Digital Media Mash Up: January 2012, Week 3

In this Issue

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

In the News:


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

Washington, DC

Can Media Development Make Aid More Effective?
Monday, January 30, 2012, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
The events of the Arab Spring highlighted the potential of digital and traditional media to transform political structures. Government officials and citizens across the region and around the world closely watched the role of technology in the protests, while advocates of independent media felt that the events affirmed the power of information and its fundamental role in developing democratic states. Still, policymakers rarely recognize independent media as a critical component in fostering democracy and development. Moreover, they continue to question the international development community about whether aid to developing nations has worked. With the revolutionary power of media catching the world's attention, it is a good time to examine the evidence on media, technology, and development. Do media matter? How effective has donor support to media been? What is the relationship of the media sector to economic development and good governance? How can stakeholders advance policy discussions on aid effectiveness to include independent media assistance?
Featuring: Daniel Kaufmann, Brookings Institution; Mark Nelson, World Bank Institute; Tara Susman-Peña, Internews; Mark Frohardt, Internews; Sina Odugbemi, World Bank
Location: Center for International Media Assistance at the National Endowment for Democracy, 1025 F Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004

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

Beyond Washington

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

If you'd like to have your digital media event included in the next Digital Media Mash Up, email Cathie Glover at

In the News

Global Censorship Update

View the Global Censorship Update in a Google Map

TV Satellite Operator Usurps Court's Prerogative to Silence Kurdish TV Station
Reporters Without Borders is stunned by Paris-based TV satellite operator Eutelsat's decision yesterday to stop carrying the broadcasts of Copenhagen-based Kurdish TV station Roj TV on the grounds that a Danish court found it guilty of supporting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed separatist group regarded by Turkey as a terrorist organization. (Reporters Without Borders, 1/19),4...

BELARUS: The Truth Behind the Belarus Internet 'Crackdown'
The last week a wave of publications about increasing Internet control in Belarus has spread across the Western Internet. It has come back to the Belarusian segment in translations suggesting that "the citizens of the small country will no longer be able to use the foreign websites as they will be fined for that" and the Internet is close to being completely closed off. This overreaction has dominated the Western media and definitely influenced decision making about Belarus. But the reality is that no change in Internet access has been detected by regular users. (Net Prophet, 1/19)

CHINA: China to Require all Microblog Users to Register Using Real Names
China's top Internet regulator says Beijing will soon require all users of microblogs to register under their real names to post comments online. Wang Chen, who heads China's State Council Information Office, said Wednesday increased Internet monitoring is necessary in order to prevent the spread of harmful information. (Voice of America, 1/18)

CHINA: China to Extend Microblogging Requirements
As part of a broader information strategy unveiled this week, the top official at China's State Council Information Office announced nationwide expansion plans for recently implemented regulations that require microbloggers to register their identities with the government. (China Digital Times, 1/19)

CHINA: Activist Sentenced as Crackdowns Continue
A Chinese court sentenced writer Li Tie to 10 years in prison for subversion on Wednesday after he wrote essays urging people to defend their rights, according to a relative. (China Digital Times, 1/20)

ETHIOPIA: Ethiopia: Standing with Ethiopia's Tenacious Blogger, Eskinder Nega
It would be hard to find a better symbol of media repression in Africa than Eskinder Nega. The veteran Ethiopian journalist and dissident blogger has been detained at least seven times by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government over the past two decades, and was put back in jail on September 14, 2011, after he published a column calling for the government to respect freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and to end torture in prisons. Eskinder now faces terrorism charges, and if convicted could face the death sentence. (Fesmedia, 1/15)

ETHIOPIA: 3 Journalists, Politician Found Guilty on Terror Charges in Ethiopia
An Ethiopian court on Thursday found three journalists, a politician and a politician's assistant guilty of conspiring to commit acts of terrorism, in a case that drew rebukes from rights groups who fear the country's anti-terrorism law is being used to suppress dissent. The five were charged under Ethiopia's controversial anti-terrorism laws. Government spokesman Shimeles Kemal has said they were involved in planning attacks on infrastructure, telecommunications and power lines. (Washington Post, 1/19)

