The minutes are from an open session during the internal days of the Global Voices Summit (8 May 2010). The session was about the role of Global Voices in conflict prevention and resolution, and includes a proposal for future activity.
Notes by: Vilhelm Konnander with Onnik Krikorian
Global Voices has a great potential as a facilitator but not as an actor in terms of citizen media as a tool for conflict prevention and resolution. Experiences from reporting on evolving, ongoing, and post-conflict situations are manifold, portraying a frequently more nuanced picture as well as alternative and on-the-ground perspectives from these and similar situations. However, lessons learnt still lack in documentation, why there is a hazard in lack of institutional memory.
Global Voices’ role is not as actor, and awareness of this is fundamental in reporting and other activities. Principles of independence, objectivity, and neutrality. This is a matter not only for reporting but also in outreach and potential cooperation with external parties. Global Voices should not get hijacked by the agendas of parties to a conflict or organizations engaged in conflict prevention and resolution. Thus, Global Voices may aim to contribute to conflict understanding, as well as to cover conflict once mainstream media has lost interest.
The rising role of citizen media in conflict is obvious and Global Voices possesses a unique position in disseminating trends and patterns, both in negative terms in exacerbating conflict and in positive as a tool for conflict prevention and resolution, the latter not least in raising awareness and spreading correct information. Contributing to a higher degree of objectivity and neutrality in reporting on conflicts may break down mental barriers, misperceptions, and prejudice. Once cooperation and dialogue start, opposed positions may be put aside. Bringing citizen media activists from opposing sides together may be a nucleus for change by increasing the scope for mutual communication. Especially in long-term conflicts, people may have lost sight of the reasons for conflict, providing an opportunity to open up discussions on the situation.
Information exchange and understanding should be in focus. Anger and disinformation must be confronted by facts and reasoning. The more voices that are represented, the greater is the potential for explaining and disseminating the reasons for conflict that may enable people to make informed decisions in the direction of conflict resolution.
Forming an agenda to address activities in relation to conflict would be of benefit to Global Voices to get a knowledge-base in order to facilitate our activities within the field and to avoid reiterating previous mistakes. A first step in this direction could be to collect lessons learnt from previous experiences. Examples of constructive output and internal cooperation are inter alia the 2008 Russo-Georgian conflict and bridge-building in the Caucasus, not least in relation to Armenia and Azerbaijan. A more precarious example may be found in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where positions at times have been so entrenched and perceptions predisposed to the point that they even impede internal cooperation.
To resolve such situations, a position of war and conflict editor may be considered, to whom editors and authors could turn for advice, and who could create structures necessary for dealing with conflict reporting. A first step in assisting editors and authors in their work could be to elaborate a special code, e.g. in terms of general or advisory guidelines for activities related to war and conflict, not least on the basis of previous experiences and dissemination of lessons learned. This also applies to Lingua, as the use of certain terms and definitions during conflict often tend to signal partisanship. As translation is voluntary, this may also lead to a skewed representation to what languages posts are translated, potentially resulting in unbalance between various Lingua sites.
[Onnik: My work on Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict as well as that covered on Global Voices Online’s Caucasus section has been particularly noticed by civil society organizations working such as the Model Caucasus Parliament and Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation who are now using new and social media tools in their work as well as those bloggers particularly from Azerbaijan who were first popularized through GV. BBC Azeri Service has also followed and covered the potential for using new/social media in conflict transformation as a result and other organizations such as Oxfam have also written on that example set which has also included joint presentations]
There is a growing need for direction on an editorial level and to widen the scope of contributors among the parties to a conflict, as this lack of varied representation tends to pose a dilemma for editors and authors. Variety in character and longevity of conflict is one matter to be considered if elaborating guidelines. Standards for dealing with conflict reporting, by way of codes of conduct, should however not be implicit censorship. Both editors and authors need initiated knowledge. Lack of knowledge and basic facts of not least small countries in conflict may be addressed in a variety of ways. One option is to communicate with local activists in citizen media in fact-finding, not least as for the background of conflict, with due consideration of taking the positions of both parties to conflict into consideration.
Another approach is to link to Wikipedia or mainstream media for basic background facts. A third alternative is to do our own background texts, e.g. as part of special coverage as was the case with coverage of the Russo-Georgian conflict. This is to be considered on a case-by-case basis. A basic question is how we get the facts to reign over rumors. Could citizen media draw attention to larger disinformation campaign and expose stereotypes? To what extent may citizen media counter disinformation? Realizing that there is no such thing as completely neutral representation in conflict, there is a need to reach out to both parties to a conflict to present their respective stories. An open question if whether or not to cover both peacemakers and war-mongers? As for the latter, what are the root causes for non-conciliatory bloggers? Another question is if Global Voices could cover the voices of refugees better, e.g. by way of Rising Voices?
[Onnik: One ethnic Azeri refugee who fled Armenia at the age of 4 in the early 1990s has contacted me after posts from Global Voices Online’s Caucasus section were presented as part of her course in conflict transformation/resolution at the School for International Studies. It is hoped that she will soon start blogging, possibly as an author for GV. There are other developments linked to GV’s Caucasus coverage too.]
The overall need for a proactive approach in Global Voices’ conflict reporting seems evident. Based on experiences and lessons learnt, there is both a need for improved internal work-methods as a great potential to develop projects addressing the role of citizen media for conflict resolution in an external context. The role of media in conflict zones is already well covered, but as for citizen media there is a lack of insight and competence. There are ongoing projects addressing these issues. However, Global Voices has a unique competence and expertise within this area that could be further developed. There would thus be funders willing to finance Global Voices in such projects. As described above, a starting point would be to draw up a few lines to structure how guidelines for new media in conflict resolution might look like, increasing awareness of how we should focus the work of Global Voices within this field. In addition to internal usage, this could possibly provide initial suggestions for planning a potential pilot project. To summarize, a structured approach could serve as a starting-point to filling the gap in understanding the role of citizen media in conflict resolution.]]>
Led by Elia Varela Serra and with the participation of Ruben Hilari of the project Jaqi Aru.
The main focus of the small breakout session was to explore the ways that internet has helped promote the uses of indigenous languages in countries where these languages have not had much presence online.
