Digital Media Mash Up: March 2012 Week 4

In this Issue

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

In the News:


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

Beyond Washington

Global Censorship Conference
March 30, 31, and April 1, 2012
The ubiquity of the Internet has added an additional layer of complexity to issues of government censorship. It is both an unrivaled tool for speech and an incredible tool for monitoring and surveillance. This conference will consider how censorship has changed in a networked world, exploring how networks have altered the practices of both governments and their citizens. Panels will include discussions of how governments can and do censor and how speakers can command technical and legal tools to preserve their ability to speak. The conference will conclude with a discussion of new controversies in censorship, including laws designed to prevent online bullying and intellectual property infringement.
Featuring: Rebecca MacKinnon, Jack Balkin, Yochai Benkler
Location: Yale Law School

Ushahidi/SwiftRiver Research Seminar at the Wikimedia Foundation
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
How is a Wikipedia article different from a news article about the 2011 Egyptian Revolution at different points in the story's evolution? What are the roles of social media and other Internet sources in rapidly evolving articles? And what, really, is Wikipedia's working perspective on primary sources?
Featuring: Heather Ford, SwiftRiver ethnographer
Location: Wikimedia Foundation, San Francisco, CA

Adapting Journalism to the Web
Thursday, April 5, 2012, 5 p.m.
New communications technologies are revolutionizing our experience of news and information. The avalanche of news, gossip, and citizen reporting available on the web is immensely valuable but also often deeply unreliable. How can professional reporters and editors help to assure that quality journalism will be recognized and valued in our brave new digital world?
Featuring: Jay Rosen is director of NYU's Studio 20 and Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT.
Location: MIT, 633-E14, Media Lab

In the News

Global Censorship Update

CHINA: Weibo: Legalized Kidnapping
Below is a snapshot of the online outrage surrounding Article 73 of the new Criminal Procedure Law, which allows the authorities to detain individuals charged with "national security threats," "terrorism" or large-scale bribery at undisclosed locations for up to six months. This "residential surveillance" clause was passed at the closing session of last week's National People's Congress. (China Digital Times, 3/23)

PAKISTAN: Pakistan Backs Away from Proposed Censorship System
Last week we reported on the controversy over Pakistan's Request for Proposals for a sophisticated Internet censorship system. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has vowed to stop the distribution of "blasphemous and objectionable content" over the Pakistani Internet, and was seeking a system capable of blocking up to 50 million URLs. Internet freedom activists rallied against the proposal and secured commitments from several major IT vendors not to bid for the project. Now the Pakistani government appears to be backing away from the proposal. (Ars Technica, 3/21)

TURKEY: Two Investigative Journalists Threatened on Twitter
Reporters Without Borders is very disturbed by a message posted on Twitter on the night of 16 March about an alleged plot by the shadowy ultranationalist network Ergenekon to murder Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener, two investigative journalists who were released conditionally on 12 March after a year in detention. (Reporters Without Borders, 3/19),42153...

Anti-Piracy Group Shuts Down Pirate Bay Proxies
Hollywood-backed anti-piracy outfit BREIN is trying to stop the massive influx of Pirate Bay proxy sites that circumvent a court-ordered blockade in the Netherlands. The group obtained an injunction against one proxy and has threatened many others with legal action. While BREIN's efforts appear to have had some effect, the question is for how long. (Torrent Freak, 3/22)

Digital Media News Affecting Journalists and Activists

Social Media and Journalists
This is a presentation I gave to several groups of TV and print journalists in Singapore. Download the PPT to get the notes and the URLs (March 19-23, 2012). It's in four parts because it's long. (Teaching Online Journalism, 3/20)

Can Internet Commenting Be Saved?
Newsweek DailyBeast started a blog last week, Zion Square, dedicated to "a new conversation about the future of Israel, Palestine and The Jewish Future." It's a telling sign of the state of Internet commenting that this "conversation" doesn't include the ability for readers to leave comments. Peter Beinart, the respected journalist running Zion Square, essentially threw in the towel on Internet comments adding much to an important, contentious issue - at least until he can find staff to moderate them. (Digiday, 3/20)

