Digital Media Mash Up, September - Week 5

In this Issue

Upcoming Events - In Washington, D.C.
In the News:


Upcoming Events - In Washington, D.C.

Challenges for Independent Media in Post-Gaddafi Libya
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Fadel Lamen, American-Libyan Council; Jamal Dajani, Internews; Adam Kaplan, USAID
About: Join us for a panel discussion on prospects for independent media in Libya after the February 17 revolution. In Freedom House's Freedom of the Press index for 2011, only two states-Turkmenistan and North Korea-ranked below Libya out of 196 countries. The survey noted that print and broadcast media in Libya were among the most tightly controlled in the world. The uprising has created a major shift in Libyan politics and society, with a proliferation of news outlets in print, broadcast, and digital media. These initiatives, however, are nascent, fluid, and operating in an extremely high-pressure environment. What transitional structures have taken shape in rebel-held areas, and how are they laying the foundation for institutional frameworks for media? Where are the greatest limitations and gaps in capacity? What happens to the revolutionary media when the revolution is over? The panelists will address these questions and identify the most pressing needs and challenges for Libya's emerging media.
Location: Center for International Media Assistance
National Endowment for Democracy
1025 F Street NW Suite 800
Washington, DC 20004

In the News

Global Censorship Update

Al-Jazeera Reporter Released from Israeli Prison after Plea Bargain
An Al-Jazeera journalist imprisoned by Israel was released under a plea bargain Monday, after he acknowledged having contact with the Islamic militant group Hamas, his attorney said. (Washington Post, 9/26)

China Mulls Reforms to Tighten Grip on Media, Web
China's top leaders are considering "cultural reforms," state media reported, which analysts said would be aimed at boosting official control over the media and Internet to shape public opinion. (Montreal Gazette, 9/27)

Security in Civilian Clothes Raid Office of Al Jazeera Egypt, Confiscate Equipment
For the second time this month, Egyptian security officials in civilian clothes raided the Cairo office of Al Jazeera Live Egypt, part of the Qatar-based broadcaster's network, roughing up its staff, detaining an editor and confiscating equipment, the news chief said Thursday. (Washington Post, 9/29)

Digital Media News Affecting Activists

Fear of Repression Spurs Scholars and Activists to Build Alternate Internets
Computer networks proved their organizing power during the recent uprisings in the Middle East, in which Facebook pages amplified street protests that toppled dictators. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 9/18)

China Cancels Dog Meat Festival after Tens of Thousands Complain Online
A 6-century-old Chinese tradition of dog eating collided this week with modern concepts about animal rights, and this time, modernity won. (McClatchy-Tribune, 9/23)

Wael Ghonim in the Running for Nobel Peace Prize
The Arab Spring, which has displaced regimes in the Middle East and North Africa, will dominate this year's Nobel Peace Prize, the International Peace Research Institute said. (Al Masry Al Youm, 9/26)

Do Networks Transform the Democratic Political Process?
Nicholas Kulish has a New York Times front-pager on the rise of networked protest movements in consolidated democracies like India, Israel, and Greece. (Foreign Policy, 9/28)

Real Time LRA Crisis Map Tracks Mass Atrocities in Central Africa
My colleagues at Resolve and Invisible Children have just launched their very impressive Crisis Map of LRA Attacks in Central Africa. The LRA, or Lord's Resistance Army, is a brutal rebel group responsible for widespread mass atrocities, most of which go completely unreported because the killings and kidnappings happen in remote areas. The LRA Crisis Tracker is an important milestone for the fields of crisis mapping and early warning. (iRevolution, 9/29)

Update on Digital Media Companies and Outlets

Which Social Network Do You Use the Most?
In the past decade, the surest way to start a fight in the tech world was to write a negative story about a Mac product. You'd bring in comments from Mac lovers calling you a heretic, while Mac haters would consider you a hero. (PBS MediaShift, 9/23)

In Turn to Politics, Facebook Starts a PAC
Facebook wants more friends. And it is willing to pay for them. (New York Times, 9/26)

Angry Reaction To Spotify's New Facebook ID Requirement
For months various digital music services have been jealous of the close link that appeared to be developing between Facebook and Spotify, the European company whose cloud music player finally arrived in the United States in July. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, was a vocal fan of Spotify, and when the social media giant announced a string of new features on Thursday, Daniel Ek, Spotify's chief, was right there on stage with him. (New York Times, 9/26)

Privacy Advocates Oppose Facebook Changes
Users and privacy advocates have reservations about Facebook's planned redesign, the way the change will affect third-party apps and the network's general approach to privacy. (Washington Post, 9/26)