GERMANY: German Courts Are Bucking the Trend, Ruling that ISPs Shouldn't Block Illegal Websites
If we learned anything this week, it was that European courts are coming down increasingly hard on websites that facilitate the sharing of illegal 'pirated' content. But for those that believe in an open, uncensored Internet, news that a German court has ruled against ordering Internet service providers (ISPs) to block such websites will be welcomed. (The Next Web, 1/14)

INDONESIA: Indonesian Atheist Faces Jail after Facebook Post
An Indonesian civil servant who declared himself an atheist on Facebook was arrested and is now facing jail for blasphemy after being attacked by an angry mob, police said Friday. (The Daily Star, 1/20)

IRAN: Jailed Islamic Cleric and Blogger on Hunger Strike
In the last 33 years since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has been a kind of paradise for Islamic clerics who gained power and rule over the country. But not for all of them. Mohammad Sadegh (Arash) Honarvar Shojayi, a cleric and a blogger is one who is currently sharing the pain of imprisonment for his ideas and writings along with many other prisoners. Has the Islamic Republic democratized repression? In October 2011, after one year of jail, the blogger was sentenced to four years in prison and lashes. (Global Voices, 1/16)

PERU: Sentence against Blogger Overturned
On 10 January 2012, the first instance sentence that had condemned José Alejandro Godoy, owner of the political blog Dese el Tercer Piso, to a three-year suspended prison term and the payment of 300 thousand nuevos soles (approx. US$111,400) for the alleged defamation of former congressman and minister Jorge Mufarech, was declared void by a criminal court in Lima. (IFEX, 1/13)

Digital Media News Affecting Journalists and Activists

Twitter Doesn't Make You Martin Luther King
Today it's very, very easy to pretend to care about something. The election, racism, pro-democracy uprisings. These causes are noble, and most of the people supporting them are lazy. Today, let's remember what giving a shit really looks like. Hint: not your twitter picture. (Gizmodo, 1/16)

5 Ways Journalists Can Use Pinterest
Does Pinterest, the year old digital pinboard site, have value as a tool for journalists? The site's gained a lot of traction in the social media world recently. It cracked the top 10 most trafficked social network sites, with 11 million visitors during the second full week of December, according to Hitwise. The site's main users tend to be brides-to-be, people interested in home decor and lifestyle magazines, such as Better Homes and Gardens. I haven't, however, seen a lot of news organizations using it. (10,000 Words, 1/17)

The Google-Approved Way To Take Down Your Website In Protest
There's been a flurry of good news in the last few days for opponents of the SOPA/PIPA anti-piracy legislation worming its way through the U.S. Congress. The White House has come out opposing key flaws in the legislation, so both versions are effectively stuck for now. Not taking any chances, some of the world's biggest websites, including Wikipedia and Reddit, are going dark on Wednesday, January 18 to protest the ill-conceived anti-piracy legislation. (Read Write Web, 1/17)

Here's Why You Should Avoid Tweeting At Certain Times Each Hour
Here's an exercise for you: Open up TweetDeck or another Twitter client that uses the streaming API. Wait for the top of the hour. Then watch closely as your timeline explodes with tweets.
It's a problem that hasn't been written about much: Folks who schedule their tweets choose to (or have to, depending on software) schedule those tweets at certain points of the hour...when everyone is tweeting at once, it's less likely that users will see your tweet. (10,000 Words, 1/17)

Understanding and Detecting Mobile Malware Threats
Every couple of years there's a new "hot threat" in security for which vendors abruptly tout newfangled protection and potential customers clamor for additional defense options. Once upon a time it was spyware, a few years ago it was data leakage, and today it's mobile malware. It's a reoccurring cycle, analogous to the "blue is the new black" in fashion - if you fancy adopting a certain cynical tone...When I meet with customers, prospects and journalists, I get a lot of questions about the Mobile Threat. In particular, how should businesses work to defend against it? My immediate response tends to be "what do you define as the mobile threat?" (CircleID, 1/16)

