Digital Media Mash Up: January 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

Revolution 2.0: The Power Of The People
January 18, 2012, 6:30pm
George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs, in association with Politics and Prose, will host Wael Ghonim, author of the upcoming memoir "Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People is Greater Than the People in Power," for a discussion and book signing.
Featuring: Wael Ghonim
Location: The George Washington University, Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St., NW, Washington D.C.

Beyond Washington

Information Technologies and Marginalization in African Market Economies (Society and the Internet Lecture Series, Part 9)
Tuesday 17 January 2012 16:00 - 17:30
It is often argued that poor and marginalized communities self perpetuate their poverty by inhabiting closed networks. Closed networks and a lack of trust in weak social ties limits the ability to trade, form new business connections, access useful market information, and successfully innovate. This lack of trust in weak social ties is especially prevalent throughout the Global South due to a range of political, organizational and technological factors. However, the rapidly increasing use of the Internet coupled with liberalizing economies has been seen by many as a way for people to participate in traditionally unreachable social and economic networks. Using case studies from the Sudanese labour market, this talk problematizes the link between technologically mediated weak ties and embeddedness in African economic networks. It suggests that the Internet and other ICTs are not the levelers that many expected them to be. Whilst codified information on the Internet is in theory accessible to all, it remains that a range of barriers including access, technological proficiency and literacy, class, tribe and gender all play a role in restricting growth, innovation and social equality for the traditionally marginalized. Internet initiatives focused on development need to deal with this larger range of issues if they are to succeed.
Featuring: Laura Elizabeth Mann, Oxford Internet Institute
Location: Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, 1 St Giles Oxford OX1 3JS

Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom
February 2, 6:00PM
A global struggle for control of the Internet is now underway. At stake are no less than civil liberties, privacy and even the character of democracy in the 21st century. Many commentators have debated whether the Internet is ultimately a force for freedom of expression and political liberation, or for alienation, and repression. It is time to stop arguing over whether the Internet empowers individuals and societies, and address the more fundamental and urgent question of how technology should be structured and governed to support the rights and liberties of all the world's Internet users. In her timely book, Rebecca MacKinnon warns that a convergence of unchecked government actions and unaccountable company practices is threatening the future of democracy and human rights around the world. Consent of the Networked is a call to action: Our freedom in the Internet age depends on whether we defend our rights on digital platforms and networks in the same way that people fight for their rights and accountable governance in physical communities and nations. It is time to stop thinking of ourselves as passive "users" of technology and instead act like citizens of the Internet - as netizens - and take ownership and responsibility for our digital future.
Featuring: Rebecca MacKinnon, hosted by Berkman Center for Internet and Society and MIT Center for Civic Media
Location: MIT Media Lab, Silverman Room (E14-648), Boston, MA

In the News

Global Censorship Update

View the Global Censorship Update in a Google Map

Twitter Threatened with Court over Hezbollah Tweets
Twitter has been threatened with legal action by an Israeli pressure group in an attempt to force it to close accounts run by Hezbollah and other organisations classed as terrorist by the United States. (Telegraph, 12/30)

A Year of Blogging, Threats and Silence
Motivations for arresting bloggers differ between countries but the goal is always to silence "threatening" voices. (Al-Jazeera, 12/30)

Hackers Plan Space Satellites to Combat Censorship
Computer hackers plan to take the internet beyond the reach of censors by putting their own communication satellites into orbit. (BBC, 12/30)

Bangladeshi Jailed for Facebook Post on Prime Minister, and 7 Other Posts that Got People Arrested
A Bangladeshi university lecturer has been sentenced to six months in jail after he made comments in a Facebook post about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. In addition to talking about a prime minister's death, here are seven other Facebook postings that have landed people in hot water. (Washington Post, 1/4)

This Week in Censorship
Iran Further Retreats from the World, Belarus Reigns in E-Commerce, and Turkey Democratizes Site Filtering. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, 1/5)

BELARUS: Belarus Bans Browsing of All Foreign Websites
As citizens of the United States worry over the implications of the pending SOPA legislation, a small land-locked country on the fringes of Europe is showing how bad things can really get. Labeled by the United States as an "outpost of tyranny", Belarus is certainly living up to its reputation. This Friday, browsing foreign websites will become an offense punishable by fines, with service providers taking responsibility for the actions of their users. (Torrent Freak, 1/3)