Ruben begins by saying that Aymara is not a new language, but perhaps it is a new language online. Aymara has about 5,000,000 speakers around the world and speakers of this language can be found concentrated in South America, mostly in Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and Argentina.
The goal of the Jaqi Aru project is to increase the presence of Aymara on the internet through 5 main activities, one of which is translations for the Lingua project site Global Voices in Aymara. Volunteers have been translating articles from Global Voices in Spanish for the past 7 months. In addition, the group has a collective blog site, uses web 2.0 tools like Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube, has been learning to subtitle videos on the platform DotSub, and has been starting to participate in the Wikipedia in Aymara community.
This is important for young people and when they look for information. They don't find a lot of information in Aymara and to make it available online. In addition, working with Wikipedia in Aymara may make it easier for people in the rural parts of the country access information in their own language through the use of offline capabilities.
Even though Aymara does not have a formal academy to make decisions on official translations for words that did not officially exist, the work of Jaqi Aru has helped put forth ‘proposals' on what certain terms may be. In addition, there are groups across the region that are putting together dictionaries for terms, such as computer-related words, through a series of discussions and consensus-building.
One question from the audience was “What is the current state of online resources in Aymara?”
There are some sites online that discuss about Aymara culture, such as the site created at the BiblioRedes library in Northern Chile by Luis Carvajal, Wikipedia in Aymara, and other blogs, but there is still not a massive presence. Many who read/write in Aymara can also read/write in Spanish, so that may be one of the reasons why there is not many sites strictly in Aymara.
Another question asked whether there are plans to use social networking sites to teach Aymara? There are a couple of posts on the blog with basics in Aymara, and there have been some ideas on to upload videos to YouTube teaching people how to speak basic phrases in Aymara, but nothing concrete as of yet.
Juan Casanuevas brought up the issue of how indigenous languages relate to the educational system, and provides his experiences in Mexico, where there are 64 indigenous languages. He is working on a project to teach multimedia production in indigenous communities, but there are challenges in this type of activity. For example, the language of Nahuatl, which has about 1,000,000 speakers has up to 6 or 7 ways of writing it. These indigenous languages do not have the same tools that other languages have. Spanish can be spell checked according to different countries.
These projects of digital media has been directed to a broader social inclusion, and some media centers have emerged in Mexico to promote the writing of Mayan languages. The topics have included gender issues and other development topics.
This has led to the younger generations who are bilingual, and even trilingual, of which they are become prouder and prouder. Something that is reflected in the experience of the Aymara in El Alto.
He also spoke about intercultural universities in many of these communities, which encourages college-aged children to not migrate to larger cities and remain at home. He provides the opinion that the NGO sector have not been that involved in education in indigenous languages, and that there have been cases that of them being very aid-based and at times paternalistic.
Another question: What are the Aymara young people writing about?
Most of the members of the Jaqi Aru project live in the city of El Alto, which is a city comprised of migrants from the Altiplano. Some have moved to the city as young adults, others as children, and still others were born in the city. However, everyone has relatives in their communities of origin. Often they return home for festivities or to visit relatives, and they often write about their communities. There are some amazing pictures taken by some of the members that tourists or other Bolivians do not have access to, and that is reflected in the group blog.
Elia Varela Serra spoke about her project Maneno, which in addition to localizing blog platforms, encourages individuals to blog in indigenous languages. The platform is available in Akan, Hausa, Igbo, Zulu, Lingala, and Luganda. Even though there are people in these small language communities, the internet has been an important space to help people to not feel ashamed of speaking them in public, even if there is not a standardized form.
In addition, it adds international recognition to see it online and it has even helped advance the standardization in some countries. There was an example of the being part of advancing the debate of the use of these languages in national education.
In Mali, a French/English teacher decided to promote the use of the Bambara language and there was not any other website in this language. Eventually he was able to secure a job in the Ministry of Education as part of their digital literacy initiative.
Karlo from the Philippines spoke about the experience in his country. There are no similar grassroots activities like this, but most are academic in nature and do not appear online. For example, there are 12 other major languages in the country and the languages of the indigenous people are usually marginalized.
He asked Ruben about the organization of the process and how to attract interest.
In the case of Jaqi Aru, Ruben and another team member Dora Romero started with a blogging project in El Alto. From there, they joined and invited other linguistics students in El Alto to be part of the project. The key is to find devoted people and passionate about their language.
Simon from the USA shared his thoughts about these issues in the Native American communities. For example, the larger indigenous languages have been supported on a federal level to promote the Navajo language. In World War II, the language was used as a military code to send messages securely.
There is an organization called Cultural Survival, which provides funds to organize and teach indigenous languages.
However, on some reservations economic situations like unemployment is very high and cultural aspects are not a priority.
There is an interactive map produced by UNESCO that states there are about 2,500 languages at risk]]>
Juan Arellano is the editor of Global Voices in Spanish. This post was originally published on Periodismo Ciudadano.
Cliquee acá para acceder al texto en español
It is likely that you, dear reader, know about Global Voices. Accessing GV is easy, you can do it via the url globalvoicesonline.org or if you prefer to read us in Spanish via es.globalvoicesonline.org. But Global Voices is more than a website, it is also a vibrant online community of volunteers with diverse interests and backgrounds: bloggers, translators, entrepreneurs, activists, geeks, and others who love what they do and especially enjoy getting together whenever they can. This brief opportunity to meet face to face happens only once every two years during the Global Voices Summit, and during those few magical days the GV community members sleep very little and instead spend their time talking over drinks or coffee and logically connected to their laptops, netbooks and / or cellphones, sometimes to more than one of these gadgets at a time.
Those who are not part of GV and attend these meetings have witnessed the previously mentioned dynamics, yet are simply left guessing how this little babel of languages, ideas and purposes is managed without losing its ‘vision' in a great sea of differing perspectives. Andrew of Engage Media touches on this in his recent article about the Global Voices Summit held in Santiago, Chile between May 6th and 9th. “The summit was impressive in demonstrating how well Global Voices has been at building a large online community” and also says: “I'm still learning how governance happens at Global Voices, and would love to have been a fly on the wall at the two days of internal meetings that happened after the conference.