How to Find Data
This post is for people who are new to data sourcing, or interested in Data Journalism but unsure of where to begin. (Data Journalism Blog, 3/22)

State of the News Media: Newspapers Need Initiative, Innovation and Investment
When I saw that the media industry's annual report card had been released late Sunday night, I clicked and scanned through the key findings for newspapers -- the industry that has been my daily passion since I fell in love with journalism at my high school paper. (PBS Mediashift, 3/22)

Update on Digital Media Companies and Outlets

Our Social Media Amnesia
It began with a hashtag - #fitn. On the eve of January's Republican presidential primary, it seemed that every member of the political press, election observer, and New Hampshirite had adopted #fitn as a sort of quasi-official tag. It was a reference to "First in the Nation," a long-used political phrase that dates back to the 1920s. As I watched those tweets fly by, it struck me how ubiquitous its shorthand version had become online. Where did the hashtag come from? Who first injected it into the tweet stream? Twitter's internal search engine, as it turns out, only goes back so far. I fired up, by general consensus the best tweet search tool going today. But I hit the outer limits of Topsy's archive far before I uncovered my proto-tweet. I asked Twitter HQ. No go. A smallish company, it lacks the resources, they said, to track a hashtag back to its starting point. (Reuters, 3/21)

Why Twitter Will Get More Annoying
Happy sixth birthday, Twitter! You're the service which started off as a way for groups of friends to keep in touch with each other via text messages, and you've grown into a revolutionary platform for connecting and sharing with millions of people around the world.
And you've become more annoying, too. (Columbia Journalism Review, 3/21)

Digital Media in the Middle East

BBC Produces Film on Role of Electronic Media in Arab Uprisings
BBC Arabic announced on Saturday that it has produced a documentary film featuring the role of new media and social networking sites in fueling the uprisings in the Arab world. (Egypt Independent, 3/21)

How U.S. Sanctions Hurt Iranian Internet Activists

In 1997, President Clinton signed an executive order creating an electronic embargo against Iran. It's still in effect today -- and causing headaches and hassles for Internet companies. (CNet, 3/21)

"Net Freedom" for Iranians, Not Syrians
On March 20, to coincide with the Iranian holiday of Nowruz, President Obama recorded a video message in which he offered assistance to the Iranian people in communicating beyond Iran's borders. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, 3/21)

The Arab Spring and the Impact of Social Media
The whole world watched the events in the Middle East and North Africa a year ago with feelings of inspiration, fascination and awe - awe at the power of digital technology, at our ability almost to be part of it and to watch it in real time thanks to the power of today's media, and above all awe at the courage and bravery of the individuals who inspired the Arab Spring, powered it, and died in its name. (Albany Associates, 3/23)

SYRIA: Citizen-Journalism Network Takes On The Syrian Regime
If you want a good example of the power of citizen journalism, then look no further than the Deir Press Network (DPN). Started one year ago in the eastern Syrian town of Deir el-Zour, DPN was the brainchild of a doctor and his cousin who lived in the United Kingdom. In a fascinating interview in "Guernica" magazine, the two founders, Kareem and Ahmed (not their real names), discuss how they smuggled out footage and fought off cyberattacks from the pro-regime Syrian Electronic Army. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 3/20)

SYRIA: Syrian Activists Targeted by Fake YouTube
Syrian activists are being targeted by a fake version of Google's YouTube video site which plants malware on the PCs of people who leave comments on videos shown there, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has warned. (The Guardian, 3/20)

Europe Update

Digital Skills Shortage Leaves EU Youth a Step Behind
European policy makers have identified a large shortfall in computing and IT skills among young people that threatens to dent Europe's ability to compete and could exacerbate youth unemployment in the coming decade. (Reuters, 3/21)

EU Commission Admits Mistake on ACTA

The European Commission has said it was surprised by the scale of opposition to a global anti-counterfeit treaty, having underestimated the power of social media to mobilise protesters. (EU Observer, 3/21)

ACTA On Hold, But The Protests Continue In Serbia
One reason the European Commission decided to refer ACTA to the European Court of Justice may have been in the hope that people would simply get bored and move on. It's certainly true that the cities of Europe aren't full of protesters as they were a couple of months ago, but that doesn't mean that everything has died down completely. Here, for example, is one country whose population still has strong feelings on the matter. (Techdirt, 3/23)