BELARUS: No, Belarus Is Not Cut Off From The Internet, But New Restrictions Are Still Pretty Bad
There is a lot of excitement over news that Belarus has supposedly cut itself off from the rest of the Internet, with headlines like, "It is now illegal to access any foreign website in the Republic of Belarus". Given the continuing concern over human rights in that country, this story has a certain plausibility to it. But it's worth exploring what the law in question actually says, since the situation is rather more complex than such headlines imply. (TechDirt, 1/3)

BELARUS: Contrary to Reports, Belarus Plans No Internet Censorship
Businesses selling goods online to consumers in Belarus will face a number of new regulations effective January 6, but contrary to media reports, Belarus has no plans to ban access to foreign websites. Deutsche Welle, 1/5),,15648186,00.html

CHINA: Tencent Weibo to Join in Real-Name Requirement for Microblogs
After the announcement that Beijing authorities had mandated real-name registration for Beijing microblogs, there was some speculation that Guangzhou-based Tencent might receive a flood of users defecting from Beijing-based Sina Weibo, as Beijing municipal regulations apply only to companies based in Beijing and thus didn't apply to Tencent. Unfortunately for those who prefer anonymity, though, Tencent and six other Guangzhou and Shenzhou-based microblogging services have now also implemented real-name registration systems. (Penn-Olson, 12/22)

CHINA: Update On Weibo Real Name Registration And Associated Fees
Time Weekly looks at id5, a company that verifies real names in China and may the prime beneficiary of the real name requirement for microblogs such as Sina ($SINA) and Tencent's Weibos. The article reports a rumor that the verification fee will be 2 RMB/account and raises questions about the background of id5 and its relationship with government regulators. (Digicha 1/5)

EGYPT: Egyptian Blogger Maikel Nabil Ends Hunger Strike after 130 Days
Imprisoned blogger Maikel Nabil ended his 130-day hunger strike on Saturday after being transferred to a prison hospital on 1 January following allegations of abuse in the jail where he has been held since March 2011. (Uncut, 1/3)

EGYPT: Letter from Reporters Without Borders to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers about Maikel Nabil Sanad's Trial
Reporters Without Borders wrote yesterday to Gabriela Knaul, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, urging her to quickly intercede on behalf of Maikel Nabil Sanad, an Egyptian blogger who has been detained since 28 March 2011. The letter drew attention to the many irregularities in the military trials that led to his being sentenced to two years in prison on 14 December. (Reporters Without Borders, 1/3),41617.html

INDIA: Cartoonist Faces Ban on Right to Poke Fun
Despite its status as the world's largest democracy, the extent of India's freedom of expression remains a controversial topic, be it through stalling films for allegedly advocating "social unrest," ransacking M.F. Husain's exhibitions for allegedly provoking "religious militants," or attempting to force Google, Facebook and others to prescreen postings for offensive material. Aseem Trivedi, a Kanpur-based cartoonist is the latest to be caught up in the push-and-pull over what constitutes free speech and what constitutes material so offensive that no one should see it. (Wall Street Journal, 1/4)

IRAN: Social Media Carries Prison Message From Iranian Activist
VIDEO: A well-known Iranian political activist, Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, has managed to send out an unprecedented video message from the Rajayishahr prison in which he dismisses Iran's repressive measures aimed at silencing dissent and predicts they will fail. (Persian Letters, 1/3)

IRAN: Iran Announces New Restrictions For Internet Cafes
Iran's cyberpolice have issued new guidelines for Internet cafes that appear to be part of the Iranian establishment's efforts to tighten its control of the Internet. (Persian Letters, 1/4)

IRAN: Will Iran Soon Have Its Own "Clean Internet"?
The Iranian regime may be losing its battle to filter content on the internet, but meanwhile it is trying new things - from slowing down internet speeds, to developing a so-called "national internet" or "clean internet". (read Intranet). Iranian members of parliament have also discussed a proposal to place blogs, comments and SMS mobile messages under the same government regulation as the mainstream media. (Global Voices Advocacy, 1/4)

IRAN: Iran Clamps Down on Internet Use
Restrictions on cybercafes and plans to launch national internet prompt fears users could be cut off from world wide web. (The Guardian, 1/5)

GERMANY: German Court Decisions Make Everyday Use Of The Internet Increasingly Risky There
Perhaps there's something about the German legal system that encourages judges to push their interpretation of the law to the limit, without any concern for whether the results of that logic are absurd. At least that is the impression you might get from two recent cases whose judgments both make the use of Internet by ordinary citizens increasing fraught with legal risks. (Techdirt, 1/4)

KAZAKHSTAN: Kazakh Senate Approves Controversial Broadcast Law
Kazakh media NGOs and international experts say that country's new broadcast law would put restrictions on the freedom of information. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1/4)