Well Andrew, I would tell you … but Ethan Zuckerman, a co-founder of Global Voices has written a post that has much to do with this and other topics as well: Global Voices: Love and money. In his post Ethan says that in his view the theme of the GV Summit was “Love or money?” Referring to the problem of multilingual internet, how to face it, how GV is a pioneer in this, and the paradoxes that arise when thinking about whether it's even economically feasible: “It takes thousands of people to produce the content that shows up in a month’s worth of Global Voices stories, and only a couple dozen are compensated fiscally. … But most of the compensation is in love, not money. People work on Global Voices because it’s a chance to represent their community to the wider world … They do it because they’ve fallen in love with the mission, or the people behind the project, or the joy of doing something more meaningful than what they do every day at work.”
This is not the only thing that Ethan says, he sets forth a practical example of how decisions are made within GV: “I’d been interested in the idea of GV launching a translation service because I thought it would provide opportunities for our talented and undercompensated translators to make money using their skills. Several translators pushed back against the idea – they translate for GV because they’re fascinated by the content, because they enjoy choosing what they work on, because they’re able to take the time to do a careful, thorough, loving job. Adding money to that equation could – would? – break what works.”
Ethan continues by mentioning the case of GV in Italian which negotiated a deal with a local newspaper to publish content from GV. “I was thrilled to hear about this deal” However: “Other members of the community disagreed. By offering our content to newspapers, aren’t we just letting papers lay off more staff who’d be dedicated towards international coverage? Is it fair for an organization that runs on money to rely on content produced by an organization that runs mostly on love? Excellent questions. GV chose the most liberal of Creative Commons licenses – because we wanted other media outlets to have as few barriers to entry as possible if they wanted to use our content.”
“Was that the right decision? I don’t know. The closer I look at Global Voices through the lens of love and money, the more I realize I don’t know.” Ethan compares this sense of confusion with that which he has in front of his car, he lifts the hood, does not understand how it works, and feels reluctant to touch anything. “Is there an organizational physics of love and money that could be discovered and documented? Or are love and money quantum effects, where experimentation and observation are bound to change the underlying phenomena? So much I don’t understand. And so I close the lid and pray it just keeps working…”
It may seem strange that one of the Global Voices' founders says he does not understand how his organization is being run. Certainly no one should know better, but I think Ethan is primarily referring to the internal dynamics of a community that can, and indeed have, led the organization on different paths than intended by its founders. The most striking example is Lingua. No one at GV planned that from the main English website would emerge 17 websites in different languages, with 12 more under different stages of development. This was an initiative of the GV community - and we should understand community here in the broadest sense of the word as it also includes web readers/users.
One of the most interesting, complex, difficult but rewarding discussions during our internal meetings was, guess which one? … The one about Lingua. We merely agreed that the same development scheme can't be applied to all Lingua teams. But aaahh… you should have seen the debate. The inventiveness, energy, passion displayed by each of the participants in those sessions were absolutely inspiring to me, and it made me tell myself the same as the good - and I hope now ‘not so confused' - Gaurav Mishra writes: “This is where you belong.” Ultimately, that is what a community is all about, isn't it?]]>
A workshop moderated by Bernardo Parella and Jeremy Clarke
Approx. 20 people attending, mostly from Lingua teams.
Issues being discussed :
- building a social translation platform
- creating multilingual content beside GV
Different meanings of social translation
- translation by community, vs individuals, people working together
- activism, getting involved
- sensibilities of various degrees
- as in Polish Lingua, collaborative work by teachers and students, doing different parts.
- be the person conveying news and amplifying information
- people from different backgrounds and places covering regions not covered
How can people from different countries be attracted to translating, and with what incentives ?
- For the Polish Lingua, there is a correlation between writing posts about Poland, the attractiveness for new translators and tackling new areas (for example, Middle East)
- Do Lingua sites prefer writing about their own country or about others ?
Which is better, one site with integrated translation or separated sites, in other words, one big site which would be unified except for translated items ? The antagonistic arguments are,
- on one side, a site defines itself by identity, best example : Lingua Aymara
- on the other side, collaborative translation on one piece; multilingual cooperation between journalists and translators outside GV
A model for collaboration ?
- there is no only model, because of all differences in languages, situations inside the countries, etc
- how to first find about individual situations
- sharing experiences between teams
- it would be so restrictive to try and unify the ways of working. Some sites feel alone, other ones have developed a sense of community feeling ;
- lack of general understanding of their language gives Lingua sites an autonomy of decision and makes the system smoother
- knowing what other Linguas are doing, building on Lingua experience to make some community model with specifics of each community
- GV as a pioneering model in the new world of information of today
incentives are needed
Translators are primarily attracted par GV in itself
relations between translators and authors
It is important that the translators tell the authors about their own questions. They should use more often the email the author function
Feedback from the authors is in great need good or bad. It is important to feel the translation editor cares about choosing titles, changing a word.
Session leader: Emily Jacobi from Digital Democracy, on Youth and experiences with integrating youth.
Notes were taken by Jules Rincón and second half by Sara Standish after laptop ran out of battery.
Sarah Standish, sharing and exchanging ideas online. Youth discussing health, environment, poverty, and youth are supposed to share ideas in forums and blogs, and their activities are some successful, some aren't. But the quality of interacting isn't that great, the quality of what they share is considered low, and it could be a language barrier, so they partnered with multilingual forum between Arabic and English (Meedan). But interaction level has gone up but not as much as they wanted, there are issues with plagiarism, students feel they have to publish, so they publish whatever comes to mind. She would like to know how to integrate youth.
Nishant in _Bangalore India: he works for the center for internet and society. They look at the potential for social transformation. they have hypotheses on why youth in development are apolitical.
Youth are reinventing ways in which to deal with politics. They are using other networks, other ways of mobilizing.
With internet there is a new aesthetic of playfulness and experimentation. So not all responses to crisis are going through the old ways of dealing with questions: forums, letters, open forums.
Young voices are mediated by adults who are “experts”. They don't want to talk to adults for them to publish books and youth never hear about them.
