forum of Defenders of Media Freedom in the Arab World in Amman. Ghazzawi is a representative of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. (Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, 12/5)

SYRIA: Free Razan Ghazzawi
She was sitting in her favourite spot in Damascus, a table under the tree in the cafe in the grounds of the National Museum of Damascus. That was the first time I met Razan. It was 12 October 2007, although we'd been emailing and commenting on each other's blogs for a few months before that. Now she's in prison. (News from Syria, 12/5)

SYRIA: Syria Detains Blogger, Press Freedom Advocate
The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the detention of journalist and press freedom campaigner Razan Ghazzawi and calls on Syrian authorities to immediately release her. CPJ also urges the government to end the routine harassment and detention of journalists and to make public the names of all detained journalists and any crimes they may be charged with. (Committee to Protect Journalists, 12/5)

THAILAND: Thai Crackdown on Facebook Remarks on King
Thailand has warned users of Facebook that they could face prosecution under harsh lese-majeste laws if they press ''share'' or ''like'' on images or articles considered unflattering to the Thai monarchy. (Sydney Morning Herald, 11/26)

THAILAND: Thai Judge Gives American Two Years' Jail for 'Insulting Monarchy'
Joe Gordon was in Colorado when he blogged excerpts from banned biography but was arrested when he visited Thailand. (The Guardian, 12/8)

This document is a guide to the Stop Online Piracy Act as proposed in the United States House of Representatives. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), H.R. 3261, 112th Cong. (2011). It represents our notes as we sought to understand exactly what it does and how it does it - along with our corresponding sense for why its principal mechanisms make for poor law. Our aim is for this analysis to be useful to anyone wanting to understand the Act - whatever his or her point of view may be on technology or intellectual property policy. (Future of the Internet, 12/2)

Digital Media News Affecting Journalists and Activists

#news2011: Russia Today on Raising Awareness through Its FreeVideo Platform
After the second day of sessions focused on business at the Global Editors Network news summit, including paywalls and paid-for app, it was fitting that during the third and final day of presentations we heard about projects offering content and platforms for free. One such project came from Russia Today which outlined its FreeVideo platform, described as an "English language video agency". The website, which should be of interest to journalists worldwide, provides free video footage that journalists can download, edit and reuse for their own projects and output. (, 11/30)

Why 2011 Will Be Defined by Social Media Democracy
On Jan. 25, 2011 pictures and videos flooded out of Egypt as tens of thousands of anti-government protestors took to the streets in a "Day of Rage" protest over President Mubarak's 30-year rule. Pro-democracy sympathizers across the world retweeted and shared the updates, even as the Egyptian government disabled cellphone towers and blocked Twitter in an attempt to censor the material. Reports indicated that households and businesses opened up their Wi-Fi networks to support the protesters and to allow the dissemination of information. The pictures and videos that continued to appear across YouTube and Facebook trended on Twitter worldwide, both inspiring and shocking international onlookers. (Mashable, 12/1)

How to Use Urtak, A Collaborative Polling Tool, to Increase Reader Engagement
A week before Thanksgiving, conservative news site posted a story about whether retail stores should be open on the holiday. The post received more than 120,000 responses in less than two days, reaching 140,000 by the end of the month. This spike in reactions was 500 times the site's norm, but it's not the first time it's happened. (Poynter, 12/6)

Filling the Gaps: How Citizen Journalism Is Replacing Local Press
The demise of regional papers and the rise of online media have opened up opportunities for individuals to run grass roots websites reporting on issues that matter to them. (The Journalism Foundation, 12/6)

Why News Sites Should Add Facebook's New 'Subscribe' Button
Facebook exec Joanna Shields just revealed at a conference that the social network is poised to roll out a "Subscribe" button that will allow users to subscribe to other users' updates. Think of it as a Twitter "follow" button for Facebook, embeddable on any site. (Lost Remote, 12/7)

The Role of Technology in Journalism
There is a seasonal theme to this month's Carnival of Journalism, hosted by The Guardian Developer blog. Journalists are being asked when would be the best present from programmers and developers, and vice versa for developers. It is a key question as it focuses on the intersection of emerging communication technologies and journalistic norms and practices. (, 12/9)

