Digital Media Mash Up: February 2012, 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

SOCIAL MEDIA WEEK DC - February 13-17
See events here:

Recent Developments in Cyberwarfare
Monday, February 13, 2012, 12pm
An address by General James Cartwright, Harold Brown Chair in Defense Policy Studies at CSIS at Hudson Institute's Center of Economics of the Internet.
Featuring: General James Cartwright and Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Director of the Center
Location: Betsy and Walter Stern Conference Center, Hudson Institute, 1015 15th Street NW, 6th floor

National Press Club Panel to Assess Repression of Expression in Mideast
Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 9:30am
More than a year ago, uprisings in several Mideast countries triggered what has come to be called the Arab Spring. But when it comes to freedom of the press and on the Internet, it has been a chilling period in many parts of that region. Reporters and citizens have been spied on, beaten, imprisoned and even killed merely for telling the truth about what is happening in their countries.
Featuring: Nada Alwadi, a Bahraini journalist; Abderrahim Foukara, Al Jazeera's Washington bureau chief; Jeff Ghannam, a lawyer, writer and former reporter who has contributed widely to the debate on social media and media development in the Arab region; Clare Morgana Gillis, a US-based freelancer with Mideast experience who was jailed in Libya last year; Frank Smyth, executive director of Global Journalist Security ( and senior advisor for journalist security at the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Location: National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC

Public Diplomacy in the Age of Social Media
Thursday, February 16, 2012, 9:30am
How does social media change how statecraft is practiced in the 21st century? Who's participating and why? What have been some lessons learned from the pioneers who have logged on to listen and engage?
Featuring: Suzanne Hall (@SuzKPH), Senior Advisor, Innovation in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Nick Namba (@nicholasnamba), Acting Deputy Coordinator for Content Development and Partnerships, U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Program; Ed Dunn (@EdAndDunn), Acting Director, U.S. Department of State's Digital Communications Center; Alexander Howard (@digiphile), Washington Correspondent, Government 2.0
Location: New America Foundation, 1899 L St NW, Suite 400 Washington, DC

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

View Global Censorship Update in a Google Map.

This Week in Censorship
Arrested Bloggers in Vietnam, Google's New Censorship Policy, and China Blocks Tibetan-Language Blogs (Electronic Frontier Foundation, 2/3)

European Internet Campaigners Battle ACTA
A controversial international accord billed as a way to beat online piracy has sparked a fightback led by Internet users in ex-communist countries who say the region's past underlines the need to defend freedom. An international day of rallies against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been scheduled for Saturday. (AFP, 2/9)

BAHRAIN: Bahrain Blocks More Streaming Websites
The Bahraini authorities continue its media blackout campaign and censorship of live streaming online tools. On Feb 4, 2012 it has blocked access to the website of live stream from a mass rally of opposition groups. It has also blocked access to the Audio-only live stream website: (only this specific page was blocked while the site itself is still accessible. (Bahrain Freedom Index, 2/7)

BRAZIL: Brazil Sues Twitter for Snitching on Traffic Police
The Brazilian government has sued Twitter, demanding that the social network take down several popular accounts that are giving people traffic information, but also helping them to avoid police checkpoints and drunk driving traps. (Univision, 2/7)

CANADA: Can Canada's Flawed Copyright Bill Be Stopped?
Free speech is a great thing, but what happens when the powers that be don't listen to what's being said? Does that diminish the value of being able to say whatever you want? It's a question thousands of Canadians are asking themselves right now as the federal government will over the next few months push through new copyright legislation - Bill C-11 - that willfully ignores their concerns. (The Globe and Mail, 2/9)

CHINA: Communist Party Directs China's Twitter
The Chinese Communist Party's Propaganda Department issued an order two weeks ago establishing party control units for all of China's booming microblogging Internet service providers. The committees were directed to exercise direct state and party control and censorship. (The Washington Times, 2/8)

CUBA: Cuba Denies Critical Blogger Yoani Sánchez's Travel to Brazil
Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez, recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work defending freedom of expression, was denied permission to leave the island to visit Brazil, according to the website Terra. The blogger tweeted that this was the 19th time she has been denied the right to enter and leave the country. (Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, 2/6)

INDIA: Internet Giants Pull Content after Warning in India Courts
Internet giants Google Inc and Facebook removed content from some Indian domain websites on Monday following a court directive warning them of a crackdown "like China" if they did not take steps to protect religious sensibilities. (Reuters, 2/6)

INDIA: Internet Censorship Could Damage India's Democracy
Google and Facebook have been asked to remove offensive content, but it's not just out of a fear of stoking religious hatred. (The Guardian, 2/7)

INDIA: Court Forces Web Firms to Remove "Objectionable" Content
Several Internet companies, including the Indian subsidiaries of Google and Facebook, announced on 6 February that they had complied with Indian court directives to remove from their sites content deemed objectionable. (Reporters Without Borders, 2/9),4183...