So they are finding ways to create spaces of interaction: policy, emotional or technological levels, but without adults mediating.
Marietta, Global Voices Hungary: in NGO working with young people. Youth don't interact with adults. She's interested in the experiences to find out if there is a way to interact with adults.
Emily is in youth journalism since she was 12. So between 10 and 18 she produced a weekly news article for the largest newspaper in her state. The US has a large history of youth media between youth for youth, but she worked with youth for adults. Many programs are by adults giving youth a bigger voice. So content has to change. She wants more youth voices in Citizen media.
Issa Villarreal: she is involved with several youth groups, with workshops to teach others digital online tools free of cost She's done it for 3 years. They also gave a rap workshop so that children could read more and learn about verses through hip-hop. She is involved in projects in the music scene, and has a news agency for the independent musicians, where they can share their music and get known. they review the music and write about them. And she is also involved in the graffitti scene, how they use new media to stay in touch.
Youth stay in touch through online tools, for graffiti and street art gatherings and interventions. they are very good at keeping their anonymity and keeping their security.
Sana Saleem from Pakistan wishes to hear success stories so that she can set up workshops back home so that the way youth is viewed can change.
Juhie Bhatia writes about health for GV, but also about women issues, but she is reaching people who are already involved in women's issues. She wants to involve younger women interested and involved through social media, but also to include stories on younger women.
Persephone Miel for Internews Network work with traditional media, but some with youth media. In the south Caucasus kids are trained to do TV, and they share content within 3 countries. It is adult driven.
Nishant: Youth have a different way of interacting with the realm of the political, even going on facebook can be a new way of political. Also young people are frustrated by the data collectors. Wants to create a peer-to-peer network where youth can create their own structures of interaction without mediation from outside researchers.
Marietta of GV Hungary: has been working with NGOs who are struggling with communicating with young people. Even if they have a FB or twitter account, it doesn’t work.
Emily: has been involved in youth journalism for a very long time bc she started when she was little in a youth journalism. They did “by youth for everyone” journalism, not “by youth for youth.” One thing special about the program she was part of was that youth lead it – youth make the main decisions, but with help of mentors.
Issa: involved in several informal youth projects. Each year they do workshops about teaching others for free how to use social media. Gave a rap workshop to involve children in reading more by teaching them hip-hop. Involved in projects related to the music scene in her city. They have a news agency for Indie bands. Her friend is teaching them how to record their music and put their albums on line. She is also interested in the graffiti scene in Mexico and how they use social media to get in contact with each other. Graffiti artists know how to preserve anonymity even better than adults.
Sana: looking for success stories.
Persephone: does some work with youth media, Some success stories, some less so. Some of the youth media e.g. in Caucasus are mostly adult-driven. Looking for more ideas.
Juliana: Convince that youth have voices, but not convinced that they want the world to hear them. Thinks that’s why there’s not much youth dialogue, because they have their secrets. They write and get published, but on Facebook, because there are less voices. Are we the ones who want to hear youth voices, and youth not the ones who want to share their voices? Should we wait for youth to come share their voices, not ask for them to share their voices with us?
Victor: Was involved in youth media at a time when few had mobile phones in Malawi. In past few years, he hasn’t worked in youth media anymore, but there is increasing youth of internet platforms by youth. He wants to see a project where he’s able to bridge different formats with a radio program. There is a local version of Facebook in Malawi. How can he utilize FB together with radio? He’s looking for some thoughts on how to bridge new and traditional media in that way.
Eman: She is a founder of a project in Arab countries for women to speak about their issues. For the first two years it was only in Egypt and the second two years were in other Arab countries as a whole. Her issues with youth: they lose enthusiasm very fast. It’s so hard to find people who are committed for long term, esp when it’s voluntary work.
Anne Nelson: Recent Pew study says that youth are spending an average of 6 hours per day wired, she’s very concerned about this and thinks they’re losing other skills when they do too much online. Has two children in college that leads her to be concerned about this.
Moderator’s Qs: When youth lose enthusiasm in a project, is that a bad thing?
Juliana: When she was a teen and involved in projects, she didn’t stick around—understand not being focused. For young people, being committed for a year is a very long time. Thinks having a definite starting and ending point helps with this. When something has a definite short cycle, it feels less daunting to join.
Nishant: Agrees: says that when he only asked youth to commit to one session at a time, enrollment went up. Important to remember that researchers’/adults’ questions are not the important questions to youth. Youth were saying that they want to be heard, but they don’t want to say the things that adults want to say. They provided them with more open space. He believes that if they don’t want to blog about anything except for fashion, that’s okay. Example from Shanghai: singing duo that lipsyncs to Backstreet boys. They said that in China they are extremely popular; they said that they are not just having fun, they are actually being political. They said they had not had a chance to express this before. Japanese notion of kuso, which means shit. Reaction to pressure on each child in China to be very productive – people rebel by being silly and making shit out of things and making important stuff out of shit. The singers wanted to tell this story, but no one was asking them about it. The stuff that youth might want to talk about is actually incredibly important, and we should give them space to do so.
Emily: It’s about viewing young people as full human beings. They may not have full political rights. Therefore them having a voice in media is important. Is there a space for teens to say what they want to say?
Juliana: there is but adults are always criticizing it.
Emily: Kids have always shared stuff that adults would probably find scandalous, but now it’s very public.
Nishant: has been teaching a course in Bangalore. His 17 year old student told him that blogging is so 20th century, that she (the student) said that she writes but they will never know where she does it.
Emily: In her experience the youth she was working with were very thoughtful and serious about what they were producing. They had to be extra-good at journalism because they were kids. Among kids is there a need to separate social media and public media?
Persephone: youth don’t see social media as public media.
Juliana: Maybe the step that should be taken is to find those who would be writing anyway. Those who have things to say and are already saying them—give them a place to say it publicly.
Victor: It depends on the background of the youth and what they are able to access. In Malawi, being on facebook is the “in” thing and everyone wants to be there. For others, radio is the “in” thing and they don’t want moderated radio, they want to have free reign. Relatively, for those who are very interested in FB, they are not keen on radio—they prefer TV. But those who are outside those platforms are more keen on using radio to express themselves. Both groups want space of their own.