Facebook Launches Program to Help Small Businesses With Their Pages and Ads
Facebook is launching a small business education program this week, looking to show businesses how to optimize their individual pages and to use its self-serve ad platform to effectively target customers. (AdAge Digital, 9/26)

Google Challenges Defamation Suit in Germany
Google Inc. is challenging a suit in Germany's top civil court over claims the world's largest search engine company is liable for a defamatory statement in a posting on its website. (Washington Post, 9/27)

ipoque Launches Internet Observatory
ipoque, the leading European provider of Internet traffic management solutions, today announced the launch of its Internet Observatory - the Internet's new spot for real-time Internet traffic statistics from all over the world. (ipoque, 9/28)

Twitter Tweets Our Emotional States
A new study in the journal Science examined the contents of more than 500 million tweets sent in 84 countries over two years, looking for signs of good moods and bad. It found what a lot of us could tell by looking at our own lives. (Washington Post, 9/28)

Will Microsoft Own Crowdsourcing?
The patent application has a simple title: Crowdsourcing.
Filed on May 18, 2009, the application is assigned to Microsoft and claims a "computer-implemented" crowdsourcing method. The claims seem very broad. Folks have noticed that Facebook has a pending application for crowdsourced translations. But Microsoft's application for crowdsourcing itself has, at least so far, slipped under the radar. (Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society, 9/29)

Twitter Forecast: Ad Revenues Will Surge, To Reach $400M By 2013: eMarketer
Long criticized for its immature ad strategy, Twitter is expected to rapidly expand ad revenues in 2011 and beyond, according to a new forecast from eMarketer. (MediaPost, 9/29)

Is it Google's Job to Somehow Improve the Media?
As most media watchers know by now, the industry is going through an unprecedented upheaval, with newspapers in particular being disrupted by the shift to digital and what Om has called the "democracy of distribution" created by real-time social tools like blogs and Twitter, which make anyone into a publisher. (GigaOM, 9/29)

Digital Media in the Middle East

Google Announces Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Project
Later this week, the Jewish High Holidays begin with Rosh Hashanah, which marks the beginning of the new year. It seems like good timing for Google's announcement that the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls project is up and running. (New York Times, 9/26)

Algerian Activists Struggle Amid Confusion on Social Networks
So far, the popular uprisings that ousted authoritarian leaders in Tunisia and Libya have not spread to Algeria, which lies just to the west of both countries but has so far remained a large area of relative calm for most of the revolutionary Arab spring, summer and fall. (New York Times, 9/26)

Activists Take Battle for Syria Online
Away from the sniper fire and daily violence on the streets of cities across Syria, another battle is simmering between supporters and opponents of the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
This fight is taking place not on the streets, but in the homes of online activists determined to silence the opposing side. (Al-Jazeera, 9/26)

Syria Wages Cyber Warfare as Websites Hacked
While Syrian protesters and security forces are engaged in a war of attrition on the ground, a different kind of battle is emerging online.
Pro- and anti-government activists in Syria are increasingly turning to the Internet, hacking and defacing websites in an attempt to win a public relations victory. (Daily Star, 9/28)

Activists State Surprise Protest against Emergency Law in Egypt
Hundreds of activists staged a surprise march from Shubra to downtown Cairo Tuesday against the broadening of Egypt's long-standing Emergency Law. Organizers circulated a Facebook invitation calling for surprise protests ahead of demonstrations planned for 30 September under the slogan "Reclaiming the Revolution." (Al Masry Al Youm, 9/28)

Al-Jazeera's 'Ideological Warfare' Reflects Arab Spring's Tensions?
Al-Jazeera's political orientation has changed since the mid-2000s when its owner, the Emir of Qatar, and "allowed the network to carry anti-authoritarian voices." During the Arab Spring, the station acquired a reputation for promoting change through its broadcasts of the street protests in Egypt and Tunisia, although critics noted notably weaker coverage of unrest in Bahrain and Yemen, its owners' neighbors and allies. (Democracy Digest, 9/28)

What Wadah Khanfar Did For Al Jazeera...
From the very first moment I joined Al Jazeera in 2005 to lead the launch of the English channel's Washington broadcast center, there was talk of the imminent demise of Wadah Khanfar, the managing director of Al Jazeera Arabic. But until last week, when Khanfar abruptly announced his resignation, it seemed that the stronger the rumors were, the higher he climbed. (Columbia Journalism Review, 9/28)