SPAIN: Website Blocking Law Implemented By New Spanish Government
Spain's new government has wasted no time in approving tough new legislation to combat unauthorized file-sharing. After less than two weeks in power, the Partido Popular government has fully implemented the so-called Sinde Law. Spaniards can look forward to previously legal sites being blocked by ISPs or shut down completely, all within 10 days of a rightsholder complaint. (Torrent Freak, 1/3)

Digital Media News Affecting Journalists and Activists

Arab Spring Leads Surge in Events Captured on Cameraphones
From Tahrir Square to the scene of John Galliano's racist rants, pictures and videos from the public have been increasingly used in media coverage. (The Guardian, 12/29)

Click to Change
From organising political protests and flash mobs to uploading their versions of Kolaveri Di, people brought about change with the help of the internet. (Indian Express, 1/1)

Turn Your WiFi Network Into A Twitter-Like Private Messaging Platform
Internet users usually think of WiFi networks as either open (hey, let's steal Internet from our neighbor instead of paying for it!) or closed (only those with a password can access the Internet). If you leave your network open, how often do you actually know the people who are also logged on? (Read Write Web, 1/3)

Andy Carvin Explains How Twitter Is His 'Open-Source Newsroom'
Andy Carvin and Clay Shirky spent an hour on WBUR's "On Point" program Tuesday morning discussing Twitter's impact on media and the world. In one of several insightful exchanges, Carvin explained how Twitter helps him cover the Arab spring uprisings. (Poynter, 1/3)

How Social Media Lets Journalists Practise Poor Journalism
Social media is eroding core journalistic values. And whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, professional journalists are just as much to blame as flaming web trolls. (PC Advisor, 1/4)

Who Owns a Journalist's Twitter Account, You or Your Employer?
Here's a question for journalists: Have you got Twitter account that you use for work? Probably.
Another question. Supposing you go to work for another newspaper or magazine. Legally speaking, who owns your account? You, or your employer? (The Wire, 1/5)

Citizen Journalism Taking Bigger Role in Providing News
Chatting with the Hankyoreh on Oct. 15 over an online video feed, Ushahidi ( Executive Director Juliana Rotich gave off a familiar feeling that almost made it seem like she was right there in Seoul rather than 10,000 kilometers away in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. Describing a May visit to Korea, she said, "I noticed that when you shake hands, you put both hands as a sign of respect. We do that here, too, in Kenya, particularly when speaking with elders. I'm really happy to connect, and happy that technology can help us discover the commonalities that we have as people." This, she said, is the foundation of citizen journalism. (Hankyoreh, 1/5)

AUSTRALIA: Philanthropist Funds Australian Public Interest Journalism Site
An Australian philanthropist is funding a not-for-profit online start-up that is pledged to publishing public interest journalism. Internet entrepreneur Graeme Wood is prepared to spend more than A$15m (£9.9m) on The Global Mail, which is set to launch next month. It will not charge readers, will not sell ads and is not seeking more donors. (The Guardian, 1/3)

Update on Digital Media Companies and Outlets

Microsoft Celebrates IE6 Death as Google Downranks Chrome
Microsoft has celebrated the imminent demise of version 6 of its Internet Explorer browser by baking a cake. (BBC, 1/4)

FACEBOOK: Worm Steals 45,000 Facebook Passwords, Researchers Say
A computer worm has stolen 45,000 login credentials from Facebook, security experts have warned.(BBC, 1/5)

TUMBLR: Is Tumblr Protecting Its Users from the Big Bad Internet?
Tumblr, the microblogging platform, recently flexed its ability to reach a broad user base in order to spread a political message: The Stop Online Piracy Act, a piece of legislation that would require some internet infrastructure providers to essentially block access to some websites finding themselves on the wrong end of a court order, would be bad for the internet. (Tech President, 1/3)

TWITTER: Why Twitter's "Verified Account" Failure Matters
The new year brought a treat for those who like to follow aging media moguls, with the launch of official Twitter accounts belonging to both News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi Deng, including some awkward banter around a tweet that Murdoch later reportedly deleted (although as a commenter notes below, the original tweet remains). The only problem with the voyeuristic appeal of this exchange is that Deng wasn't the real thing - although the account was marked as "verified," with Twitter's blue check mark, it was revealed to be a fake on Tuesday. (GigaOM, 1/3)

TWITTER: Why The Guardian Didn't Just Correct Its Wendi Deng Twitter Report, but Deleted It
When news organizations get things wrong, industry standards call for a correction.
But yesterday The Guardian went further, deleting a report about Rupert Murdoch's wife headlined "Wendi Deng flirts with Ricky Gervais after joining husband on Twitter." (AdAge, 1/4)