Spy vs Activist: Managing Security Risks
Recently it came to light that a minister in the Australian government, Martin Ferguson, has advocated for increased surveillance of anti-coal and other climate activists, and for stronger penalties for actions taken on energy infrastructure, after being approached by energy companies. While the direct link between industry targeted by activists, a government minister, and resulting surveillance of activists is noteworthy, it is nothing new for activists to be monitored by either police, ASIO or private companies. (Plan to Win, 1/18)

What Journalists Need to Know about SOPA
The Online News Association on Thursday came out strongly against sweeping federal legislation aimed at curbing illegal copying and distribution of content online. (Poynter, 1/6)

6 Tips for Handling Breaking Crises on Twitter
If the past year has taught us anything about reputation management in the social age, it's that the past year has not taught us anything. Time and time again in 2011, the same missteps and misunderstandings lead to the same predictably painful reputational outcomes for individuals, brands and organizations. Despite widely discussed and accepted social media best practices, many of the most significant crisis poster children of 2011 failed to deploy the basic digital tactics necessary to cauterize potential threats before they metastasized into full-blown reputational disasters. (Mashable, 1/17)

Deliver Content on Mobile Websites
This article explains how media publishers can build mobile websites to deliver content. Mobile websites are simply websites that are appropriate to view and use on mobile phones: mobile websites fit on small screens, don't make heavy use of keyboard input, and integrate with social networks. The article describes when mobile websites are an appropriate medium for content delivery, and provides tools to build them. (Mobile Media Toolkit)

Top Ten Tips for Applying for a New Internet Extension
So you want to apply for a new gTLD (generic Top Level Domain)? There are several different kinds of application, so all the points below may not apply to you. But even so, they may help you to understand the process and at least some of the pitfalls. (.nxt, 1/19)

5 Journalism Panels at SXSW Interactive 2012
Earlier this week, SXSW announced their 2012 schedule which includes over 5,000 events in the conference's film, interactive and music tracks. Some events are still TBA, but the schedule will be updated the closer it moves to the conference's opening date of March 9, 2012. Here are just a few of the confirmed panels which should be of interest to journalists. This is a random sample of the entire schedule; you can search the full list of panels on the 2012 SXSW Schedule page. (10,000 Words, 1/19)

How To Get More Likes And Comments On Facebook
Here are some facts that might surprise you: Most fans never return to a page after they like it. Most posts by pages are seen by less than 10 percent of their fans. Many fans will never see your welcome tab. When fans create new posts on your Facebook page, other fans don't see them. (All Facebook, 1/19)

Update on Digital Media Companies and Outlets

FACEBOOK: Meet Facebook's New App Partners
Facebook has announced 60 new partners who have created apps in new categories, ranging from travel to entertainment. Users can add the apps to their timeline and share their activities with the friends on Facebook. This is the next step from the apps released a few months ago, such as Spotify and Washington Post Social Reader, which have quickly become very popular and helped those services grow virally. Here is a list to all of the new sites offering apps and a link to add the ones you are interested in. (Cyberjournalist, 1/20)

LINKEDIN: LinkedIn Shutters Twitter Widget 'Tweets' Because Of 'Extremely Low Usage'
LinkedIn is planning to shut down its Tweets application as of January 31, 2012. As you may remember, the Tweets application allowed users find and keep track of their LinkedIn connections on Twitter, view Twitter feeds of connections, recommend Twitter users to follow, and more. (TechCrunch, 1/19)

STORIFY: Storify Was Created through Classic Innovation Process
VIDEO: Burt Herman says that social media is great material for a story, but isn't a story in itself. (Poynter, 1/19)

TWITTER: Twitter Offers More Chances for Errant Reporting
Most days, I find really solid excuses for failing to work out. It's too danged cold out. I really need to keep the cat company after his claws were removed. Some pretty creative stuff. This was a new one. I had to babysit a tweet from actor Rob Lowe saying sources were telling him Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was going to announce his retirement. (Indy Star, 1/20)