All Aboard: Google Bus Seeks Start-Up Idea
A bus branded with the Google logo will be traveling across 10 governorates in Egypt starting this week, including stops at universities in Cairo and Alexandria, scouting for the next generation of technology entrepreneurs with homegrown ideas on the scale of Facebook or LinkedIn. (New York Times, 9/29)

Arab Spring Helps Livestation to Grow Audience Tenfold
U.K.-based live video news platform Livestation has seen its number of unique visitors grow close to tenfold, thanks in part to the popularity of Al-Jazeera's coverage of the Arab Spring. That's great news for the video startup and the networks it's carrying, but it also makes one wonder how much other news networks are missing out by not making their programming freely available online. (New York Times, 9/29)

Hacking News

Venezuelan Hackers Intimidate Reporters
The International Press Institute is concerned about the recent hacking of journalists' and news outlets' Twitter accounts, both in Venezuela and in the United States. (International Press Institute, 9/22)

Hackers Strike Again: USA Today's Twitter Account Attacked
Just two weeks after NBC News' Twitter account was hacked, on Sunday the Twitter feed of USA Today was taken over by a group sending out false messages asking users to vote on which Twitter account should be targeted for attack next, reported CNET News. (Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, 9/26)

Digital Media in Health Services

Digitizing Uganda's Health Services: UNICEF Uganda's New Mobile Programs
The Ugandan Ministry of Health has launched an initiative to digitize the country's health management systems. Because mobile technology can be the fastest, cheapest means of collecting and analyzing data, especially in rural areas, the Minstry is embracing mobile technology to create a seamless system of health management and early warning techniques across the country. The Ugandan UNICEF country office has developed projects to work with the Ministry's goal of digitizing the health systems. mTrac and Community Vulnerability Surveillance are two new projects that use SMS to gather and disseminate data and news, with a focus on health and public services. (Mobile Active, 9/26)

HealthTap's Social Network of 5,000 Doctors Is Ready to Give Free Advice
It's fair to raise an eyebrow when a social network for healthcare comes along, but this network just might make you raise both eyebrows in surprise: HealthTap has created a healthcare social network with more than 5,000 real-live doctors to answer patient questions. Not peers, not "experts" and not brands. Health questions aren't posted for the world to see or comment on. This is a private network between a patient and thousands of doctors. (New York Times, 9/26)

Lessons From Britain's Health Information Technology Fiasco
Government press releases tend to be bland, earnest blather. But not one posted on the British Department of Health's Web site last Thursday. Its headline: "Dismantling the NHS National Programme for IT." (New York Times, 9/27)

Digital Media for Journalists

How to Verify Social Media Content: Some Tips and Tricks on Information Forensics
I get this question all the time: "How do you verify social media data?" This question drives many of the conversations on crowdsourcing and crisis mapping these days. (6/21, iRevolution)

What Facebook's Latest Updates Mean for Journalists
Facebook has released several updates in the last month that will affect how journalists use the platform for reporting and storytelling. Many of these new features will make it easier for journalists to distribute their content and keep up with sources of information. (Nieman Journalism Lab 9/26)

Why We Need to Separate our Stories from our Storytelling Tools
Edward R. Murrow was a pioneer in television who has shaped the way we tell stories in that medium for over 60 years. He has been immortalized in film and even has a J-school named in his honor. But Murrow's career began not in TV, where he is most celebrated, but in radio, where he cut his teeth as a war correspondent, broadcasting live from the rooftops as the Blitz rained down on London. Throughout his years in television, Murrow applied the journalistic principles he'd honed through experience to the new medium of sound, pictures, and, eventually, color. You'll see his legacy in any HD television newscast today. (Nieman Journalism Lab, 9/29)

Mobile News

Indian Regulator Sets 100-Text Limit to Curb Mobile-Marketing Nuisance
Mobile phone users in India have been banned from sending more than 100 text messages a day as part of a clampdown on nuisance telemarketing in the subcontinent. (Guardian, 9/27)

Yamgo Launches RT on Mobile Devices
RT, the Russian English-language news channel, has launched on mobile TV network Yamgo. The round the clock live news channel will be available globally on Smartphones, iPad and Tablets devices. (Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 9/28)


iPads the Gateway Drug for College Data Usage
Data is in demand on college campuses, and it's putting a strain on shared school networks. The iPad is partly to blame, according to University of Missouri-Columbia IT director Terry Robb, but it's mostly acting as a gateway drug for the real culprit: online video.(New York Times, 9/26)