TWITTER: US State Department To Answer Twitter Questions Every Friday
As part of its initiative to harness more digital technology for diplomacy, the US State Department will be taking questions via Twitter in 10 different languages, and answering them during a press briefing every Friday for the month of January. (MediaBistro, 1/4)

WIKIMEDIA: Wikimedia Foundation Rings In New Year With Record-breaking Fundraiser
The Wikimedia Foundation's annual fundraising campaign reached a successful conclusion on Sunday, January 1, having raised a record-breaking USD 20 million from more than one million donors in nearly every country in the world. It is the Wikimedia Foundation's most successful campaign ever, continuing an unbroken streak in which donations have risen every year since the campaigns began in 2003. (Wikimedia Foundation, 1/1)

Digital Media in the Middle East

Best of the Arab Blogs
Bassam Gergi and Mazen Zoabi unroll their guide to the Arabic blogosphere. (Open Democracy, 12/30)

Mapping Wikipedia Article Quality in the Middle East
The maps below visualise article length of Wikipedia articles (in English) about the Middle East. The first graphic shows a few unexpected patterns. (Zero Geography, 1/5)

EGYPT: Egypt Denies Broadcasting Pro-Qaddafi Channel on Nilesat
The Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has denied reports that Egypt's Nilesat satellite network was broadcasting Jamahiriya, Libya's state channel. On its official Facebook page, it said Egypt was working hard to maintain good relations with Libya's revolutionaries and "would not assist any party working against Libya's best interests." (Al Masry Al Youm, 1/3)

IRAN: Iran Ramps Up Courtship of Latin America
In another move to poke the "great Satan", Iran's label for the United States, in the eye in its own backyard, Iran launched a Spanish-language satellite TV channel, HispanTV, to break the dominance of international broadcasters that are "muzzled by imperialism, hiding the truth and twisting the facts." So said Iranian Radio and TV executive Mohamed Sarafraz when he launched the new channel on December 21. (Reuters, 12/30)

SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Forum Journalist: Mixing of Sexes in Hotel Lobby "Shameful"
A fierce online argument among participants at the Second Forum of Saudi Intellectuals was triggered by, of all things, a tweet. Al-Watan newspaper journalist Saleh al-Shehi took to the famous social media site Twitter to vent his frustration and anger at the "shameful" mingling between male and female participants at the conference in the Marriott hotel lobby, claiming that such behavior "derides Saudi tradition and culture." (Al-Akhbar, 1/4)

SYRIA: Syrian Media Awaken Despite Clampdown
In the wake of a nine-month uprising, Syrian authorities are exerting ever-tighter control over the media, routinely censoring and detaining reporters, bloggers and photojournalists. But in spite of the risks, a flurry of new outlets has emerged to tell stories banned by the government of President Bashar al-Assad. (Washington Post, 1/3)

2011 in Review/Predicting 2012

2011 Year in Review: The Year of Mobile
In 2011, the world population crossed the seven billion mark and the number of mobile subscriptions surpassed six billion. As mobile phones have become part of everyday life around the world, celebrates the New Year by looking at all the ways mobiles have been used in social change and development work. (Mobile Active, 1/2)

Best of 2011: Dean Starkman
The Audit's head honcho picks his top CJR stories from the past year. (Columbia Journalism Review, 12/27)

CAUCASUS: The Year in Review
As popular uprisings spread through the Middle East and North Africa in 2011, the Arab Spring also tried to take root in the South Caucasus. However, while opposition forces in the region sought to capitalize on the protests, especially hoping to benefit from international media interest in 'Facebook Revolutions,' they failed to achieve similar results. (Global Voices, 1/2)

TUNISIA: 2011 Citizen Media Photos
The year 2011 has been an extraordinary year for Tunisia - a historic year that will be engraved into the memory of every Tunisian. What started as a spontaneous act of despair in the forgotten and marginalised region of Sidi Bouzid, turned into a popular uprising that would sweep the country, topple the 23-year rule of Zeine el Abidine Ben Ali, and change the face of the entire region as one Arab country after the other picked up the revolution fervour. (Global Voices, 1/3)

Top Trends to Watch in 2012
2011 was a big year for news in more ways than one. Reporters were amply tested in their coverage of big breaking news stories such as the death of Osama Bin Laden or Muammar Gaddafi, major disasters such as the Fukushima earthquake, and complex political unrest much of the Arab World. Meanwhile, newspapers continue to seek an effective digital business model, to tackle the challenges posed by social media and community involvement, to create innovative tablet applications and respond to ethical dilemmas. Looking forward to 2012, what can we expect? (Editors Weblog, 1/2)