TWITTER: Twitter Acquisition Confirms that Curation is the Future
Twitter made an interesting acquisition on Thursday, when it bought a young Canadian startup called Summify, a company whose service (as its name implies) was designed to cut through the noise of all those social-media streams and summarize the content that matters. More than anything, this is perhaps the single biggest hole that exists not just in Twitter but Facebook and other services as well: the need to give users more ways of filtering the massive amounts of information that keep flooding their activity streams and other social-media inboxes. There are so many ways of producing and sharing content but so few good ways of filtering. (GigaOM, 1/20)

Digital Media in the Middle East

EMM to Launch New TV Channel
Digital media company EMM has announced that it intends to launch and run a 24/7 general entertainment TV channel from twofour54 Abu Dhabi. The channel's name will be made public at a later date but is set to be a satellite-based free-to-air offering with a dedicated online channel. The channel is set to go live by the end of 2012. (Digital Production Middle East, 1/19)

Viacom18 Expands Operations to Middle East Region
Viacom18, cited to be one of India's fastest growing entertainment conglomerates, has announced that it is opening an office in Dubai. The office will be charged with managing sales, as well as the marketing and distribution of its channels, such as Colors, in the Middle East and Africa markets. (Digital Production Middle East, 1/20)

EGYPT: Egyptian Citizen Journalism Website YouTube Phenomenon
Mosireen, an Egyptian media collective of filmmakers and citizen journalists, has become the most viewed non-profit YouTube channel of all time in Egypt and the most viewed non-profit channel in the whole world this month. The group, which has only been producing videos online for four months, collates footage and video testimonies from filmmakers and people who attend protests in Egypt and disseminates these clips online. (Ahram, 1/19)

ISRAEL: Hacker Brings Down Israeli Stock Exchange, El Al Websites
A hacker brought down the websites of Israel's national carrier El Al and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Monday, raising fears of a wave of politically motivated cyber attacks. Both sites were affected early in the day, posting messages saying they had been taken down for "maintenance." By early afternoon the El Al site was back up, although the TASE website was still inaccessible. The websites of two small banks were also attacked, Israeli media reported. (Daily Star, 1/17)

ISRAEL: Israeli Hacker Posts Facebook Logins Of 'Helpless Arabs'
The seemingly never-ending conflict between Israel and its Mideast neighbors has spread to Facebook, as an Israeli hacker who goes by the name of Hannibal posted the email addresses and passwords of 85,000 users of the social network from Saudi Arabia and Iran. (All Facebook, 1/20)

China Update

CHINA: Tencent Is Going After Sina Weibo
I have written about Tencent's Weibo efforts in Will Tencent's Weibo Spending Spree Destroy Sina's Weibo Profit Potential? and Can Tencent Weibo Threaten Sina Weibo?. My point was that Sina ($SINA) investors should never underestimate a company like Tencent. (DigiCha, 1/16)

CHINA: Paike, the New Media Force in China
Chen Bin keeps the wolf from the door selling insurance, but he's also an amateur paraglider and a member of China's army of citizen journalists who share their stories online. Chinese view Chen as a member of the paike (meaning amateur cameraman literally), an emerging group in the country who make digital videos and upload them onto the Internet for the general public to access. The 42-year-old man became an Internet star after his video clips of an aerial view of the deadly Wenzhou train crash scene in Zhejiang province last summer became a big hit online. (CRI English, 1/17)

CHINA: China Set to Surpass 1 Billion Mobile Connections
China is closing in on the 1 billion mobile connections mark, which it will likely surpass before the end of March, according to a new Wireless Intelligence report. China has always been a world power in wireless, but its importance is poised to grow further as its huge population is now embracing mobile data services. (GigaOM, 1/20)

CHINA: China Surpasses 500M People Online as Government Tightens Control on Internet
The China Internet Network Information Center recently released a report stating that the number of Internet users in the country has officially soared to 513 million. Although the number makes China the country with the greatest number of people online, 60% of Chinese citizens still do not have access to the Internet. (Open Net Initiative, 1/19)


