Digital Media Mash Up: February 2012, Week 1

In this Issue

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

In the News:


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

Washington, DC

Integration and Transformation: How New Technologies Are Changing our World View
Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 9:30am
This forum will bring together diplomats, technologists, human rights advocates, and industry to discuss the freedom of expression opportunities and challenges presented to a variety of stakeholders by the Internet and new technologies.
Featuring: Ben Scott, Policy Advisor for Innovation at the Office of the Secretary of State, US Department of State; Bob Boorstin, Director, Corporate and Policy Communications at Google;
Cynthia Wong, Director, Project on Global Internet Freedom, Center for Democracy and Technology; David Sullivan, Policy and Communications Director, Global Network Initiative;
Christopher Soghoian, Security and Privacy Researcher; Ashkan Soltani, Security and Privacy Researcher; Mark MacCarthy, Vice President for Public Policy, Software and Information Industry Association and Adjunct Professor, Communications, Culture and Technology Program, Georgetown University
Location: Pew DC Conference Center

Global Internet Freedom and Human Rights Distinguished Speaker Series
Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 12pm
A journalist and an activist, Rebecca MacKinnon examines the intersection of the internet, human rights, and foreign policy. As a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, Ms. MacKinnon examines U.S. policies related to the internet and human rights. Her first book, Consent of the Networked, is a forthcoming publication by Basic Books. She is the co-founder of Global Voices Online, a global citizen media network, and is also a founding member of the Global Network Initiative, a multi-stakeholder initiative to advance principles of freedom of expression and privacy in the information and communications technology sector. Ms. MacKinnon worked as a journalist for CNN in Beijing for nine years, serving as CNN's Beijing bureau chief and correspondent, and then as CNN's Tokyo bureau chief and correspondent.
Featuring: Remarks by Rebecca MacKinnon, co-founder, Global Voices Online, and Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
Location: George Washington University School of Law

In the News

Global Censorship Update

Google to Censor Blogger Blogs on a 'Per Country Basis'
Google has quietly announced changes to its Blogger free-blogging platform that will enable the blocking of content only in countries where censorship is required. (Threat Level, 1/31)

CHINA: Several Tibetan Language Blog Sites Shut Down
Against the backdrop of a stream of self-immolations in Tibet in protest against Chinese rule, unrest in eastern Tibet with protestors shot by police and a severely increased military presence, several of the most popular independently-run Tibetan language blog sites hosted in China have gone offline as of today. (Global Voices Online, 2/1)

EGYPT: Released Maikel Nabil Continues to Speak Out Against Military Rule
VIDEO: Ten months in a tiny prison cell with padded walls and flickering lights have done little to alter 26 year-old Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil's views on the military government running Egypt in the transitional phase. Instead, his confinement appears to have only strengthened his resolve to continue the fight against what he describes as a "corrupt regime" that he hopes, will soon be toppled. (Index on Censorship, 1/30)

IRAN: New Arrests Target Journalists in Iran
A Reporters Without Borders (RSF) report documents arrests of journalists and bloggers in Iran for the first three weeks of 2012. The report cites no fewer than 10 arrests since January 1 that have targeted not only journalists but bloggers and writers in the fields of history, art, culture and the social sciences. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1/30)

SOUTH KOREA: South Korean Indicted Over Twitter Posts From North
South Korean prosecutors indicted a social media and freedom of speech activist this week for reposting messages from the North Korean government's Twitter account. (New York Times, 2/3)

UNITED STATES: British Tourists Detained, Deported For Tweeting 'Destroy America'
VIDEO: Careful what you tweet. Two 20-somethings arriving from the U.K. learned a harsh lesson about the American government's sense of humor on Monday, Jan. 23, when they were detained and then forced to return home due to comments they made on Twitter. (Huffington Post, 1/30)