Julia: Her women’s health website – a young woman who had started a juggling school. Older women were resistant to publishing this story.
Sarah: Should we just use FB instead of creating separate websites?
Juliana: Do we read or moderate youth content if we really want it to be free?
Nishant: Flash mobs can be political. Stuff that can be frivolous 95% of the time can also be mobilized for political purposes 5% of the time. Youth people in 6 countries came up with this model.
Emily: This returns to the questions of what are the goals of these youth projects. Even as there is a lot of excitement about social media, there is also a lack of youth voices in traditional media. Also how do you promote voices that do want to be heard?
Juliana: Youth might be supporting anarchy by speaking in code, misspelling words, but it’s really irritating!
Nishant: text speak is interesting because it says that we are not open books.
Juliana: Yes, this way you can speak out publicly and your parents will never know what you’re saying. Should we teach them how to fit into our world our teach them to fit into ours?
Issa: Best case scenario is that they will split their communication into formal and informal communication.
Victor: Example of Grocot’s Mirror project in South Africa: young people send SMSs to the newspaper and they get published and they contribute to stories. There are young people who edit these.
Juliana: Maybe what we need is bridge bloggers: youth who can give us a context for the youth.
Emily: Lately has been doing a lot of multimedia trainings. Youth pick it up really fast. Tells youth that they can document anything they want. Creative self-expression can really be facilitated this way and opens a forum for students who are not good at writing already. As digital camera become cheap this becomes easier. Have to have a community partner in this case who will take responsibility for the cameras. Helps people value things in their lives that youth did not know were valuable.
Anne Nelson: Issue going back to the dark side. Is question of bullying online just in the U.S?
Everyone says it is found in their countries.
Nishant: This is a visible problem in India. A few young people even tried to commit suicide.
Juliana: There isn’t even a word for this in Spanish so it’s hard to get the message across. People tend to view it as “just kids being kids.”
Anne: disturbed by some uses of FB to guess things like which of their friends are virgins.
Juliana: That existed before FB just not online.
Emily: Agrees, all these happened before. It’s a question of scale. But on the other hand, if it’s more out in the open, is there more that we can do to combat it?
Nishant: On the positive side, the scale of stuff allows people to mobilize different resources to combat bullies, e.g. bullying them back via FB and providing a support system for people who are being bullying. So FB was a space for subversive dialogue that would otherwise have not been possible.
Juliana: As GV we should find out more about where youth are speaking and incorporate them more.
Emily: Youth are vibrant members of the community, not just specimen to be study.
Nishant: His group will bring 300 young people from 20 countries together.
Group will start a youth media interest list serve.
Girl friends from Digital Democracy's Project Einstein youth media project in South Africa.]]>
At the Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2010, GV Executive Director Ivan Sigal led a panel discussion on Measuring and Evaluating the Impact of Citizen Media with –
- Anne Nelson, Professor of Journalism at Columbia University
- Lova Rakotomalala, GV French Editor, and Foko-Madagascar Co-founder
- Rosental Alves, Professor of Journalism at University of Texas at Austin, and GV Board Member
As citizen media initiatives evolve, the role of citizen media should move from making your voice heard to moving the needle. In this session, we will discuss how we can measure the impact of citizen media initiatives and improve their effectiveness.
In her pre-conference notes, Anne charts the lifecycle of a citizen media project and the difficulties in measuring its success –
The past decade of growth in citizen media has… yielded a tremendous bounty of both individual expression and data. Once new media platforms become available, new communities use them in unexpected ways. Many of them have obvious social utility.
So here we have a logical progression: good project emerges, donors offer seed money, project grows.
The crunch arrives at the next phase of development. Good project grows, grant expires, next proposal is submitted. Now the bar is raised: it's not enough to have an ìinteresting idea.î The project, however worthy, must either make the leap to being ìsustainableî… or develop a ìbusiness modelî.
This is where the ìimpact evaluationî rubber hits the road. For any projects that participate in a commercial sphere, the metrics are taking shape, logically enough, around the principles of commerce. It's now easy to measure web traffic, clicks, and sales. It's hard ó if not impossible ó to measure ìdemocratization.î
Government and corporate funding agencies have different approaches to measuring the impact of citizen media projects they are funding.
Governments have foreign policy and economic agendas that guide the choice of projects they fund, so, it's important that the grantees understand and share these objectives.
Several corporate funding agencies like the Gates Foundation, Skoll Foiundation, and Omidyar foundation see citizen media projects as a means to the end and insist on measurement, while other funding agencies like the Knight Foundation insist less on measurement.
In general, funding organizations have a history, a track record, and activists need to understand who they are themselves, who their funders are, before they seek funding.
Measurement approaches might involve quantitative approaches based on web metrics, qualitative approach based on anecdotes, and moving the needle on policy. In the end, however, it's about visualizing the change you are trying to bring in the world, and making it happen.
The BBC World Service Trust, for instance, is very rigorous in measuring its projects with an intent to improve their effectiveness. It uses a structured approach including formative research, pre-testing, audience feedback, and impact evaluation using a combination of multiple tools.
In his pre-conference notes, Lova shares the background of Foko-Madagascar –
The Foko-Madagascar group blogging project was set up to highlight… (initiatives for) positive social and environmental change in many Malagasy disenfranchised communities. Unfortunately, a political crisis changed the context of our work and many of the trained bloggers turned their focus.
Although the political crisis is still ongoing in Madagascar, the Foko project has mostly returned to its initial purpose… (and documented) children tree-planting… reinsertion programs for HIV+ people and disenfranchised adolescents… and ICT for development workshops… (Now, we are) getting ready to help oversee the scheduled national elections in May with the local Ushahidi platform.
In Madagascar, web traffic or worldwide media attention won't be sustainable, apart from a crisis, like a coup. So, how do you make the case for a sustained citizen media project?
The first step is not finding the funding, but finding the need to share. Then, we define objectives, build scenarios and analyze what would have happened if we hadn't done the projects. Finally, we use a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures and share them with the authors so that they become better over time.
The traditional media ecosystem was like the desert dominated by a few media organizations. The new media ecosystem is like the rain forest with an abundance of voices.