AFRICA: Ethiopia Accused of Jamming Eritrea's Broadcast Signals
Ethiopia is blocking satellite transmissions from Eritrea, the government in Asmara accuses its larger neighbor, this week. (Sudan Tribune, 1/13),41286

AFGHANISTAN: News Corp Buys into Afghan TV
News Corp has expanded its business in the Middle East, taking a minority stake in Dubai-based media firm Moby Group. Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate will hand its 50% stake in Farsi-language television joint venture Broadcast Middle East (BME) to Moby, giving the latter full control of local nets Farsi1 and Zemzemah in exchange for the undisclosed stake. (C21 Media, 1/16)

ARGENTINA: Argentina Building Huge Biometric Database For Use With Police's Face Recognition Technology
One of the more unfortunate consequences of Moore's Law is that technologies that erode privacy are becoming cheaper every year - and hence more attractive to governments eager to spy on their own populace. The latest to heed the siren call of mass surveillance is Argentina. At the end of last year, the Argentinian President ordered the creation of a new, centralized, nationwide biometric ID database for law enforcement purposes, known as SIBIOS. (TechDirt, 1/17)

CANADA: Canada Gives in to Tweeters by Lifting Election Reporting Ban
Canada's government has agreed to lift election-night blackouts on election results.
In future, it will allow federal election results to be released as they become available instead of making Canadians wait for the last polls to close on the west coast. (The Guardian, 1/17)

FRANCE: 165 French File-Sharers Now On 3rd Strike, "iTunes Up 22.5%"
The French authority responsible for administering the country's anti-filesharing operations reports that it has now sent out more than 736,000 "first strike" and 62,000 "second strike" infringement warnings, with a total of 165 Internet account holders now on their third and final strike. Meanwhile, a report set to be published by IFPI next week will suggest that Hadopi is a success that has contributed to a 22.5% increase in purchases from iTunes. (Torrent Freak, 1/19)

INDIA: The Daily Mail Expands Online with Indian Site
British tabloid The Daily Mail is broadening its online presence with the introduction of Mail Online India, reports Roy Greenslade in The Guardian today. (SFN Blog, 1/20)

KAZAKHSTAN: Tinkering with Wikipedia Part of Kazakh Government's PR Strategy?
The Kazakh government has long been known to spend millions abroad to improve its international image, hiring prominent public relations firms like BGR Gabara, Portland Communications, Tony Blair Associates, and Media Consulta. But EurasiaNet reports that some of those companies appear to have gone beyond arranging the typical infomercials on big international channels and similar strategies. The website has uncovered several examples of alleged manipulation on Wikipedia entries related to Kazakhstan officials and government interests. (Net Prophet, 1/20)

RUSSIA: Russia's Launches Its Own Twitter After China's Microblog Explosion
Russia's big portal is trying to ape Chinese companies' microblog boom by launching its own Twitter clone. Futubra launched in beta Monday. (Paid Content, 1/16)

UZBEKISTAN: The Prospects of Facebook Activism in Uzbekistan
A fascinating discussion over at the Central Asian blog,, has been taking place this past week about the possibility of Internet-fueled revolution in Central Asia. The debate coincides with recent reports about increasing numbers of Internet users in Uzbekistan, and the surging use of Facebook. In light of those developments, I thought I'd survey a few Uzbeks that I know to ask if they felt that those numbers would translate into more online activism and any additional pressure on the authorities to loosen their domineering grip on society. The uniform answer was "no" and the prime reason: "fear." (Net Prophet, 1/17)

ZAMBIA: Blogger Challenges Ex-ruling Party's Query On Guy Scott's Appointment
The former ruling party, the MMD, has questioned the legality of the appointment of independent Zambia's first white Vice President, Dr Guy Scott, threatening to take the matter to the court of law to determine its constitutionality. The MMD's national chairman for legal affairs, George Kunda, a State Counsel, immediate past vice president and minister of justice, the position he held concurrently with the second highest state position, said recently that Dr Scott did not qualify to hold his current position apparently because he did not act as president on the only two occasions President Michael Sata has so far left the country. But one blogger, Munshyawamunshya, argues that Dr Scott qualifies to stand as republican president. (Global Voices, 1/20)