Digital Media News Affecting Journalists and Activists

Five Questions for Editors about Twitter et al.
Do you have a disaster recovery plan for social media? Given last week's announcement by Twitter that it would comply with tweet censoring in certain parts of the world, it might be time for editors and journalists to think what this kind of policy adoption means for them, both now and in the longterm. If you are a journalist who regularly uses social media tools in your work (Facebook, Twitter, Google +), or an editor who encourages their use in your newsroom , here are five basic questions you should know the answer to. (Emily Bell, 1/31)

After Crystal Cox Verdict, It's Time to Define Who Is a Journalist
Last month, the Crystal Cox verdict re-energized a debate among journalism's most passionate and articulate thought leaders and professionals by begging the question: Who is a journalist?
Just about anyone with a laptop or cell phone can use free technology to create quality media and reach audiences larger than any newspaper or television network. Indeed, we are all publishers now. But are we all journalists now, too? (PBS Mediashift, 1/31)

For Journalists, Cyber-security Training Slow to Take Hold
For centuries, journalists have been willing to go to prison to protect their sources. Back in 1848, New York Herald correspondent John Nugent spent a month in jail for refusing to tell a U.S. Senate committee his source for a leak exposing the secret approval of a treaty with Mexico. In a digital age, however, journalists need more than steadfast conviction to keep themselves and their sources safe. Government intelligence agencies, terrorist groups, and criminal syndicates are using electronic surveillance to learn what journalists are doing and who their sources are. It seems many journalists are not keeping pace. (Committee to Protect Journalists, 1/27)

The Newsonomics of Global Media Imperative
News businesses aren't defined by delivery trucks and broadcast signals any more - and the smartest players are reaching out to a global audience sooner rather than later. (Nieman Journalism Lab, 1/26)

The Algorithm Method
Journalists relate to their audiences differently in the age of online news, according to C.W.Anderson, in recent articles in Journalism and the International Journal of Communication. Both articles are based on research Anderson conducted in Philadelphia newsrooms. According to Anderson's research, the journalist-audience relationship has changed in part because it's now easier to comment on news stories in a fast and public way. (Columbia Journalism Review, January/February 2012)

12 Ways to Use Pinterest for Your Nonprofit
There is a new darling in the social media world and her name is Pinterest. It's a virtual, interactive bulletin board where individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations can pin their interests and drive traffic to their website. (SocialBrite, 1/31)

Update on Digital Media Companies and Outlets

BLACKBERRY: BlackBerry Under Siege in Europe
The iPhone has taken a big bite out of the BlackBerry in a market where the older phone once dominated: business customers in North America. (New York Times, 1/29)

BLOGGER: Like It or Not, All Blogger Blogs Have a New Address in India
If you access any of the Blogger hosted blogs from India, Google will automatically redirect you to the corresponding address. (Digital Inspiration, 1/31)

FACEBOOK: Facebook IPO: Who Are Facebook's Shareholders?
There were few surprises in the list of shareholders released in Facebook's S-1 filing. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, unsurprisingly, topped the list of the biggest shareholders. Zuckerberg has 56.9 percent of the voting shares, followed by Accel Partners with 11.4 percent, James Breyer with 11.4 percent, co-founder Dustin Moskovitz with 7.6 percent, DST Global with 5.5 percent and entrepreneur Peter Thiel with 2.4 percent. (Washington Post, 2/2)

TUMBLR: Blogging Site Tumblr Makes Itself the News
The popular social blogging site Tumblr is hiring writers and editors to cover the world of Tumblr. The moves by Tumblr are one way to tap into all of the free content that users upload to social networking Web sites. (New York Times, 2/2)

WIKILEAKS: WikiLeaks May Move Servers to International Waters to Avoid Shutdown
It's been awhile since we've heard much from WikiLeaks. New leaked data continues to trickle out here and there and Julian Assange is even talking to the press, but major bombshells like the Iraq War Logs or Cablegate haven't been dropped since late 2010. (Read Write Web, 2/2)