IRAN: Iranian Blogger Mehdi Khazali Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison
Iranian blogger Mehdi Khazali has been sentenced to 13 years and 10 months in prison and 10 years in exile. In his blog, Khazali has criticized Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Iran's state policies. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2/9)

IRAN: Iran Media Confirm Death Sentence For Web Developer
Iranian media have confirmed that an Iranian man with Canadian residency has had a death sentence against him reinstated by an Iranian high court on charges that he operated a pornographic website. Fars News Agency said the death sentence for Saeed Malekpour was upheld by the Supreme Court, confirming reports earlier this month. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1/29)

IRAN: Persian Cyberspace Report
Internet blackouts across Iran; BBC journalists interrogated, family members imprisoned. (Iran Media Program, 2/9)

MOROCCO: Busted for Posting Caricatures of the King on Facebook
Walid Bahomane appeared before a court in the Moroccan capital Rabat. The 18-year-old is accused of "defaming Morocco's sacred values" by posting pictures and videos on Facebook mocking king Mohammed VI of Morocco. (Global Voices, 2/8)

SAUDI ARABIA: #HamzahKashghri Sparks a Polarizing Debate on Twitter
Tweets from a Saudi writer have some calling for his arrest, while others come to his defense. (Al-Jazeera, 2/8)

SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi King Orders Controversial Columnist's Arrest
A Saudi columnist who has gone into hiding following a popular and official outcry after he was accused of blasphemy and abuse of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has retracted his tweets and announced his repentance. (Gulf News, 2/8)

SOUTH KOREA: South Korea Must Release Activist Charged over Kim Jong-il Tweet
The South Korean authorities should immediately release a social media activist accused of helping "the enemy" for re-tweeting messages from North Korea's official government Twitter account, Amnesty International said today. (Amnesty International, 2/1)

TUNISIA: Blocking Porn Marks Key Test of Net Freedom in Tunisia
The fall of the regime of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali has allowed internet users in Tunisia to enjoy a period of unfettered web access after the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) turned off its censorship machines. Now the internet censorship debate has surfaced again. (Index on Censorship, 2/8)

Digital Media News Affecting Journalists and Activists

KDMC Releases 'freeDive' - Searchable Databases For Everyone, No Coding Required
The Knight Digital Media Center at the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, acknowledging that people are hungry for data, has launched a simple tool that makes it easy to turn data into searchable databases. (10,000 Words, 2/3)

Look at the Bottom, Not the Top, of Your Traffic Analytics to Boost Your Website's Readership
How can you increase your website's traffic by looking at your current website readership data?
The answer to that question might seem obvious, but I warn you that too many news publishers approach this question from the wrong direction - and could be hurting their businesses as a result. The obvious answer to the website traffic question appears to be... to look at what's getting the most page views on your site, and to write more articles like those. Don't do that. (The Online Journalism Review, 2/3)

Should Social Media Be Taught in Journalism or Business School?
Over the last couple years there has been a surge in the number of universities and colleges offering some form of social media marketing classes and/or certificate programs as part of their curriculum. (10,000 Words, 2/6)

Blair Jenkins: Better Journalism in a Digital Age
Journalism is a profession based on trust. The quality of our national debate and discourse is directly related to the integrity and reliability of our news media. Vigilant journalism helps to prevent the erosion of civil liberties and provides significant benefits for wider society. (The Journalism Foundation, 2/8)

The Vital Role of Global Journalism in the Digital Age
A new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists shows the new challenges they face around the world. (The Atlantic, 2/7)