A Comparative Look at SOPA and Similar Laws around the Globe
Wikipedia, Reddit, and hundreds of other websites are dark today. Google has blacked out its logo. These steps are in opposition to the controversial bills SOPA (Stop Online Privacy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) that stand before the United States Congress. Facebook and other social networking sites also have stated their opposition to the bills. (CIMA Media Blog, 1/18)

Wikipedia Joins Web Blackout in SOPA Protest
Wikipedia plans to take its English-language site offline on Wednesday as part of protests against proposed anti-piracy laws in the US. (BBC, 1/17)

Twitter's Dick Costolo Calls Wikipedia's SOPA Blackout 'Foolish'
We've already reported on Wikipedia's founder Jimmy Wales announcing that the site will be going dark, effectively closing up for business, for 24 hours on Wednesday in protest of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). Well, after being goaded about whether Twitter would be joining in protest with a blackout as well, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo responded by saying that the decision was foolish. (The Next Web, 1/16)

Google to State Anti-SOPA Stance on Home Page
Google said Tuesday that it will post a statement on its Web site voicing its opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act, joining a drive that will see Reddit, Wikipedia, and Boing Boing take their Web sites dark for a period of time on Jan. 18. Google's actions will not be as dramatic as others - Reddit and Boing Boing will take their sites down for 12 hours starting at 8 a.m., while Wikipedia will black out its English content for 24 hours on Wednesday - but the company's decision to use its U.S. home page means that its arguments regarding SOPA will reach a huge audience. (Washington Post, 1/17)

SOPA Opera
CHART: Chart of changing congressional positions from January 18-19. (Chart Porn, 1/20)

The Pirate Bay: PIPA/SOPA Won't Stop Us!
Supporters of the pending PIPA/SOPA anti-piracy bills often use The Pirate Bay as a prime example of a website that can be taken out under the new legislation. But is that really the case? The Pirate Bay team has been silent on the issue, until now. As it turns out, the people behind the popular torrent site don't believe the laws will do much to stop them, but they do fear for the future of the Internet. (Torrent Freak, 1/17)

Public Outcry Over Antipiracy Bills Began as Grass-Roots Grumbling
When Wikipedia went dark and Google blacked out its logo on Wednesday, millions of people could not help but notice. For most, it was the first time that they had heard about two antipiracy bills. One puzzled Twitter user wrote: "Isn't a SOPA some kind of food?" But that protest grew out of a much wider grass-roots movement - a collective flexing of Internet muscle that started in some of the less mainstream parts of the Web, like the social news site Reddit and the blogging service Tumblr, and in e-mail chains and countless message boards. (New York Times, 1/20)

IFEX Member Websites Go Dark in Protest against Online Piracy Bills
As part of what has become the largest online protest in the history of the Internet, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and ARTICLE 19 pulled the plug on their websites on 18 January in protest against two online piracy bills currently before the U.S. Congress, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). (IFEX, 1/19)

CHINA: Bloggers in China Sound off on SOPA Blackout
Watching from China, where web censorship is practically a national hallmark, some can't help but smirk and crack jokes about the controversy raging over Internet freedom in the U.S.
"Now the U.S. government is copying us and starting to build their own firewall," wrote one micro-blogger, relating China's chief censorship tool to the U.S. plan to block sites that trade in pirated material. (LA Times, 1/20),0,3423812.story

Around the Blogosphere

Figuring Out How Much the Web Is Worth
Today we're launching a website called Value of the Web to collect research that sheds new light on how the Internet affects our world. It's available in English, French, German, Russian and Spanish and currently features studies that focus on 17 different regions, the value of cloud computing in Europe and the value of search around the world. While we can't use industrial metrics to fully capture the Web's contributions to our information society, as my teammate Jonathan pointed out, these reports are the best existing efforts to quantify the Internet's contributions to the economy and society thus far. (Policy By the Numbers, 1/20)