Digital Media in the Middle East

Israeli and Palestinian Hackers Trade DDoS Attacks in Rising Cyber-gang War
Pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli hackers are waging a cyber street-fight in a tit-for-tat exchange of posturing, threats of mass credit card exposures, and denial-of-service attacks. As Hamas has egged on hackers in recent weeks, promoting more "hacktivist" attacks against Israeli targets, pro-Israel hackers have responded in kind, today taking down the websites of stock exchanges in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (Ars Technica)

Revolution, Women And Social Media in The Middle East
The power of women is in their stories. They are not theories, they are real lives that, thanks to social networks, we are able to share and exchange," said Egyptian-American activist Mona el-Tahawey, kicking off a summit that brought more than a hundred of the Middle East's leading female activists together in Cairo. (Huffington Post, 1/27)

Africa Update

AFRICA: How Africa Tweets: Visualised
INFOGRAPHIC: Twitter is often thought of as a European and American phenomenon. But how does Africa use the social networking tool? Tweetminster and Portland have analysed more than 11.5m geo-located Tweets from the last three months of 2011. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, use of Twitter is dominated by Africa's richest country: South Africa sent twice as many Tweets (5,030,226) as the next most active Kenya (2,476,800). Nigeria (1,646,212), Egypt (1,214,062) and Morocco (745,620) make up the remainder of the top five most active countries. According to Portland, 68% of those polled said that they use Twitter to monitor news. They've produced this neat visualisation to show the distribution of tweets. (The Guardian, 1/27)

AFRICA: Building Websites that Work in Africa
It is interesting that sometimes it's not the most robust and well-designed solutions that get picked up by consumers. Great design of course is something of great importance when designing a piece of software, an app or a website. And clients will gravitate to well designed (graphically, not in terms of user experience), well tested and robust services. But sometimes, it seems, it's enough that something simply works! (Afrinnovator, 1/25)

AFRICA: Why You Must Never Forget About the Humble Feature Phone in Africa
If you are anyway involved in mobile, technology or gadgets you will know that the focus of the vast majority of reports, articles and statistical data is around the growth of the smartphone handset segment globally. Some estimates during the middle of 2011 estimated that around 472 million smartphones would be sold worldwide by the end of the year. (Afrinnovator, 2/2)

AFRICA: Is Mobile Africa's Future?
INFOGRAPHIC (IBM Smarter Planet)

AFRICA: Press Freedom and Development in Africa
The National Endowment for Democracy's Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) and Internews hosted an excellent discussion on "Can media development make aid more effective?", which I was able to catch part of via a live stream on the CIMA website. This got me thinking about how press freedom in Nigeria, or lack thereof, has impacted, political stability, governance, and development in that country. (Council on Foreign Relations, 1/31)

Twitter's Censorship Policy

China State-Run Newspaper Praises Twitter's New Censorship Policy
Twitter's announcement last week that it could begin censoring tweets on a country-by-country basis drew criticism from many free-speech activists, including Reporters Without Borders, a global nonprofit group that advocates for journalists. Other observers were less concerned, attributing Twitter's move to the realities of operating in a global environment with differing legal systems and social norms. On Monday, Twitter's new policy received praise from one source the company might wish had practiced a little self-censorship itself: a Chinese state-run newspaper called the Global Times. (Time, 1/30)

Thoughts on Twitter's Latest Move
It's been difficult to comment on the move given the extreme reaction by Twitter's own community. Lots of "I told you so" from the conspiracy theorists who think that this is because of Saudi Prince Alwaleed's stake in the company, compounded by the #occupy crowd continuing to claim their hashtag was censored in Twitter's trending topics made me want to avoid the subject entirely. But alas. Let's be clear: This is censorship. There's no way around that. But alas, Twitter is not above the law. (Jillian C. York, 1/26)

Why Twitter's New Policy Is Helpful for Free-speech Advocates
I know many people are upset with Twitter's announcement that it will now be able to block tweets country by country. There has been a lot of excellent writing / reporting on the content explaining that this is not as bad as it looks. (Technosociology, 1/27)