5 News Organizations To Follow On Pinterest
It came seemingly out of nowhere. Pinterest, a social network where users can create virtual pinboards, quietly transformed throughout 2011 from a niche interest site to a top 10 social network, all while still functioning under an "invite only" model. With solid growth like that, it's hard not to take notice. The site is more easily geared towards retailers, but journalists and news organizations are beginning to experiment with ways they can tap into the Pinterest market. Here are five of the news organizations you should be following on Pinterest. (10,000 Words, 2/9)

The Role of the Journalist in a Globalized World
VIDEO: Interview with Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University at the PICNIC conference in Amsterdam. (European Journalism Center, January 2012)

Has Apple Just Invented a New Kind of Longform Journalism?
The launch of the new Apple iBooks Author tool is aimed at challenging the textbook publishing market. Wayne MacPhail argues the new platform also gives journalists a new opportunity to create innovative, media-rich and longform stories for the audience. (J-Source, 1/23)

Who Needs Copy-Paste? Search for Freely Licensed Images Online
Yesterday, as part of a train-the-trainer assessment, I gave a session about how to use Flickr + Creative Commons to find beautiful images available for remixing and reuse online. There are more than 200 million Creative Commons-licensed photos on Flickr, many of them not relevant to you, of course, but many of them beautiful (like the photo above of Beirut taken by [sic!] created by talented artists who just like to share. (SMEX, 1/31)

Update on Digital Media Companies and Outlets

FACEBOOK: Facebook Used by Half of the World's Internet Users, Save Asia
Facebook's IPO filing reveals that, with the exception of Asia, Facebook connects more than half of the world's Internet users. (PC Mag, 2/2),2817,2399732,00.asp

FACEBOOK: Those Millions on Facebook? Some May Not Actually Visit
On the first page of Facebook's prospectus for its sale of stock to the public, it pegs the number of its "monthly active users" at a whopping 845 million people. The social networking site arrives at an even more astounding number when it comes to "daily active users": 483 million people. If you managed to wade through to Page 44 of Facebook's prospectus, you'd discover that the company provides a definition of an "active user" - and it is unlikely to be what you expected. (New York Times, 2/7)

GIGAOM: Why We Are Buying paidContent
First the news: Yes, the rumors are true. We are indeed buying the assets of ContentNext Media from Guardian News & Media Limited. And no, we are not disclosing the terms of the deal, except that we are buying the entire group of properties -,, contentSutra and paidContent:UK and that a representative of Guardian News & Media will join our board of directors as an observer. (GigaOM, 2/8)

RIM: Blackberry Season
Five years ago, Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, was one of the most acclaimed technology companies in the world. The BlackBerry dominated the smartphone market, was a staple of the business world, and had helped make texting a mainstream practice. Terrifically profitable, the phone became a cultural touchstone-in 2006, a Webster's dictionary made "CrackBerry" its word of the year. These days, it seems more like the SlackBerry. (The New Yorker, 2/7)

TWITTER: Twitter Launches Twitter for News
Twitter has launched a new account that is dedicated to spotlighting some of the best practices and innovative uses of Twitter by journalists and newsrooms. (The Wall, 2/3)

TWITTER: Twitter SMS: Now Available for Satellite Providers
Twitter began as an SMS service. Today, we continue to build out SMS capability because we recognize the importance and value of making our service available to every person on the planet. No matter what device people use - from the most advanced smartphone to the simplest feature phone - people around the world should be able to send and read Tweets. (Twitter, 2/9)

Digital Media in the Middle East

Hamadoun Touré Speech to Internet Conference in Beirut
Speech given by ITU Secretary-General, Hamadoun Touré, at the Arab Telecom & Internet Forum 2012 conference in Beirut. (International Telecomms Union, 2/2)

IRAQ: Iraqi Bloggers Come Together in Sulimanyah
This week Iraqi Kurdistan will see a bulge in its level of new media savviness as the first ever conference for Iraqi bloggers is held in Sulimanyah. (Iraqi Bloggers Conference, 2/6)

TUNISIA: "The Internet Is Freedom": Index Speaks to Tunisian Internet Agency Chief
The Tunisian Internet Agency was the Ben Ali regime's instrument for censoring the web. Now, as it attempts to break ties with the past, Afef Abrougui talks to its CEO about the online challenges facing Tunisia. (Index on Censorship, 2/3)

YEMEN: Yemen Times Launches News Platform, Restores Lost Archive Using Newscoop
Yemen Times, the country's first and most widely-read independent English-language newspaper, has launched their new website and has begun to restore the largest online news database in Yemen. (Sourcefabric, 2/3)