Donors are trying to understand how we are moving from one kind of media environment to the other, so measurement is complicated.
Donors need to realize that things are destroyed before new things are built, so we can't measure new media by old standards.
Citizen media projects need to become better at articulating what they are trying to achieve because the funders are coming from a radically different environment.
It is in this context that the open-minded funding approach of Knight New Challenge is very important.
The participants were actively involved and asked several questions.
Some questions were only tangentially related to the topic of measuring citizen media projects –
- Independent media has always existed, so isn't the citizen media revolution actually an evolution? Yes.
- Shouldn't software development projects also be considered citizen media? Yes, Ushahidi is a good example.
Other questions pushed the panel for some hard answers –
- If you are trying to measure the impact of your citizen media project, to improve the project, and not to raise funds, does your approach to measurement change?
- What is the goal of citizen media: to get the voices out, to bring about social change, or to bring about a specific type of social change?
- There's an assumption that citizen media is a normative good. How do you measure both the positive and negative outcomes of a citizen media project?
Anne: The activists who start citizen media projects often don't think of measurement, until a funding agency asks them to. It's important that they see measurement as a means to achieve what they set out to.
Ivan: It's important to measure against a prescriptive norm, but also important to measure emergent benefits, so that you are not only trying to achieve what you measure.
Rokutamo: It's important to measure both quantitative and qualitative outcomes and give constructuve feedback to the contributors so that they can become more effective. Sometimes, your objectives might change in response to your context, but you must continue to measure yourself against the objectives.
Rosental: It's important that we protect the organic nature of citizen media projects and the passion driving it. So, storytelling plays an important role in defining the success of an initiative.
Ivan: The urgency of funders to understand and support the citizen media ecosystem may have both positive and negative effects, because sometimes the very nature of small volunteer-based citizen media projects change when they get big funding.
My own view:
My own view is that we are so intent on finding and celebrating successful citizen media projects that we might be blinding ourselves to the lessons we can learn from failures. It's critical, then, that we ask hard self-reflective questions about how to measure the success of our own citizen media projects and celebrate failures as well as successes, in public. I applaud Failfare for starting this important conversation and was delighted that 50-plus participants joined me in an open session at #GV2010 to share the lessons they have learnt from their failures.
These notes have been cross-posted on Gauravonomics.
Donna Martinez, note taker
Janet Gunter, facilitator
Social movements: people in community/geographic space come together to communicate and act together (sometimes without dependence on telecommunications). The person-to-person aspect of social organizing in Latin America. Social movements are not professional, like NGOs often are, but instead drawing on people’s passion and need to organize.
Example: Housing movement/Squatters in São Paulo (Portuguese: Ocupação, Spanish: Tomas, invasiones).
Janet’s agency has been working in long-term partnerships in Latin America (e.g. Chile, Brazil, etc).
In São Paulo there are tens of thousands of people living on the streets, and tenements – but tons of buildings in the city remain vacant, many of those own more back taxes to government than the value of the buildings. Social movements occupy buildings to force public authorities to take action and provide housing for the poorest, these are social movements with political objectives and strong ideological l motivation. Culture in method of meeting, of resisting together and protest.
This in a context of elite-owned mainstream media making out social movement members as criminals.
Janet’s agency asked housing movement about using the internet, new media and how to incorporate into existing forms of organizing. Initially, technology was not readily accepted and seen as tool of the elite or the powers that be… (But this has changed over time and with more accompaniment and support…)
1st Question - what is experience of the group - how does a strong social movement culture that distrusts or does not see the value of social media start to change?
Bangladesh (Faizul) – Activists used social media to promote justice for past crimes, censorship. In Bangladesh, the time for this issue and social media is ripe.
Brazil (Janet) – End of dictatorship and democratization (1980s) as origin of social movements today – is resistance to new tools a generational issue?
Mexico (?) - Big companies are allies of big government and seeking to dominate social media - Twitter messages increased now government attempting to institute laws to prohibit/censor. FB and Twitter good means to express freedom of expression. This will most likely cause a backlash and further interest social movements in using social media.
Hong Kong (Oiwan) – case of Nepali migrants using phone like radio. VoIP like bridges old tech to new tech. Radio links to phone and then to internet.
Police killed Nepali migrant – emblematic case – local Hong Kong activists became interested in the issue then accessed information through the phone/radio/internet link. Became Human Rights violation rights case. Illustrates the power of a strong incident to foster networking between isolated social movements and groupings.
Puerto Rico (Firuzeh) Women's movements easily access and get their messages heard in mainstream media, as they are middle class movement educated individuals with good contacts. Research of how women's movement is using media– they were not using internet to get their message out - using blogs in public spaces. Rather they were using closed listservs for consensus building and creating trust and strength within the movement. The email listserv was used as a “safe” space and community building space. We must not discount the ongoing role of email listservs in social movements, even if they do not fit our mold of “social media”.
Chile (various) - Technology not easy in social movements. In Chile, Social movements are often related to territorial issues - local issues. Women's movement strong to legalize the morning after pill. Environmental problems (more dams/electric development), political movements. Sometimes NGOs can serve as catalysts or help social movements to think about using new technology.
The Mapuche movement appear permanently depicted as terrorists in the mainstream media. They are using radio via internet not commercial/traditional or microradio. But people need internet to have listen. There is a question about how best to integrate traditional media, like community radio, and internet and new media.
2nd question: How does use of social media and internet help social movement’s ability to influence and better traditional media coverage?
“Digital generation” using photoblogs, e.g. use of photos were essential in the Penguin Movement 2006 in Chile to prevent cuts in funding for education. The movement, made of kids and youth, managed the press coverage really well. It was an organic, horizontal movement, with no real specific leader - all had equal voice. It included a special committee/group on communication. The movement was able to “move the needle” – achieve policy change – but has subsequently fizzled.
Municipal Civil Servants Union and Biblioredes in Chile: Experience all the way to the end of Chile, Punta Arenas. Initially, people didn’t know how to use the technology, but the Municipal Civil Servants Union has used the government’s Biblio-redes national internet project to organize.
People in the Unions have started teaching other women in the community how to use the internet, so the social organizing has had a rippling effect. Union members are part of the community and link to others.