Sorry Dick, but Twitter Is Definitely a Media Entity
At the Dive Into Media conference on Monday, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said the company doesn't see itself as a media entity, although he admited it is in the media business. It's not surprising Twitter wouldn't want to come right out and call itself a media company, since a growing part of its business is working with traditional media companies - including television networks and movie studios - to promote their content through its network. But in most of the ways that matter, Twitter definitely qualifies as a media entity, which is why its decision to selectively censor the user-generated content that flows through its network is so important. (GigaOM, 1/31)

Saudi Arabia: Boycotting Twitter to Save It
Recent attempts by corporate and religious authorities to limit dissent on Twitter are likely to fail in the Saudi kingdom, home to the third largest number of Arab Internet users. (Al-Akhbar, 1/31)

How Twitter's New 'Censorship' Policy Could Be a Journalists' Goldmine
Twitter's decision to introduce a new "censorship policy" could prove to be a blessing in disguise to enterprising journalists. (Press Gazette, 2/1)

How to Easily Circumvent Twitter's Censorship
On Thursday, Twitter announced plans to restrict tweets in certain countries. By Friday, some clever folks already figured out an incredibly simple way to circumvent the service's censorship. (MSNBC, 1/27)

Freedom of Expression Concerns over Twitter's Country-specific Censorship Ability Prompt Users to Call for Protest
In a bid to "enter countries that may have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression," Twitter announced that it has the ability to begin censoring tweets on a country-by-country basis, the Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday, Jan. 26. The announcement has prompted fears that Twitter's commitment to free expression might be taking a back seat to profitability -- especially in light of the role Twitter played in the Arab spring and protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the United States. (Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, 1/27)

Thailand Is the World's First Government to Endorse Twitter's Censorship Feature
Twitter's controversial move towards enabling the censorsing of tweets has gained the backing of its first international government, after authorities in Thailand publicly endorsed the introduction. (The Next Web, 1/30)

Twitter Isn't Censoring You. Your Government Is.
It's barely been a day since Twitter made the announcement that, going forward, tweets could be censored based on the local laws that govern a user's location, and the rumour mill is hard at work trying to figure out the reasons behind the decision. (The Next Web, 1/27)

Breakdown of the Twitter Takedowns
I created a Twitter account that will send out links to all non-DMCA takedown notices as they come in. Just follow @TakedownTweets and please RT to spread the word! (Andrew Richard Schrock, 1/28)

Around the Blogosphere

Aiding Media: New Thinking on Media Development
Yesterday I spent my lunchtime at the Center for International Media Assistance's event on Media Development and Aid Effectiveness. This event celebrated the release of a new report, 'Rethinking Media Development,' which drew some conclusions from the ongoing Media Mapping Project. (NDI Tech, 1/31)

Is Media Freedom at the Heart of Media Development?
What's media assistance about anyway? Actually, there's not really a straightforward answer to this question. I realized that when I listened to Daniel Kaufmann of the Brookings Institute earlier this week at an event hosted by the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) and Internews. Kaufmann's answer was that media assistance is about media freedom. A free media is a necessary, although not a sufficient condition for successful media development. (World Bank, 2/1)

Digital Borderlands
I wanted to reflect on an OCAF talk I went to last week by Wolfgang Zeller, about the borderlands of 'sugango' (Sudan-Uganda-Congo) and how thinking about borders might help us think about other kinds of borders, digital or otherwise. (Laura Mann, 1/31)

Google+, Real Names and Real Problems
At the launch of Google+, Google's attempt to create an integrated social network similar to Facebook, I wrote about the potential benefits and risks of the new service to journalists who use social media in dangerous circumstances. Despite early promises of relatively flexible terms of service at Google+, the early days of implementation were full of arbitrary account suspensions - particularly of pseudonymous users - and the appeals process was unclear. The result was a lot of early bad press for the service from the traditional "first adopter" crowd, a framing it has subsequently struggled to escape. (Committee to Protect Journalists, 1/30)