SERBIA: Social Media Communication Hub Developed for Serbian Journalists and Human Rights Activists
A new media communications hub is being formed in Belgrade, Serbia using social media networks to bring together journalists, human rights workers and media managers. (Media Helping Media, 3/9)

Mali Coup

MALI: With Coup, Quiet #Mali Generates Noise on Twitter
Yesterday, while reporting on breaking news in Mali from studios in Atlanta, CNN Wire Newsdesk Editor Faith Karimi made an ominous observation that presaged the outcome of developments unfolding 5,000 miles away. "#Mali president @PresidenceMali has not tweeted in 10 hours after reports of gunfire and a coup attempt," she tweeted. (Committee to Protect Journalists, 3/23)

MALI: Online Resources to Monitor Mali Coup Events
(including YouTube video from state television)
By now, word is out that Malian army officers toppled President Amadou Toure's government and suspended the constitution over the state's handling of a Touareg rebellion in northern Mali. Something seemed amiss when the official Twitter account of Amadou Touré, the Malian President, denied a coup attempt and then went silent after days of consistent Tweets. (USAID, 3/23)

MALI: Citizens Stunned by Sudden Military Coup
Renegade soldiers have announced that they are seizing power in Mali, after taking over the state television building and presidential palace. They say President Amadou Toumani Touré's government failed to adequately support their troops in an increasingly violent struggle with Tuareg rebels in the north of the country who threaten to seek secession from Mali. Many citizens are perplexed as to why a coup is being staged so soon ahead of already scheduled elections on April 29, 2012, and there are many theories. (Global Voices, 3/22)

Around the Blogosphere

Social Digital Series: Digital by Default - Excluded by Default?
It's time for a rethink. Policies and initiatives that take digital by default as a starting point ignore the complexity of the field they manoeuvre in. Worse, they lead to a real danger that a large part of the population will become digitally excluded by default. That should not be acceptable in a country that wants to be Europe's information society frontrunner, says LSE's Ellen Helsper. (London School of Economics, 3/21)

The Problem of Online Anonymity
In principle, I don't have any problem at all with people who write anonymously or pseudonymously. But in practice I find it incredibly troubling. (Running Chicken, 3/22)

Meeting the Geeks of Arabia at N2Vlabs Talks in Amman, Jordan
I'm looking out my hotel window at the Dead Sea in Jordan. During the next two days, I will be facilitating a two-day social media bootcamp for NGOs from Jordan and Lebanon that have been through the E-Mediat program in their respective countries. (Beth Kanter, 3/19)


Social Media Is about Social Science Not Technology
n 2007, I wrote an article entitled, "Social Media is About Sociology Not Technology." It's a statement that after five years, I thankfully continue to see shared every day on Twitter. As time passed and experience matured, I amended that statement to now read, "Social media is about social science not technology." Why did I change such a powerful statement? I believe that it is not only stronger now, it is also truer. (Brian Solis, 3/23)

Hillary Clinton's 'Tech Guru' on How Social Networks Are Forcing "A Massive Shift in Power"

Fresh from celebrating its sixth birthday yesterday, Twitter has been praised as a prominent social network that is bringing a cosmic shift to the world, according to Alec Ross, the US government's Senior Advisor for Innovation. (The Next Web, 3/22)


Censorship and Deletion Practices in Chinese Social Media
With Twitter and Facebook blocked in China, the stream of information from Chinese domestic social media provides a case study of social media behavior under the influence of active censorship. While much work has looked at efforts to prevent access to information in China (including IP blocking of foreign Web sites or search engine filtering), we present here the first large-scale analysis of political content censorship in social media, i.e., the active deletion of messages published by individuals. (First Monday, March 2012)

Mapping Russian Twitter

Drawing from a corpus of over 50 million Russian-language tweets collected between March 2010 and March 2011, we created a network map of 10,285 users comprising the 'discussion core,' and clustered them based on a combination of network features. The resulting segmentation revealed key online constituencies active in Russian Twitter. (Berkman Center for Internet and Society, March 2012)