El Salvador: Digital Newspaper Publishes Wikileaks Cables
"Almost 100 US State Department cables from the US Embassy in San Salvador have now been published on the website of El Faro. The collection of cables from WikiLeaks offers a behind-the-scenes look at US diplomacy and assessment of its tiny ally in Central America. Most of the cables come from the time of the administration of Tony Saca, but there are some more recent cables during the Funes administration"-Tim reports in Tim's El Salvador Blog. (Global Voices Online, 9/26)

The BBC Wants to Be Your Online Tivo
The BBC launched a prototype for a new form of electronic programming guide (EPG) today that replaces the traditional grid with automatically updated wish lists. That will allow users to organize their favorite TV and radio shows in the same way a TiVo handles subscriptions to TV shows. (New York Times, 9/27)

In China, Business Travelers Take Extreme Precautions to Avoid Cyber-Espionage
Packing for business in China? Bring your passport and business cards, but maybe not that laptop loaded with contacts and corporate memos. China's massive market beckons to American businesses - the nation is the United States' second-largest trading partner - but many are increasingly concerned about working amid electronic surveillance that is sophisticated and pervasive. (New York Times, 9/27)

Can Russia's Social Media Forces Push the Putin Regime?
The latest political news from Russia has President Dimitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin swapping jobs again next year with the aim of sustaining Putin's personal power structure for perhaps another dozen years. In principle, Russians could reject this arrangement when they go to the polls in March 2012 to elect a new president, but it appears that Putin is still popular enough to get what he wants. (AudienceScapes, 9/27)

Instead of Waiting for Storm Aid, Going Online in a Do-It-Yourself Movement
For Rob Hastings, it began when a fellow farmer offered him a pig. With his 185-acre Rivermede Farm in the Adirondacks torn apart by the floodwaters of Tropical Storm Irene and his fall crop destroyed, on top of record flooding in April, the pig led to an idea borne of desperation. Why not hold a fund-raising dinner at his farm, which needed an instant infusion of funds for fixing fences to keep out deer, repairing a collapsed greenhouse and his maple sugaring equipment, and preparing for next year before the snows set in? (New York Times, 9/28)

Do Networks Transform the Democratic Political Process?
What happens when the coalition of like-minded individuals stop being of like mind? These sorts of protests can be very powerful on single-issue questions where a single policy change is desired. Maintaining this level of activism to affect the ongoing quotidian grubbiness of politics, however, is a far more difficult undertaking. Even if people can be mobilized behind the concept of "Policy X is Stupid!" getting the same consensus on "Policy Y is the Answer!" is harder. Over time, these kind of mass movements have an excellent chance of withering away or fracturing from within. See, for example, the Tahrir Square movement in Egypt. (Foreign Policy, 9/28)

The Onion's Twitter Posts Draw Scrutiny
The United States Capitol Police on Thursday said they were investigating The Onion, a satiric media organization, for making false reports on Twitter claiming that there was a hostage situation inside the Capitol building. (New York Times, 9/29)

Inside the SuperNAP and Its High Tech Clouds
Buried amid a collection of warehouses and manufacturing facilities in southeast Las Vegas is the SuperNAP, Switch Communications' massive data center. You might have heard of it before because of its military-grade security, its huge footprint, and roots as Enron's attempt to build a bandwidth exchange. But the cutting-edge facility is also home to some very interesting customers. (GigaOM, 9/29)


News on the Go: How Mobile Devices Are Changing the World's Information Ecosystem
Mobile devices now reach the farthest corners of the world. By the end of 2011, about 5 billion mobile phones will be in service in a world with 7 billion people. The implications-for politics, for education, for economies, for civil society, and for news and information-are profound. News on the Go: How Mobile Devices Are Changing the World's Information Ecosystem examines how a global information society might look with mobile media devices at its hub. (Center for International Media Assistance, September 2011)

Mapping Digital Media: The Media and Liability for Content on the Internet
This paper provides an overview of content liability on the internet, with a focus on the risks to human rights as governments claim extended authority over this unique, borderless medium. Speakers may be liable for content online in many of the same ways as offline, but additional rules often exist. Many countries are enacting internet-specific speech laws, often imposing enhanced liability for online expression. In addition, some governments are extending broadcast-type regulations to online media, which could create new sources of liability. (Open Society Foundation, September 2011)

Account Deactivation and Content Removal: Guiding Principles and Practices for Companies and Users
From the role of Facebook during protests in the Middle East and North Africa,1 to the use of YouTube, Twitter, and other tools in the wake of earthquakes in Haiti and Japan and the wildfires in Russia,2 platforms that host user-generated content (UGC) are increasingly being used by a range of civic actors in innovative ways: to amplify their voices, organize campaigns and emergency services, and advocate around issues of common concern. (The Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Center for Democracy & Technology, September 2011)