Update on Digital Media Companies and Outlets

FACEBOOK: Even the FTC Can't Stop Facebook's Mad Rush Toward Total Information Awareness
Upcoming IPO Will Give the Social Network Plenty of Cash to Keep Building Scary Web Surveillance System. (AdAge, 12/5)

TWITTER: Twitter Takes Sides on the Internet's Future
While some tech companies aim to sell surveillance, one aims to thwart it. (Salon, 12/4)

TWITTER: Twitter To Launch Redesigned Tweet & Follow Buttons
Twitter has been sporting the blueish Tweet button since it was launched, and nothing has really been changed with it since. I am sure that most people who have been on Twitter since the social networking giant's early days know that in the beginning, Twitter used "Update" instead of "Tweet" to send out our thoughts and shares. However, since Twitter changed the label on the button, it seems things have pretty much been the same. (Bit Rebels, 12/4)

TWITTER: How Twitter's Trending Algorithm Picks Its Topics
The list of "trending topics" on the right side of Twitter's home page is a coveted spot because millions of people see it. It often reflects what's hot in the news, from the death of Steve Jobs to Kim Kardashian's latest exploits. Sometimes a topic that seems hot, like Occupy Wall Street, doesn't trend, leading some activists to charge Twitter with censorship. But the complex algorithms that determine trending topics are intended to find what's trending in the moment, and not what's been around for a long time. (NPR, 12/7)

YOUTUBE: Google to Launch Youtube Nigeria
Google is set to launch a Nigerian YouTube version today. Nigeria will become the eighth country after Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Uganda, Algeria and Tunisia to get their own version of YouTube with localised look and content. Officially, Google has only announced the launch of Youtube in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa. (TechMtaa, 12/7)

Digital Media in the Middle East

DW-TV Arabia Making Waves in the Middle East
DW-TV ARABIA was re-launched on September 12 with a new schedule offering a block of programming in Arabic during primetime and a focus on establishing a dialogue between Europe and the Arab world. In the first two months, the successes are beginning to add up. (Zawya, 11/28)

Deadly Shootings in Saudi Arabia, but Arab Media Look the Other Way
Even Al-Jazeera English, which does better than its Arabic sister station, did not follow up its coverage of deaths at Qatif protests. (The Guardian, 11/28)

Sky News Arabia Precedes Its Launch with a Video Blog "To Inspire Young Journalists."
"Sky News Arabia has put up a weekly video blog to provide viewers with an insight into how things work in establishing a new international channel. (Kim Andrew Elliot, 12/4)

Record Audiences for BBC's Arabic Services
People across the Middle East have increasingly turned to the BBC during the 'Arab Uprising' with a record rise in audiences, according to independent research published today. (BBC, 12/5)

Facebook to Arrange, Twitter to Share, YouTube to Show the World
The Arab Spring was widely reported as the Twitter and Facebook revolution. Collected are some of the key social media commentators of the Arab Spring. (The Journalism Foundation, 12/7)

Forum for Media Freedom Defenders Continues in the Shadow of Razan Ghazzawi's Arrest
With 120 participants from across the Arab world and beyond, the three-day 'Forum for Media Freedom Defenders in the Arab World' kicked-off on Monday in the Jordanian capital, Amman. (Editors Weblog, 12/7)

LIBYA: How a Volunteer News Brigade Broke through Libya's Internet Blackout
When the Egyptian revolution sent tremors through the Middle East, a group of young Libyans got ready for the impending shake-up in their own country. They formed the Libyan Youth Movement, or Shabab Libya in Arabic, a team of 17 volunteers on a mission to tell the world about what was really going on there. (ijnet, 12/7)

Digital Media and the Elections in Russia

Russian Court Fines Election Monitor $1,000
A Moscow court on Friday ruled that the country's sole independent election watchdog had broken Russian law by publishing citizens' complaints of campaign abuses during the run-up to parliamentary elections this weekend. Friday's court ruling related to Golos's "Map of Violations," which has attracted more than 4,500 reports alleging illegal campaign tactics, including stories of employers threatening workers with pay cuts and local officials ordering business leaders to pressure subordinates. (New York Times, 12/3)

Critical Websites Hacked, Down on Election Day
Popular Russian media websites, the major LiveJournal social network and the website of the country's biggest independent election watchdog, were inaccessible in hacking attacks for several hours on Sunday in what their employees said was an attempt to jam information on parliamentary elections. (Ria Novosti, 12/4)