3rd question: Where there key elements/champions that made it happen? Especially in relation to the Union and the Penguinos?
In Chile, people like to communicate and now the tech and provide them a means to communicate/connect - not a generational issue
The infrastructure – the government’s creation of free internet centers in libraries all across the country was key
Brazil (Janet) - social media - many who are working poor are on Orkut but not using this for social organizing except at the most local level – perhaps there is a need a moment/turning point to mobilization
Uruguay (Pablo) Computers were given to teachers were resistant and didn't want to use. The teachers did not use the media to organize. Use only tends to develop when there is a sense of urgency. Unions must have internal communication and then be able to disperse the message.
A blog may be easy technologically easy to start but to develop it for impact is more challenging, including video and photos. Would be interesting to foster a community to support technical development of social media with social movements.
Oiwan - Media activists attached to NGOs but not directly (social agents) act like amoebas, pulling out NGO resources out, and working with movements to disseminate through their own networks of intermediates and to the outside.
Last question – (kind of unanswered) – But is an occasional event like an online mobilization is not capable of being replicating - how to sustain? What happened afterward? Did the needle move?
After issue is highlighted with spontaneous online mobilization, the NGOs and social movements can pick up the issue and sustains
People to people part essential
“Bridging” needed in terms of finding technology and people that are comfortable and familiar to social movements
Integration of older forms of communication (i.e. community radio and print)
The importance of online communication – and older forms like email listservs – for internal consensus building and coordination among social movements
Emphasizing the liberating aspects of production of messages and material by members of movements THEMSELVES (revisit Paulo Freire's concepts of Pedagogy of the Oppressed?)
Social media tends to surge and gain support in moments of crisis or urgency
The role of governments and NGOs in providing infrastructure and spaces for discovery and innovation. NGOs especially have a role in proposing a more strategic use of social media and internet
Media activists as “amoebas” – there is a huge role for media activists as links between social movements and NGOs/institutions]]>
Open Session a cargo de Pedro Less, Gerente de Asuntos Gubernamentales y Políticas Pública de Google para Latinoamérica, y Claudio Ruiz, presidente de la ONG Derechos Digitales de Chile. Escrito por Miguel Morachimo.
Durante los últimos tres años existió un proceso de reforma legislativa de la Ley de Propiedad Intelectual en Chile. Se trató de la primera experiencia latinoamericana de una reforma legislativa post explosión del Internet. Entre sus principales novedades, se han incluido supuestos en los cuales no es necesario solicitar autorización ni pagar por ciertos tipos de uso de obras (denominados “usos justos”).
En Chile y en otro países, bajo la excusa de reclamar derechos de propiedad intelectual, se había logrado ejercer presión sobre la libre expresión. Así, se alegaba una violación de derechos de propiedad intelectual pero, en buena cuenta, se pretendía callar al mensajero. Gracias a la inclusión de excepciones de usos permitidos en la Ley Chilena, la posibilidad de que se den este tipo de abusos se ha reducido.
Sistema de la responsabilidad de los intermediarios en Internet.
Chile ha sido pionero en regular a los Proveedores de Servicios en Internet (ISPs por sus siglas en inglés) en latinoamérica. En resumen, se les ha excluido de la responsabilidad por los contenidos generados por sus usuarios.
En Estados Unidos funciona para los ISPs el ”sistema de notificación y bajada”, según el Digital Millenium Copyright Act. De esta forma, un titular de derechos afectado puede denunciar determinado contenido ante el ISP y, si el usuario que subió el contenido falla en acreditar un mejor derecho, el contenido es retirado. Esto puede generar escenarios de desprotección porque hay quienes pueden no estar en capacidad de entender la notificación de retiro o no tener los medios económicos pare defenderse. Este procedimiento no necesita de la intervención de un juez.
En Chile, la nueva Ley ha adoptado un sistema similar, sobre la base de que todo retiro de contenidos tiene que ser ordenado por un juez pero con un cambio. El titular de derechos supuestamente afectado puede enviar su reclamo al ISP y éste tiene la obligación de trasladar el reclamo al usuario. Si el usuario considera que efectivamente violó un derecho, tiene opción a retirar el contenido legalmente sin mayor consecuencia jurídica. Sin embargo, si decide que tiene un derecho a publicar ese contenido, el supuesto titular del derecho tiene que llevar la controversia ante el Poder Judicial. El juez que conozca el caso tendrá que revisar si, en el caso concreto, no se trata de un uso justo o si efectivamente hay un derecho vulnerado. Esta es una nueva figura que pretende no victimizar al usuario, no convertir a los ISPs en los enemigos, ni activar innecesariamente la administración de justicia.
Fair use o “uso justo”
Es un figura jurisprudencial desarrollada en Estados Unidos, y posteriormente adoptada por una fuente legislativa, que legaliza una serie de usos de ciertas obras sin necesidad solicitar autorización o pagar una contraprestación. La nueva Ley de Propiedad Intelectual en Chile incluye una figura parecida denominada “usos justos”.
Muchos artistas y creadores están involucrados en el activismo en favor de leyes de propiedad intelectual más rígidas y protectoras de las obras. Sin embargo, dichos cambios legislativos benefician más a las industrias de contenidos. Claudio Ruiz señala que deben de separarse los intereses de los artistas y creadores de los intereses de las industrias culturales, titulares de los derechos patrimoniales.
Para él, existen dos formas de afrontar el problema: (1) provocar un cambio legislativo desde la sociedad civil que legalice ciertas prácticas comunes a las nuevas tecnologías y que no suponen un detrimento patrimonial a las industrias basadas en modelos de negocios analógicos; o, (2) hacernos cargo como sociedad de las prácticas comunes que tenemos respecto de las obras protegidas por derechos de autor (como el uso de imágenes en trabajos escolares).
Pedro Less señala que, desde el punto de vista de las oportunidades, los modelos de negocios de las industrias culturales (sociedades de gestión colectiva) tienen que ver con las posibilidades que tenía un autor de llegar a una audiencia global para recaudar sus derechos. Hoy un creador, a través de Internet, puede llegarse a millones de usuarios sin necesidad de intermediarios. Eso vuelve la intermediación de las sociedades de gestión colectiva innecesarias.