China Update

CHINA: Facebook, Google and Twitter: Three Distinctly Different Approaches to China
As the social media space in Western markets edges closer to the point of saturation, the Internet's top firms are tightening their focus on emerging markets where they can continue to grow their user bases, activity and revenues. With a population in excess of 1.3 billion, which makes it the world's largest country, China is the epitome of that opportunity. As Facebook's S1 filing noted however, entry into China is hugely complicated. Not only do authorities block Twitter, Facebook (and Google+ for that matter) from its 500 million plus Internet users, it also insists that Web firms manage and remove sensitive content from their platforms. (The Next Web, 2/8)

CHINA: China Plans to Improve Internet Speeds, Bring Down Costs
Following user complaints of slow connection speeds, China plans to improve the nation's Internet networks by building new fiber networks while also lowering their prices, said a Chinese government official on Tuesday. (PC World, 2/7)

CHINA: Deng Fei Goes Beyond Journalism to Right Wrongs in China
Investigative reporter Deng Fei won plaudits and nearly 3 million Chinese microblog followers with a string of articles on sensitive topics such as child trafficking, organ harvesting from death-penalty victims, and shoddy school construction. Now he is parlaying his reputation into a groundbreaking project to turn his readers into active agents of social change in China. And he is changing the face of Chinese philanthropy as he does so. (The Christian Science Monitor, 2/6)

CHINA: On Social Media, Chinese Ponder Crime Fighter's Fate
In a sign that China's political season is heating up, reports circulated widely on Wednesday that one of the country's most famous crime fighters had tried to defect to the United States. The reports were impossible to confirm, but China's social media were filled with speculation about the fate of Wang Lijun, a onetime rising star in the western megacity of Chongqing, where he had been the deputy mayor overseeing public security. (New York Times, 2/8)

CHINA: The Image That Shocked China
VIDEO: We received a lot of feedback from our readers on Lin Gu's recent story about two haunting images from China - one selfish, and one selfless. In October, a surveillance camera recorded a little girl being run over by a car. A dozen people walked by the bloodied girl without helping. And, in November, a photo was taken of a monk praying over a man who had died in a train station. (Latitude News, 1/31)

British News Outlets vs. Twitter

Sky News Clamps Down on Twitter Use
Reporters banned from reposting non-company tweets and told to check with the news desk before breaking news stories. (The Guardian, 2/7)

Don't Break Stories on Twitter, BBC Journalists Told
As Sky News clamps down on staff Twitter updates, corporation tells reporters to file copy before tweeting it. (The Guardian, 2/8)

Why Journalists Should Break News on Twitter
The world of journalism and Twitter is buzzing following Sky News's new policy on Twitter and the BBC's new guidance on breaking news. Both organisations have told their journalists not to break news on Twitter first. (, 2/8)

To the BBC and Others: Twitter Is Not Your Competition
Just a day after Sky News told its journalists they should not post any kind of breaking news to Twitter - and also blocked them from retweeting anyone but an official Sky News account - the BBC has released a new version of its social-media policies that also requires reporters to file updates to news editors first rather than posting breaking news to Twitter. The BBC's social-media editor says the policy isn't as draconian as some critics are portraying it, but the emphasis on protecting the British national broadcaster's existing news structure is just another example of how traditional media entities are struggling with their relationship to Twitter in an era of real-time, distributed news. (GigaOM, 2/8)

Kudos to BBC News for Thinking about How Twitter Fits into Breaking News Coverage
Every so often a major news outlet like the AP or BBC News issues new guidelines about how to break news on Twitter, and media blogs erupt with a simultaneous "Of course you should!" Let's move past the should/shouldn't debate. Yes, Twitter is key to covering breaking news. But any digitally savvy journalist or news organization already knows that. The bigger, more difficult question is how Twitter figures into breaking news coverage. (Poynter, 2/9)

Social Media Policies: To Compete or Collaborate?
You've got a scoop, do you tweet it or not? As a journalist, your news organization might well have a social media policy which doesn't allow you to do it. (Editors Weblog, 2/9)

BBC and Sky News Issue New Rules Regarding Twitter Use
Anthony De Rosa curates on Storify, 2/8.