Massive DDOS Attack on Independent Media during Russian Duma Election
I'm just waking up to discover that, coinciding with today's Russian Duma elections, there has been a series of major DDOS attacks that have at times brought down a number of leading independent media outlets, the LiveJournal blogging platform, and the online 'map of [election] violations' by election watchdog group Golos. (Internet and Democracy Blog, 12/4)

The Internet's Watching
Past Sunday's Duma Elections Were the First Russian Elections to Come Under So Much Scrutiny in RuNet, Social Networks and the Russian Blogosphere. (Ria Novosti, 12/5)

A Blogger Could Start Russia's Arab Spring
The new face of the Russian opposition is a young whistle-blowing, shareholder activist, muckraking blogger by the name of Alexei Navalny. At 2:15 p.m. on Monday, he called his huge internet following to a 7 p.m. demonstration at the Chistye Prudy park to protest "the rotten total fabrication of Moscow election results." He wondered why some Moscow districts reported 20 percent while identical districts next door reported 70 percent votes for United Russia. (Forbes, 12/6)

Social Media Makes Anti-Putin Protests "Snowball"
Artyom Kolpakov used to shrug when he came across occasional appeals on social media sites to protest against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his government. "I didn't see the point really," he said. But something changed when, clicking through amateur videos and online testimonies documenting cases of ballot-stuffing and repeat voting, he saw others shared his outrage at Putin's party's victory in Sunday's parliamentary election. (Reuters, 12/7)

The Internet, the Ballot Box and the Russian Presidency
VIDEO: In Moscow today, protesters took to the streets for a second day of demonstrations over Russian elections on Sunday that were marred by widespread reports of fraud and attempts to suppress election monitoring - the climax of a conflict over political power in that country that has been playing out on the Internet for months. (Tech President, 12/7)

Due West: Russia's Internet Generation Finally Finds Itself
"You know what I did on election day? I started checking where my friends were via Foursquare". Noticing the slightly bemused look of an Internet illiterate, Anton Nosik, Russia's number one Internet guru explained it to me: "It is an application which allows you to see in real time where people you follow on Twitter were. And you know what I saw? Page after page of "I am at a polling station number so and so" tweets. Most of them are thirtysomethings and the majority were voting for the first time." (Ria Novosti, 12/7)

Russian Social Network: FSB Asked It To Block Kremlin Protesters
A Russian social-networking website part-owned by London-listed Mail.Ru Group said Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB, has asked it to block the online activities of political protest groups during a tense period following parliamentary elections. (Wall Street Journal, 12/8)

Russians Fight Twitter and Facebook Battles over Putin Election
Protests against president's party escalate across social media with flood of automated counterattacks and alleged hacking. (The Guardian, 12/9)

Digital Africa

AFRICA: From Tunisia to SA, Apps Take Africa by Storm
When thinking of African economies the time has come to think of tech innovation. Africa is making great technological strides, not only keeping up with the rest of the world but now providing serious competition in the global marketplace. (The East African, 12/4)

AFRICA: Leading African Media Organization Announces $1m Fund for News Innovation
The African Media Initiative (AMI), the continent's largest association of media owners and operators, has announced a $1 million fund to spur innovation in the news industry. The new African News Innovation Challenge (ANIC) is designed to encourage experimentation in digital technologies and support the best innovations that strengthen African news organizations. (My Joy Online, 12/8)

SOMALIA: Amplifying Somali Voices Using SMS and a Live Map: #SomaliaSpeaks
Somalia has been steadily slipping from global media attention over the past few months. The large scale crisis is no longer making headline news, which means that advocacy and lobbying groups are finding it increasingly difficult to place pressure on policymakers and humanitarian organizations to scale their intervention in the Horn of Africa. I recently discussed this issue with Al-jazeera's Social Media Team whilst in Doha and pitched a project to them which has just gone live this hour. (iRevolution, 12/8)

ZIMBABWE: Some Econet Mobile Broadband Subscriber Stats
Yesterday, we got the opportunity to discuss a few things about Econet Broadband with Leon de Fleuriot, the Chief Commercial Officer - Broadband at Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. We talked about the number of mobile broadband subscribers, eTXT, EconetMail and other things. We also discussed some issues Techzim readers suggested on our Facebook Page and Twitter. We particularly found the mobile broadband usage stats quite interesting especially as they relate to Zimbabwe's total Internet penetration and internet usage. (TechZim, 12/6)