Forecast for 2012: BBC Boss Predicts 'First Truly Digital' Olympics
Phil Fearnley, general manager of news and knowledge at BBC Future Media, predicts an explosive year for takeup of new technology as the Olympic games come to London. (The Guardian, 1/1)

Issues for 2012 #5: How Will Online News Be Organized?
Just ask the man who signs my paychecks... or at least, go back to October 2007 and ask Richard MacManus, the founder and EIC of this publication. He would tell you directly and succinctly that ReadWriteWeb is not a blog. That is, by the definition of that time, it's not a one-man show. "ReadWriteWeb has evolved," Richard wrote at the time, "into something different than a blog, which is traditionally thought of as the voice of a single person." (Read Write Web, 1/3)

The Mobile Revolution Is Here
2011 saw smartphone and tablet shipments outpace computer purchases for the first time and the world's largest search engine spend over $12 billion to snatch one of the world's largest mobile device manufacturers. We met Apple's Siri, watched BlackBerry fall from the summit of mobile dominance, and witnessed vicious mobile-patent gamesmanship over devices and operating systems. With 20% of all searches being conducted from mobile devices, the mobile revolution is upon us. (MediaPost, 1/5)

INDIA: Is 2012 the Year for India's Internet?
It's estimated as many as 121 million Indians are logged onto the internet. It is a sizeable number, but still a relatively small proportion of the country's 1.2 billion population. Predictions suggest the ways Indians use the internet for business and pleasure will change even further in the next year. (BBC, 1/3)

NIGERIA: Nigeria Yearns for Broadband Internet in 2012
Over one year after the landing of two additional undersea broadband cable networks - Main-One and Glo-One in the country, the penetration and cost of broadband internet services have remained hardly accessible. This is despite the fact that internet penetration in the country has catapulted from 10 to 40 million content of the population in a few short years. The reason for the poor broadband penetration, is that although more capacity has landed at the country's coastline, the infrastructure to take it into the hinterland is largely lacking. (Business Day, 1/3)

Is Internet Access a Human Right?

Internet Access Is Not a Human Right
Vint Cerf: From the streets of Tunis to Tahrir Square and beyond, protests around the world last year were built on the Internet and the many devices that interact with it. Though the demonstrations thrived because thousands of people turned out to participate, they could never have happened as they did without the ability that the Internet offers to communicate, organize and publicize everywhere, instantaneously. (New York Times, 1/5)

Is Internet Access a Fundamental Human Right?
Should internet access be seen as a fundamental human right, in the same category as the right to free speech or clean drinking water? The United Nations says that it should, but in a New York Times op-ed, one of the fathers of the internet argues that it should not. Vint Cerf is the co-creator of the TCP/IP standard that the global computer network is built on, so when he says something about the impact of the internet it's probably worth paying attention to. But is he right? And what are the implications if he is wrong? (GigaOM, 1/5)

Vint Cerf on Why Internet Access Is Not a Human Right (+ A Few More Reasons)
In an provocative oped in today's New York Times, Vint Cerf, one of the pioneers of the Net who now holds the position "chief Internet evangelist" at Google, makes the argument for why "Internet Access Is Not a Human Right." You won't be surprised to hear that I generally agree. But there are two other issues Cerf fails to address. First, who or what pays the bill for classifying the Internet or broadband as a birthright entitlement? Second, what are the potential downsides for competition and innovation from such a move? (Tech Liberation Front, 1/5)

Digital Africa

AFRICA: AFCON 2012: Social Media to Claim Fans' Slot
With only weeks before the kickoff of the 28th edition of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations to be co-hosted by west African states of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea some football craze fans across the continent have taken to social media networking sites to cheer and rally behind their national teams. The social media explosion has cut across all spheres of society - politics, economics and social aspects of life. (Fesmedia, 1/5)

AFRICA: Google to Hold its First G-Tanzania and G-Ethiopia in February!
Google has today announced that it will be holding the first ever G-Tanzania on February 2nd and 3rd at Milimani City Conference Centre and G-Ethiopia on February 7th and 8th at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Centre. The G-Days are special days where Googlers (Google Staff) come to interact with the local communities including content generators, developers, business leaders and investors. (TechMtaa, 1/5)

EAST AFRICA: Understanding the Geography and Structure of the Internet in East Africa
I am working on a project at the Oxford Internet Institute, along with partners in Nairobi and Butare, looking at how the arrival of four underwater fibre optic cables will change the economic picture of Kenya and Rwanda in the sectors of tea, tourism and Business Process Outsourcing. (Laura Mann, 12/9)