Relearning to Forget
On January 25th the European Commission formally unveiled an overhaul of the continent's data-protection rules. The proposal for a snappily titled "Regulation on the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data and on the Free Movement of Such Data" is unlikely to become a bestseller. Yet the 117-page booklet might affect every one of the European Union's 500m citizens, every one of its businesses, and many more beyond. It is "the biggest, most impactful piece of legislation that the European Union could produce unless they developed tax powers," says Joe McNamee of European Digital Rights, a lobby group. (The Economist, 1/31)

The Debate Over Anti-Piracy Laws
Congress has postponed floor votes for the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), bills intended to increase protections for copyrighted digital content. This marked a victory for opponents who mounted landmark digital protests to call attention to what they believe was a move to give the government sweeping powers to shut down sites accused of copyright infringement. (Council on Foreign Relations, 1/30)

Columbia and Stanford Creating $30 Million Institute to Bridge Journalism and Tech
Big news on the innovation front: Columbia Journalism School and Stanford's School of Engineering are teaming up to create an Institute for Media Innovation. The Institute hopes to bridge the gap between journalism and technology and encourage collaboration between the two disciplines. (Mashable, 1/30)

DDoS Attacks Increased by 2000% in Past 3 Years, Asia Generating Over Half of Recent Attacks
In the past three years, Akamai has seen 2,000% increase in the number of DDoS attack incidents investigated on behalf of its customers. The latest State of the Internet report released today by Akamai also identifies top countries from which this observed attack traffic originates, as well as the top ports targeted by these attacks. (CircleID, 1/31)

'Consent' Asks: Who Owns The Internet?
PODCAST: While the Internet may aid the spread of democracy, democracy doesn't necessarily mean a free and open Internet. In her new book Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom, Rebecca MacKinnon, senior fellow at the New America Foundation and co-founder of Global Voices, a citizen media network, investigates the corrosion of civil liberties by the governments and corporations that control the digital world. (NPR, 1/30)

NORTH KOREA: North Korea Threatens to Punish Mobile-Phone Users as 'War Criminals'
North Korea has warned that any of its citizens caught trying to defect to China or using mobile phones during the 100-day mourning period for Kim Jong-il will be branded as "war criminals" and punished accordingly. (The Telegraph, 1/26)

RUSSIA: Russia's New Viral Dissident Art
With broadcast and print media largely under state control, the Russian Internet has been a key platform for opposition activism. Ahead of antigovernment protests on February 4, there has been a flowering of visual art largely spread through social networks. Slickly produced animations parody the country's leadership and mashed-up digital images give a contemporary spin to Russia's authoritarian history. There has been a circular and reciprocal relationship between online and offline activism: slogans might start on the Internet, appear on protesters' signs, get snapped by smartphone cameras, and make their way back to the Internet again to be remixed into new digital creations. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2/1)

RUSSIA: Navalny Says VoA interview Fake
Whistleblower lawyer, blogger and opposition leader Alexei Navalny has dismissed an interview with him posted on the Voice of America web site on January 31 as a fake. (RIA Novosti, 2/1)


Akamai State of the Internet Report (January 2012)

AFRICA: Beyond ICT4D: New Media Research Uganda
This paper is a collection of five ethnographic reports examining the role of ICT in Uganda. The first is not particularly mobile focused and looks at how those who have access to internet in Uganda use it. The second report is about the ways ICT is changing print media. The third report focuses on the opportunities ICT present for civil society and non-governmental groups. The next report outlines the way the ICT sector in Uganda was developed. The last report examines ways that ICT may be used in government accountability. (MobileActive, January 2012)

IRAN: Press Freedom Violations Recounted in Real Time (from 1st January 2012)
(Reporters Without Borders, January 2012),417...

YEMEN: Media and Telecoms Landscape Guide
(Infoasaid, February 2012)