ZIMBABWE: Fes'bhuku Play: The Impact of Social Media on Zimbabwe's Rural Communities
If you're in Harare, you love theatre, and have an interest in the impact of the internet and social media on social and political issues, here's something you'll not want to miss: From 7 December (Yesterday) to 17 December 2011, a play called Fes'bhuku will be showing at Theatre in the Park in Harare. The term "Fes'bhuku" is a loan translation of "Facebook" into the Shona vernacular. (TechZim, 12/8)


Conference on Internet Freedom
VIDEO: Remarks by Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State at Fokker Terminal in The Hague, Netherlands. (U.S. Department of State, 12/8)

Google Big Tent Event
VIDEO: Speakers at the Google Big Tent Event held in The Hague, Netherlands. (Tech President, 12/9)

Clinton Urges Countries Not to Stifle Online Voices
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other international leaders urged countries and private businesses on Thursday to fight increasing efforts to restrict access to the Internet by repressive governments and even some democratic ones. (New York Times, 12/9)

Around the Blogosphere

Lessons from the Facebook Settlement (Even If You're Not Facebook)
The terms of the FTC's proposed settlement apply only to Facebook. But to paraphrase noted legal scholar Bob Dylan, companies that want to stay off the law enforcement radar don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. What practical pointers can your business take from the Facebook case and other recent FTC actions dealing with consumer privacy? (FTC Business Center Blog, 12/2)

Institutions, Confidence, and the News Crisis
Dean Starkman has written a lengthy piece in the Columbia Journalism Review, assessing the writings of a group of us he calls the "Future of News" movement. (Clay Shirkey, 12/2)

Sparking Media Development in Tunisia and Egypt
The discovery of fire changed the world. It allowed human beings to move to colder regions, cook food to prevent disease, and protected them from wild animals, giving the species a kind of primitive freedom. On December 17, 2010, fire changed the world again when a frustrated vegetable vendor ignited himself and secured a place in world history books. He was the spark that set the flame that has come to be known as the "Arab Spring." (CIMA Media Blog, 12/5)

Detained by U.S. Customs: Some Thoughts about the Future of Work
I'm writing this from the Vancouver, British Columbia airport, where I am waiting for a flight to San Francisco after being detained by U.S. Customs for so long that I missed my original flight. A border patrol agent flagged me for "secondary inspection" because (as far as I can tell) I work for a company that exists only on the Internet and has writers - like me - who work from countries other than the U.S. (GigaOM, 12/7)

Should Journalists Have Privileges? Part 2 - Accreditation and Privileged Access
The distinction between journalist and citizen is one which is becoming increasingly blurred. In the first part of this post I argued that despite the rise of the "citizen journalist" the law cannot sensibly extend "journalistic privileges" to everyone who is writing or investigating for possible publication. In other words, a sub-category of those writing for publication - "accredited journalists" - should be given specific privileges to assist them in their work. (Inforrm's Blog, 12/7)


A New Theory for the Foreign Policy Frontier: Collaborative Power
Shortly after Egyptian security forces detained well-known Egyptian-American blogger and columnist Mona Eltahawy last Wednesday night in the Egyptian Interior Ministry in Cairo, she managed to tweet five chilling words to her more than 60,000 followers: "beaten arrested in Interior Ministry. (The Atlantic, 11/30)

George Clooney's Satellites Build a Case Against an Alleged War Criminal
The International Criminal Court is compiling evidence of possible recent war crimes in southern Sudan, allegedly directed by Sudanese Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, the same man whom a prosecutor at the court wants to apprehend for alleged crimes eight years ago in Darfur. (Time, 12/3),8599,2101425,00.html#ixzz1frP6gC6l

European Authorities Examine US Mobile Monitoring Software
US vendor Carrier IQ says it is only providing software to mobile carriers to improve service. But German, Irish, and UK officials say they are looking into possible breaches of data protection law. (Deutsche Welle, 12/6),,15581883,00.html

Plan for Online Freedoms Stalls at European Meeting
The United States and two dozen other nations called for the adoption of a declaration of freedoms in cyberspace at a European security conference here on Tuesday, but the proposal stalled in the face of opposition from Russia and countries that view the Internet as a threat to their political systems. (New York Times, 12/6)