NIGERIA: Social Media Ginger Subsidy Protests
Just like the Arab Springs protests which took North Africa and Middle East by storm and the Occupy Wall Street protests in the United States, Europe and Asia in 2011, Nigerians used the social media to bring demonstrators out on the streets to protest the removal of fuel subsidy. (Fesmedia, 1/4)

SOMALIA: Using SMS for Stories from Somalia
In the Horn of Africa, Somalia makes headlines but often only because of drought, famine, crisis, and insecurity. Al Jazeera recently launched Somalia Speaks to help amplify stories from people and their everyday lives in the region - all via SMS. (MobileActive, 1/3)

TANZANIA: TCRA: Tanzania Has 5 Million Internet Users and 19 Million Mobile Phone Subscribers
Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has released a report showing that 11% of Tanzania's 42 Million population are on the internet. As of October 2011 there were around 4.8 million accessing the internet from Tanzania up from 1.6 million users in 2005. 2,663,200 were institutional users while 1,932,816 were households or individual users and 260,280 Internet café users. (TechMtaa, 1/4)

Around the Blogosphere

Outside the Box: Are Journalists Still Relevant?
Most nights, before I go to sleep, I like checking the New York Times and Guardian apps for their take on the day's news and their interesting feature stories. No, it's not because I think they're the best in the business, but because they're the most readable sites on the tiny screen of my office-issued smartphone. (GMA Network, 1/2)

The Little Fanzine That Could
About 3 years ago now, in one of those many, humbling, first year university lectures, we were given the question "can you name other forms of journalism besides newspapers?". "Blogs!" cried a few, "websites!" harked another, "Heat magazine!" shrieked this bizarre orange creature chewing gum at the back of the room. "Fanzines?" mumbled I, with the cautious reluctance of a Jewish shrew hiding in a 1940's Munich loft. (, 1/3)

What Would Rupert Do?* The Lessons of a Tweeting Murdoch.
It used to be the case that the news media's engagement with social media and the commercial web was once reminiscent of Dr Samuel Johnson's quote about women preachers ' a dog walking on its hinder legs.It is not done well, but you are surprized to find it done at all'. Not any more. (Emily Bell, 1/3)

A New Year's Wish - Journalism Curmudgeons, Please Get Over It!
In the news business, there's plenty of reason to be cranky as 2012 opens. But I see little that is as self-defeating as journalism curmudgeonry - the general attitude that traditional news organizations are irreplaceable and that the Internet is debasing journalism. Happily, most journalists seem to have moved on. But for the stragglers, here's my four-step plan for recovering curmudgeons. (Knight Digital Media Center, 1/3)

Google+ Is Going To Mess Up The Internet
I hate Google+. Can't stand it. It is agonizing to use. The stream is so noisy, it won't even bother me when the inevitable Google ads arrive. Culturally, it feels like walking into a religious school. It swarms with disciples of the + waiting for the messianic downfall of the Evil Internet, so that the One True Google+ is all that's left. (Read Write Web, 1/4)

Yes, Blog Comments Are Still Worth the Effort
Every so often, a storm erupts in the blogosphere over comments, and whether they are worth having or not. The latest entrant in this ongoing debate is TechCrunch writer-turned-venture-capitalist MG Siegler, who doesn't have comments on his blog and has written several posts defending his decision, saying they are 99-percent bile and a waste of his time. On the other side of the debate is fellow VC Fred Wilson, who says Siegler is missing a lot by not allowing comments. (GigaOM, 1/4)

The Year of Making Video A More Effective Human Rights Tool
2011 was the year of video. From the beautifully told and shot video of young climate change activist Nelson Kanuk, to Antonieta's passionate plea to resist forced evictions in Rio, to the Oyela Irene's personal story, to the grainy videos or testimonies shot or live streamed during protests in Cairo or in Zuccotti Park, to development of the SecureSmartCam app with the Guardian Project. (, 1/3)

PAKISTAN: Politics and Social Media in Pakistan - The Struggle for New Power within an Immature Democracy!
The political scene in Pakistan is in full heat midst all the uncomfortable steam of the governance chaos, economic instability, war on terror, energy crisis and all that is constantly aired on the domestic and global news and media. It definitely is the complete package perfect for setting the stage for a Wild West movie or the perfect takeover of the government by a bunch of gringos right here in South Asia's heart. (Internet's Governance, 1/1)