Digital Tools for Truth Vigilantes, Part 1
Over the past week, the truth vigilante flap stirred up by New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane has sparked tremendous conversation, mostly concerning whether journalists should clarify when sources are probably lying. This got me wondering: If a news organization decided to point out when sources spout inaccurate claims, HOW might this be accomplished? Specifically, which digital media tools might help news consumers notice and understand these problems more easily? (Knight Digital Media Center, 1/17)

Truth Goggles: Digital Tools for Truth Vigilantes, Part 2
News from anywhere, even the New York Times, always warrants a skeptical eye. Could digital tools help alert news consumers when sources quoted in news stories might be bending the truth?
On Tuesday I offered a roundup of ideas from digital media experts. Today we'll take a trip to technology's bleeding edge. Dan Schultz of MIT explains his ambitious plan to build an "automatic bullshit detector"... (Knight Digital Media Center, 1/18)

Why Social Media Week 2012 Will Be Bigger and Bolder than Ever
First held in 2009 in New York City, Social Media Week has expanded to become an international celebration of the way online social tools are transforming the world we live in.
In 2012, Social Media Week is set to be bigger than ever and The Next Web is partnering with its organizers to provide coverage of some of the week's many events which will be taking place in 12 cities: Hamburg; Hong Kong; London; Miami; New York; Paris; San Francisco; Sao Paulo; Singapore; Tokyo; Toronto, and Washington DC. (The Next Web, 1/20)


Getting "Internet Freedom" Straight
What is Internet freedom? The United States government has an "Internet freedom" agenda, complete with speeches by the Secretary of State and millions of dollars in program funding. A key United Nations official last year issued a major report emphasizing the right of all individuals freely to use the Internet. Taking a different tack, Vint Cerf, one of the Internet's founding fathers and "Chief Internet Evangelist" at Google, recently argued in the New York Times that Internet access is not a human right. And Devin Coldewey parsed the debate in TechCrunch, noting that the Internet is an enabler of rights, not a right unto itself. The answer matters. (TechCrunch, 1/15)

Divided We Stand: What If South Carolina Were Independent?
What kind of country would it be? How would a US divided by 30 historic and present-day secessionist movements look? This map aims to see what kind of countries they would be. (The Guardian, 1/17)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Public Imagination
PODCAST: Martin Luther King Jr.'s sermons frequently relied on improvisation - King drew on sources and references that were limited only by his imagination and memory. It's a gift on full display in King's 'I Have A Dream' speech, but it also conflicts with the intellectual property laws that have been strenuously used by his estate since his death. OTM producer Jamie York speaks with Drew Hansen, Keith Miller, Michael Eric Dyson and Lewis Hyde about King, imagination and the consequences of limiting access to art and ideas. (On the Media, 1/13)

Internet Freedom and the Digital Earthquake of 2011
Remarks by Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael H. Posner (, 1/17)

Anonymous Claims Credit for Crashing FBI, DOJ Sites
Following a Justice Department release stating that federal officials had taken down the file-sharing site Megaupload, hacking collective Anonymous launched several attacks on government and entertainment industry websites in retaliation. (Washington Post, 1/20)

Daily Report: Fallout From a File-Sharing Site's Shutdown
The tech world is still digesting Thursday's news that federal authorities had shut down Megaupload, a popular file-sharing site that they said was a piracy hub and accounted for 4 percent of global Internet traffic. (New York Times, 1/20)

Mobile Malware Is about to Explode, Users Need Education
We live in a world that's increasingly full of technology. However, along with technology comes malware and mobile devices are no exception, as the popularity of smartphones and tablets surges. On the whole, mobile malware seems to be proliferating, and it's happening quickly too. (The Inquirer, 1/20)


IRAQ: Freedoms in Iraq: An Increasingly Repressive Legal Net
Center for Law and Democracy and IREX Report, December 2011

SOMALIA: Lives and Rights of Journalists Under Threat: The State of Press Freedom in Somalia
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), January 2012

If you'd like to have your research included in the next Digital Media Mash Up, email Cathie Glover,