AZERBAIJAN: 'Azerisat' Turns Out to Be 'Africasat'
Recently the biggest event in ITC happened in Azerbaijan: Bakutel, the country's 17th annual tech exhibition. Visitors to the event found a lot of new information about future developments in Azerbaijan and around the region. Special interest was placed on a new satellite, which is said will be sent into space at the end of 2012. (Net Prophet, 12/6)

From Cyberspace to LGBT Rights, Clinton Stresses Universality of Freedom
VIDEO: Islamist parties that are poised to taste power following recent elections in the Arab world should embrace democratic norms as well as procedures by ensuring that post-transitional governments respects the full spectrum of human rights, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today. (Democracy Digest, 12/6)

Bloggers Cannot Enjoy Journalists' Legal Privileges, Says Judge
A blogger in the US state of Oregon has just been ordered by a court to pay $2.5m (£1.6m) to an investment company because of a defamatory posting. (Guardian, 12/7)

International Broadcasters Call For Action Over Jamming
International broadcasters - Voice of America (VOA), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Deutsche Welle (DW), Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France (AEF) and Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) - have condemned the deliberate interference of satellite broadcasting signals to silence independent media and prevent free access to information. (Broadcasting Board of Governors, 12/7)

FRANCE: PdF France: The Web as an Innovator of the Public Debate
At PdF France, La Netscouade's co-founder Benoît Thieulin analysed the role of the web in the French public debate in the past ten years and explained how it will be shaped in 2012. (Tech President, 12/8)


CENTRAL ASIA: Censorship and Control of the Internet and Other New Media
Briefing paper by International Partnership for Human Rights, the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights and the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders of Uzbekistan. (November 2011)

ENGLAND: Reading the Riots: Investigating England's Summer of Disorder
A study of the causes of the English riots. (The Guardian, 12/7)

IRAQ: Audience Analysis The Role of Journalism and Social Media in the Consumption of News in Iraq
Newly released IREX audience research shows that while Iraqis continue to rely on television as their primary source for news and information, social media and mobile devices play an important role in the consumption and distribution of news and information in Iraq. The Iraq Audience Measurement Survey, a periodic study of media usage in Iraq, was commissioned by IREX as part of the Media and Technology for Community Development program. (IREX, December 2011)

LATVIA: Mapping Digital Media: Latvia
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)

MIDDLE EAST: Media As Key Witnesses and Political Pawns: Upheaval in the Arab World
A year after the start of democratic uprisings in the Arab world, Reporters Without Borders
takes stock of censorship and violations of free speech during the "Arab Spring." (Reporters Without Borders, November 2011)

RUSSIA: Russian Digital Dualism: Changing Society, Manipulative State
The article studies the effect of the Internet on Russian society in the 2000s, as well as the complex relations between the Internet, groups of digital activists and the manipulative state. The Internet creates new spaces for politicians and proto-politicians to practice digital activism, develop relationships of trust and new identities. At the same time, it becomes an object for increasing neo-Nazi and Islamist mobilization, and subject to greater control by a government worried by the inability to dominate this sphere. (Russia/NIS Center, December 2011)

UNITED STATES: Exploring the Digital Nation
Report by the Economics and Statistics Administration, the National Telecoms and Information Administration, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. (November 2011)

VENEZUELA: Law on Social Responsibility of Radio, Television and Electronic Media
ARTICLE 19 analysed the Law on Social Responsibilities on Radio, Television and Electronic Media of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for its compliance with international standards on freedom of expression. The Law, published on 22 December 2010 is an amendment to the 2004 Law on Social Responsibility on Radio and Television. While proponents had applauded the 2004 Law as modernising the country's communication structure, critics had seen it as a naked attempt to gain control over private broadcast media. (Article 19, November 2011)

Partners for a New Beginning 2011 Status Report
In September of 2010, Partners for a New Beginning (PNB) was formally launched at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting in New York, NY. During the past year, Partners for a New Beginning has supported over 70 projects. These collaborations are forging new partnerships, empowering local leaders to address key priorities, and connecting visionary individuals and corporations with local counterparts. All of these efforts support PNB's mission to promote economic opportunity, education, exchange, and science and technology. (Aspen Institute, December 2011)