ZIMBABWE: Why You Should Ignore the 'We Have 4G!' Adverts
In 2010, Ecoweb (and Econet subsidiary) was first to come out with the message that they had launched a 4G internet service. The company had just launched its mobile WiMax platform April 2010; a first in Zimbabwe. Of course consumers had no idea what this 4G thing was. The real benefit a lot of people saw wasn't the speed that the new generation was supposed to offer, it was the mobility. (TechZim, 1/4)


Are We on Information Overload?
The Internet has transformed knowledge. An expert explains why it's launched the greatest period in human history. (Salon, 1/1)

Can Europe Match US Internet Firms?
VIDEO: The giants of the internet world, Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft all come from the US, so where are the European equivalents? Britons start just as many internet-based companies as the Americans. It is just that up until now, more have collapsed before making it big. But are things about to change with Europe's internet entrepreneurs? (BBC, 1/3)

A Time to Tune Out
Let's hear it for Volkswagen at the start of 2012. The German automaker has responded to demands from its works council by agreeing to stop the e-mail server to its BlackBerry-using employees a half-hour after their shift ends, only restoring it 30 minutes before work begins the next day. (New York Times, 1/3)

You Be The Judge: Are Bloggers Journalists?
I've been working as a journalist for nearly 35 of my 50+ years. Or have I? Under the rules set down by U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez, perhaps I need to revise my resume. And if I do, then many other bloggers are just as out-of-business as I am. (Forbes, 1/2)

An Ad Blocker Opens the Gate, Ever So Slightly
Adblock Plus became the most popular piece of "add-on" software for the Firefox Web browser, in part, because it had a simple mission: see online ad, block online ad. The name said it all - and each day 10 million people or so surf the Internet with Adblock Plus installed, presumably never missing the advertising they were meant to see. (New York Times, 1/3)

Text Messaging Is in Decline in Some Countries
Perhaps to the chagrin of cellphone carriers, all signs point to text messaging's continuing its decline in several parts of the world. (New York Times, 1/1)

The Internet Is the Best Place for Dissent to Start
Ethan Zuckerman's compelling 'cute cats theory' has changed my mind about the internet's role in the struggle for global justice. (The Guardian, 1/3)

In an Internet Minute
INFOGRAPHIC: Intel sent an interesting infographic: What Happens in an Internet Minute. Looking at the traffic data, Intel asks if there is sufficient attention being paid to investment in infrastructure. (CircleID, 1/4)

Apple: Time to Make a Conflict-Free iPhone
I've witnessed firsthand the horror caused in the Congo by the militias' trade in minerals, which is why I'm petitioning Apple. (The Guardian, 12/30)

The Ongoing War On Computing; Legacy Players Trying To Control The Uncontrollable
VIDEO: I don't think I've ever had so many people all recommend I watch the same thing as the number of folks who pointed me to Cory Doctorow's brilliant talk at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin last week. The crux of his argument is pretty straightforward. The idea behind all these attempts to "crack down" on copyright infringement online, with things like DRM, rootkits, three strikes laws, SOPA and more, are really simply all forms of attacks on general purpose computing. That's because computers that can run any program screw up the kind of gatekeeper control some industries are used to, and create a litany of problems for those industries. (Techdirt, 1/4)

Chrome Extension Warns You When You Browse A SOPA-Supporter's Website
Worried about whether or not your favorite Web site is supporting the Stop Online Piracy Act? A new Chrome extension seeks to lift those fears. After installing No SOPA, users get a warning message reading "SOPA Supporter! This company is a known supporter of the dangerous 'Stop Online Piracy Act'," every time they visit a SOPA-supporting Web site. (Read Write Web, 1/5)

US Threatened To Blacklist Spain For Not Implementing Site Blocking Law
In a leaked letter sent to Spain's outgoing President, the US ambassador to the country warned that as punishment for not passing a SOPA-style file-sharing site blocking law, Spain risked being put on a United States trade blacklist . Inclusion would have left Spain open to a range of "retaliatory options" but already the US was working with the incoming government to reach its goals. (Torrent Freak, 1/5)

Hacking Consensus: How We Can Build Better Arguments Online
A modest proposal for a new way to structure and assess the claims we make - and the conclusions we draw - in the digital space. (Nieman Journalism Lab, 1/5)

In the Digital Age, How Much Is Informal Education Worth?
You can learn anything you want on the Internet, so the adage goes. But even if that's true, even if it's now easier than ever to learn about almost any subject online, there are still very few opportunities to gain formal recognition -- "credit," if you will -- for informal learning done online. (PBS MediaShift, 1/5)