El advenimiento del fin de la industria del entretenimiento ha sido proclamado con cada aprición de nuevos inventos. Estas nuevas tecnologías han permitido, sin embargo, la creación de nuevas oportunidades de negocio y puestos de trabajo. Internet es un potenciador de la propiedad intelectual y no su peor enemigo.
¿Cómo interactúa la nueva ley chilena con las políticas corporativas de bajada de contenidos de Google? Es un escenario complejo porque están involucrados los ordenamientos legales de varios estados. En el caso de Yotube, por ejemplo, al ser un servicio que se presta desde Estados Unidos va a seguirse aplicando el sistema de Notificaciones y Bajadas de la DMCA y no el procedimiento de la nueva Ley de Propiedad Intelectual de Chile. Pedro Less considera, sin embargo, que la existencia de un escenario legal más protector de la libertad de expresión en Chile va a atraer a que nuevas empresas y plataformas instalen sus operaciones aquí.
Claudio señala que existe un déficit de preparación en los jueces para aplicar las leyes de derechos de autor en forma que beneficie la libre expresión. Esto va a ser un escollo para la aplicación de la nueva ley. Pedro cree que es necesario que la industria, el gobierno y la sociedad civil participen de un diálogo abierto que propicie mayor acceso al conocimiento de las personas y, a la vez, una mayor cultura tecnológica en los jueces. Mientras más atentos estemos a las regulaciones sobre derechos de autor en los países es que podemos construir países más democráticos.
Finalmente, Pedro señaló la vigencia que para él tiene el artículo 13 de la Convención Americana de Derechos Humanos (1969):
Artículo 13. Libertad de Pensamiento y de Expresión
1. Toda persona tiene derecho a la libertad de pensamiento y de expresión. Este derecho comprende la libertad de buscar, recibir y difundir informaciones e ideas de toda índole, sin consideración de fronteras, ya sea oralmente, por escrito o en forma impresa o artística, o por cualquier otro procedimiento de su elección.
2. El ejercicio del derecho previsto en el inciso precedente no puede estar sujeto a previa censura sino a responsabilidades ulteriores, las que deben estar expresamente fijadas por la ley y ser necesarias para asegurar:
a) el respeto a los derechos o a la reputación de los demás, o
b) la protección de la seguridad nacional, el orden público o la salud o la moral públicas.
Led by Prabhas Pokharel, MobileActive.org
Notes by Onnik Krikorian
Given the subject matter about the use of mobile phones, reporting on the breakout session was undertaken via Twitter. The discussion started off with a comment from Rising Voices' David Sasaki who wondered if SMS had a place in the world of mobile Internet and the use of Twitter to disseminate links. However, it was pointed out, that not everyone uses the micro-blogging site to spread only links and for many without mobile Internet connections, traditional SMS texting can still be an important tool.
Mobile Active's Prabhas Pokharel backed up such an argument, stating that SMS' were ‘universally accessible.' Others wondered about their use, along with other mobile reporting services, in the rural regions of developing countries. Nevertheless, drawbacks still remain such as the lack of GPS data for SMS as well as the lack of short local numbers or any at all for tweeting via SMS in many countries. The lack of GPS data, for example, was noted during the recent Chile earthquake when people SMS-ed for help, but without mentioning their location.
Because of this, it was mentioned that organizations such as UNICEF have their own short codes for locations to include in SMS.'
Yet, despite some initial doubts about the use of SMS when many phones can connect direct to the Internet, others noted that SMS alerts are also useful for spreading breaking news. They are also especially useful for fund raising during disasters such as Haiti when tens of millions of dollars were raised in just a few days. It was eventually agreed that SMS was particularly useful for those without access to the Internet. In fact, it was agreed, a holistic approach to mobile reporting is necessary, including SMS, MMS, Twitter, and Video live streaming.
Although some doubts were raised about the quality of images and video from mobile phones, it was stressed that many top-of-the-range models have above average specifications in this area. Mobile Active will also be releasing a special kit of software tools for phones some time in the next six weeks. Perhaps the one concern regarding the use of mobile phones by activists is in terms of security for those using them in sensitive situations. Some tools to conceal identities from phones do exist, but they're far from perfect.
The discussion could have lasted a lot longer than the time allocated, but to end the general consensus was that regardless of the conversation about traditional text messages, the global trend is towards more mobile Internet access. This is especially true for low-income countries where access to personal computers is limited. For more information on mobile phone reporting and their use by civil society or for activism see http://www.mobileactive.org.]]>
The fifth Global Voices Summit has come to an end.
Dozens of Global Voices contributors as well as other bloggers, journalists, activists, and at least one Archbishop met at the Santiago Public Library in Santiago, Chile on May 6 and 7 to discuss everything from blogging in Mongolia and Liberia to measuring the impact of citizen media to how best to translate online content into multiple languages.
We also listened to funky jams prepared by the Global Voices Latin America team and danced the conga:
The purpose of the Summit was to bring together people from all over the world who are interested in citizen media and to foster discussions on how this media is affecting societies, politics, education and other spheres around the globe. Along with a number of formal sessions on topics including citizen media and government transparency, the role of libraries and how YouTube and other social networks moderate content, the Summit included a variety of informal breakout sessions organized around the interests of participants. These included discussions on the digital divide, the use of social media in reporting conflict, and the differences between old and new media. The notes from all of these discussions are being posted in the session notes section of this site.
One of the most unique things about this Summit was that it was officially bilingual: presenters spoke in both English and Spanish, and translators worked tirelessly to make sure every participant had access to the entire program in a language they could understand. This focus on language accessibility was a theme throughout the Summit, as evidenced by sessions on media and translation and indigenous citizen media, as well as the sheer volume of different languages represented at the summit.
For those who couldn't make it, we published a liveblog, a Twitter feed and a live webcast. Many sessions were also recorded, and those videos will be posted on the site soon. As participants trickle home to steady Internet connections, we'll also be posting their reflections on how things went. Thanks to all who helped make this Summit a wonderful time for everyone who participated, and we hope you'll join us next time!]]>