Category Archives: Activism

Noha Atef on Skype call in Nicosia’s Buffer Zone

Noha Atef, courtesy of Noha Atef, under Creative Commons license

Guest post from attendee at BZB 30 April 2011:

I just heard a live web discussion with Noha Atef, journalist, activist and editor of http://www.tortureinegypt.net. Noha was incredibly inspiring, offering her perspective on the recent events in Egypt, with insight, charm, humour, and a searing intelligence. Noha spoke about the role of social media in the Egyptian revolution, and urged us not to switch off from the situation in Egypt, now that it has seemingly dropped off the news agenda. It’s been a great afternoon here in the buffer zone, but best of all has been hearing directly from people like Noha. Thank you Ms Atef.

Visit:

http://tortureinegypt.net/

http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/author/noha-atef/

Tahrir Square, Cairo, 2011

Egypt’s blogosphere and its role in the ‘leaderless revolution’

Just attended a live web interview with Egyptian blogger Adel Iskandar, who genuinely inspired attendees of BZB’s second day.

Wow. Amazing eloquence, compelling lucidity. The courage and integrity – and sense of humour – of a voice of Egypt’s “leaderless revolution” as he put it.

As well as offering a sobering insight and first-hand accounts of the cost of blogging in Egypt under Mubarak – not to mention its pivotal role in “breaking the wall of fear” that inspired the country’s recent uprising –  Iskandar was gracious enough to field questions from attendees.

Among the things we learned:

  • The likely difficulties in shifting the institutionalised sycophancy of traditional media, despite the sudden availability of more objective reportage. (Definitely not going to happen overnight.)
  • The breadth of the political and financial power of the country’s military – “the largest construction company in Egypt”
  • The possible influence of the Muslim Brotherhood beyond the upcoming polls and constitutional changes
  • The threat posed by the ‘blogging drain’ with the more prominent voices of Egypt’s blogosphere now being invited to travel the world, sharing their experiences…

Despite minor technical difficulties, the BZB web interview with Iskandar allowed us a human face in the midst of all the media verbiage about Egypt’s new political realities.

What a privilege to be reminded of the power of blogging and social media. How humbling to be reminded of the self-expression we take for granted.

Buffer Zone Bloggers is happening now!

A quick update on the first day of BZB in Nicosia’s buffer zone! Great turnout, and lots of interesting discussion going on. Here is a photo from the social media workshop which took place outside in the sunshine:

The Present State of Internet Freedom

The excitement is rising as Buffer Zone Bloggers prepares to launch tomorrow, Friday 29 April 2011. We look forward to greeting our numerous registrants who are coming hungry for fun, information and community. It is also only 5 days away from the World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2011. So as our final post before the event, we thought we should report on the conditions of internet freedom around the world.

Freedom On The Net 2011 Map

Freedom On The Net 2011 Map

 FreedomHouse.org, an independent watchdog organization that supports the expansion of freedom around the world” for the past 70 years, has released a report, earlier in the month, investigating the global state of internet freedom. According to Freedom on the Net 2011: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media, cyber attacks, politically motivated censorship, and government control over internet infrastructure are among the diverse and growing threats to internet freedom.

As internet communication explodes around the globe, with the number of users doubling during the past two years, certain governments seem to be increasingly inclined towards restricting the free flow of information and otherwise inhibiting the rights of users. “These detailed findings clearly show that internet freedom cannot be taken for granted,” said David J. Kramer, executive director of Freedom House. “Nondemocratic regimes are devoting more attention and resources to censorship and other forms of interference with online expression.” But it’s not only the autocratic regimes that are following the trend. The United States comes second, after Estonia, lagging behind in terms of broadband penetration and connection speeds. Further, the U.S. government’s surveillance powers seem to provide cause for some concern.

Freedom on the Net 2011 identifies key trends in internet freedom in 37 countries. Evaluation for each country is based on barriers to access, limitations on content, and violations of users’ rights. More than half of the countries evaluated, demonstrate a negative trajectory of measures taken in dealing with the above. Their actions include crackdowns on bloggers, increased censorship, and targeted cyber attacks, often coinciding with broader political turmoil.

For more information on the subject please click on the following links.

IFEX: extensive article on Freedom on the Net 2011

FreedomHouse.org: the organization, the report, the media

World Press Freedom Day: info

What are Human Rights?

Every Human Has Rights

Every Human Has Rights

We all know that we are human and that we have rights. We all know that there are organizations like Amnesty International fighting for those rights and therefore we know that human rights are being abused all around the world. Yet, how many of us are really familiar with our rights as human beings? How many of us have their rights knowingly or unknowingly violated? How did we come to have any rights in the first place?

Simple questions that every human being should ask. Through quick editing and animation, the following video by HumanRights.com gives a fast-paced introduction to Human Rights and their history from antiquity to the present. Following the video is the list of our 30 rights, as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For more information please visit Amnesty International or HumanRights.com.

Continue reading

Choco-Coat.com: App against Child Slavery

This Easter, Anti-Slavery International has launched Choco-Coat.com, a fun app which raises awareness on child slavery in Ivory Coast’s cocoa production, “Recommended by lying cocoa traders everywhere!”
Choco-coat it

Choco-Coat.com

Easter is gone, leaving behind it the sweet taste of chocolate eggs that bring a smile to children’s faces and turn adults into children. The sweetness of Easter eggs can have a very bitter aftertaste though, when we realize that more than 15,000 children are reduced to live and work as slaves in the 60,000 cocoa farms of the Ivory Coast, the world’s larger producer of cocoa, raw material for chocolate. With the biggest chocolate manufacturing companies turning a blind eye to the fact, the unwitting consumer has a right to be enraged that money spent to bring sweetness and pleasure to loved ones, also helps finance an industry which preys on the young. Continue reading

Buffer Zone Bloggers Website: http://www.digime.org.cy/en/

Buffer Zone Bloggers is delighted to announce the launch of the DigiMe project website featuring Buffer Zone Bloggers:

http://www.digime.org.cy/en/

All information you might need on the Buffer Zone Bloggers weekend can be found on it, in English, Greek and Turkish; plus lots of interesting extras! Journalists’ resources are available under the section Press and Media / MME / Basın & Medya. In case more details are necessary, Sarah from Cyprus Community Media Centre and Stelios from NGO Support Centre will be happy to assist you respectively on sarah@cypruscommunitymedia.orgor stelios@ngo-sc.org.