CHINA: Chinese Internet Giant Tencent Opens Cyberlaw Center, Invests in Research
Chinese internet giant Tencent (HKG:0700) has today announced the opening up of its Tencent Cyberlaw Research Center and accompanying website. It boasts a team of experienced legal practitioners and researchers - of whom more than half have doctorates - who will write, lecture, and co-operate on national and global issues relating to e-commerce, online gaming, IP law, security and hacking, and internet-related competition law. (Penn-Olson, 1/3)

CUBA: Cuba Blames Twitter User And "Necrophiliac Counter-Revolutionaries" For Castro Death Rumours
Cuba has accused Twitter of both starting and helping to spread a rumour that began on Monday that former leader Fidel Castro had died, suggesting that the social network helped spread disinformation about Castro's passing by allowing the #fidelcastro hashtag to become a trending topic. (MediaBistro, 1/5)

INDIA: Aakash Update: Oversold, Underperforming
Within days of going on sale online, the 2,500 rupee (about $47) Aakash computer appears to be sold out, according to the tablet's official Web site. The tablet has generated huge excitement among gadget geeks and internationally renowned columnists alike, who say the product could advance education in India and revolutionize the lives of the world's poor. But it has been dogged by complaints about its performance and delivery delays. (New York Times, 1/5)

MALAYSIA: Eateries to Offer Wi-Fi Service in April
The requirement for restaurants and eateries in the city centre to be Wi-Fi ready will be enforced by City Hall as early as April. (New Straits Times, 1/3)

RUSSIA: Daghestan President Orders Top Officials: Get Active On Social Media
Top government officials in the Russian republic of Daghestan have been instructed by special presidential decree to become active on social media. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 12/30)

SWEDEN: File-Sharing Recognized as Official Religion in Sweden
Since 2010 a group of self-confessed pirates have tried to get their beliefs recognized as an official religion in Sweden. After their request was denied several times, the Church of Kopimism - which holds CTRL+C and CTRL+V as sacred symbols - is now approved by the authorities as an official religion. The Church hopes that its official status will remove the legal stigma that surrounds file-sharing. (Torrent Freak, 1/4)

UNITED STATES: Snow Site Lets Chicago See if Plows Are Really in a Rut
The suspicions are as common here as snowflakes. Certain people, certain streets, certain neighborhoods seem to get their streets cleared of snow before the rest of the city - or so the whispering has always gone. But this year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration will announce on Tuesday, Chicagoans may test their theories about clout on their computers. Using GPS technology, a new city Web site,, will provide a map of Chicago's approximately 300 snowplows, making their way in real time through the neighborhoods. Anyone will have a clear view of who gets what first, and whether plows really sweep more rapidly beside the homes of the mayor, powerful aldermen - or even just the neighbor everyone hates. (New York Times, 1/3)

UZBEKISTAN: Internet Use Continues to Grow in Uzbekistan Despite Government Obstacles
Despite tight government reins on the Internet, citizens of Uzbekistan are coming online in increasing numbers, according to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Citing a year-end report by the state communications agency, the news service says that of the country's 28 million residents, almost 8 million were registered Internet users in 2011. Twenty percent had access to mobile Internet.


Social Media Usage in Russia and Eurasia
Statistics from Focus, December 2011 (Russian)

Global Social Technographics Update 2011: US And EU Mature, Emerging Markets Show Lots Of Activity
Last month George Colony, CEO of Forrester, talked about a "Social Thunderstorm" at the LeWeb conference in Paris. He argued that social is running out of hours and running out of people. What does that mean? Well, the second one is easy: The vast majority of consumers around the world who have access to a computer use social media. And the first one? George goes on to say that Americans are spending more time on social media than volunteering, praying, talking on the phone, emailing, or even exercising. With so many people spending so much time on social media, it is crucial for companies to understand how their customers use social media. We just released our newest report, Social Media Adoption In 2011, which reveals the latest trends. (Forrester, 1/4)

HUNGARY: New Study: "Hungarian Media Laws in Europe: An Assessment of the Consistency of Hungary's Media Laws with European Practices and Norms"
A new CMCS study led by researcher Amy Brouillette analyses the consistency of the Hungarian media regulations with European practices and norms. It addresses a key international policy debate regarding the conformity of Hungary's new media legislation to European and EU media-regulation standards. The study also contributes to the ongoing policy making process regarding Hungary's media laws-particularly in light of the recent rulings by Hungary's Constitutional Court which requires several provisions to be amended by 31 May 2012-as well as contributing to the debate around other areas of concern that have been raised by the European Commission, European lawmakers, and domestic and international stakeholders. (Center for Media and Communication Studies, 1/5)