Around the Blogosphere

Can Selective Blocking Pre-empt Wider Censorship?
Last week, Twitter provoked a fierce debate online when it announced a new capability--and related policy--to hide tweets on a country-specific basis. By building this feature into its website's basic code, Twitter said it hoped to offer a more tailored response to legal demands to remove tweets globally. The company will inform users if any tweet they see has been obscured, and provide a record of all demands to remove content with the U.S.-based site (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2/3)

Anonymous Blog Gathers the Gripes of Journalists
At a time when many journalists have more access to a virtual water cooler to sound off than a real one, an anonymous site collects everyday gripes and musings on the profession. Called -30-, after an old journalism convention for the "end of the story," it's addictive reading. Submissions range from the funny to the insightful and the angry. Fittingly, the person behind the project is also anonymous. We do know is that he is a former journalist who now watches the profession from the safety of a public relations job. Here's IJNet's email interview with him. (IJNet, 2/9)

Of Jesters, Clowns and Pranksters: YouTube and the Condition of Collaborative Authorship
The idea of a single author creating cinematic objects in a well-controlled scheme of support system and production/distribution infrastructure has been fundamentally challenged by the emergence of digital video sharing sites like YouTube, writes Nishant Shah in this peer reviewed essay published in the Journal of Moving Images, Number 8, December 2009. (The Center for Internet and Society, 11/3/09)

10 Reasons Internet Access is a Basic Human Right
Because its development began in our lifetimes, many of us who still recall life pre-internet find it difficult to grasp the idea of it rising to the level of a basic human right. After all, we survived just fine before we ever got wired, right? Well, that's just it. Back then there wasn't a web that interconnected every aspect of our lives, so of course we didn't need it in order to function. But now? There are some compelling reasons why internet access does fit that description. Here are 10 reasons that internet access is a basic human right. (My ISP Finder, 2/8)

COLOMBIA: #mediamonday: Giving a Voice to Colombian People
Hollman Morris has dedicated his life to giving a voice to Colombians who do not have one. A 20-year veteran journalist, Morris has focused on human rights and issues about armed conflict in his native Colombia. He has concentrated on civilians from outside the large cities, those who do not have the same access to the media as their urban counterparts. He reports from the viewpoint of the bottom ranks of society rather than from the top down. (CIMA Media Blog, 2/6)

PAKISTAN: Citizen Journalism Grows in Pakistan
With internet usage on the rise, Pakistanis are turning to the blogosphere and citizen journalism to share their opinions. Hosh Media epitomizes the growing popularity of locally-based, online portals for citizen journalism in Pakistan. (Audience Scapes, 2/8)

VENEZUELA: Hacking for Hugo: Cyberattacks, Twitter & Venezuelan Politics
Nothing is more embarrassing in this digital era than having your electronic presence hacked. In one of those unfortunate tropes on victimhood, the target of the hacking gets the blame.
Now, imagine a government might be directing the hacking at you. That's what some politicians and journalists have seen in Venezuela with a new wave of cyberattacks. Wouldn't that cause an epidemic of self-censorship? (Sutradhar's Market, 2/2)


Time to Act on Companies Selling Mass Spy Gear to Authoritarian Regimes
On Wednesday, EFF will give recommendations to the European Parliament for how to combat one of the most troubling problems facing democracy activists around the world: the fact that European and American companies are providing key surveillance technology to authoritarian governments that is then being used to aid repression. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, 2/7)

Teaching the 'Digital Native'
Today's students have lived their lives with modern communication technology - which presents challenges and opportunities. (MPN Now, 2/1)

Lifting the Lid on ICANN's RAA Negotiations
Starting this week and ending on 15 February when a revised Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) is expected to be published for public review, .Nxt will take you inside the secret negotiations to update the domain name system's key contract. (.Nxt, 2/9)

Think Outside the Box: Digital Media Europe Focuses on Transforming Media Businesses
The 2012 Digital Media Europe conference is dedicated to "Thinking Outside the Box", starting with the conference venue and programme itself. The annual digital publishing event of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) will be held from 16 to 18 April next in The Science Museum of London and will focus on innovative revenue models and new ideas for transforming media businesses. It will also include a "Future Day" focused on developments in the labs of some great game specialists, App designers and promising start-ups. (WAN-IFRA, 2/9)

Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference Report

AZERBAIJAN: Azerbaijan Gets First Text-to-Speech System
Dilmanc, which means "interpreter" in Azerbaijani, is an online project to convert text to speech. Anyone can test it via its website and listen to a male voice read the text. It also allows users to download the spoken text in mp3 format. (Net Prophet, 2/9)

GEORGIA: A Multimedia Newsroom for the Future Takes Shape in Georgia
VIDEO: A new newsroom opening soon in Tbilisi will allow students a chance to have hands-on experience with their future. The newsroom for producing content for print and broadcast journalism will be opened in a month with the support of the IREX/G-MEDIA through USAID funds. (Net Prophet, 2/9)

MOLDOVA: New Media Project to Tackle Corruption in Moldova
For a two-day period, 25 young people from Moldova came together to generate ideas for social projects that could be implemented through new media. The "New Media for Social Change" event took place on 28-29 January and was hosted by MediaPoint, an NGO promoting social innovation through new media, and with additional support from Transitions Online. (Net Prophet, 2/8)

NORTH KOREA: Koryolink Hits a Million Subscribers
Koryolink, North Korea's only commercial 3G cell phone network, has signed up its millionth subscriber. The landmark was reached just over three years since service was launched. Koryolink has been adding more than 100,000 new subscribers for each of the last five quarters and was expected to hit the million mark in early 2012. (North Korea Tech, 2/3)

RUSSIA: Polishing Putin: Hacked Emails Suggest Dirty Tricks by Russian Youth Group
Nashi runs web of online trolls and bloggers paid to praise Vladimir Putin and denigrate enemies, group claims. (The Guardian, 2/7)

RUSSIA: Lipien: VOA Harms Putin Opposition in Russia
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the agency in charge of critical U.S. information programs to countries such as Iran, China and Russia, can only be described as a failed enterprise in need of emergency surgery. (Washington Times, 2/8)

UGANDA: Communicating the Cause: NGOs and Social Media in Uganda
A recent article on the Text to Change website shows a scenario where SMS and social media proved to be very helpful tools in saving the life of a Dutch woman who was involved in a serious accident in Kampala, Uganda. The woman sustained severe injuries, fractures, and a serious loss of blood. When the woman was transferred to a hospital, she learned that she was in dire need of a blood transfusion of O negative, a rare blood type. Text to Change and the Dutch embassy in Kampala quickly responded by sending out an emergency SMS to the Dutch community with a request for a blood donation. The emergency request was also posted on various social networking websites. (Open Society Foundations, 2/7)


ITU StatShot - Who Can Afford Broadband?
VIDEO: In October 2011, the Broadband Commission for Digital Development set the target that basic broadband service should cost less than 5% of average monthly income in all countries worldwide by 2015. How many countries already make the grade? And what are prices like in the poorest parts of the world, where broadband could be the critical catalyst for meeting the Millennium Development Goals in areas like education and health? (International Telecomms Union, January 2012)

Researchers Reveal What Goes into a Good Tweet
An analysis of 43,738 tweets from 1,443 users offers some valuable insights into emerging communication norms on Twitter. The study (PDF) by researchers Paul André of Carnegie Mellon, Michael Bernstein of MIT, and Kurt Luther of Georgia Tech aimed to uncover what makes for a good message on Twitter. (, 2/6)

The Pulse of News in Social Media: Forecasting Popularity
A new study claims it can predict the popularity of a news story on Twitter with an 84 percent accuracy rate by looking solely at four factors that affect content. The study, led by Bernardo Huberman of the Social Computing Lab Group at the Palo Alto-based HP Labs, examined the content of an article before it was published in determining how popular it would be on Twitter. (Social Computing Lab Group, February 2012)

Mobile Phones Central to Developing Countries' Economic Success, Quality of Life: Global Poll
BBC World Service, January 2012

CHINA: Internet Companies in China: Dancing between the Party Line and the Bottom Line
The paper starts with an overview of the landscape of the Chinese Internet industry, followed by a review of the developmental trajectories of three important search companies in China - Baidu, Google, and Jike (the national search engine), whose stories are illustrative of the experiences of domestic, foreign and state Internet firms operating in China. The paper then outlines the Chinese government's regulatory policies towards the Internet industry, which it is argued have undergone three stages: liberalization, regulation, and state capitalism. (IFRI, January 2012)