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Cyber Activism And Online Campaigns In Middle East


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A presentation describing the current state of cyber activism in the Middle East and highlighting successful online campaigns. It answers these following questions:

How are cyber activists using the Internet to pursue their goals?

What tools/platforms are they using and how effective are those tools?

Are bloggers today activists, citizen journalists, or something else?

What is the value of engaging with global, transnational networks of cyber activists?

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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Cyber Activism And Online Campaigns In Middle East

  1. 1. Internet & Democracy in the Middle East Cyber Activism
  2. 2. Videos
  3. 3. Blogging as a phenomenon <ul><li>Who blogs from Where </li></ul>
  4. 4. Blog by language <ul><li>Arabic is the 10 th most used Internet Language with 29 Million users. English is the top language – 366 million users. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Internet Penetration in Middle East <ul><li>As a percentage of the users across the world </li></ul>
  6. 6. A Look At The Digital Divide <ul><li>Middle East Internet Statistics </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>How are cyber activists using the Internet to pursue their goals? </li></ul><ul><li>Social Networking Sites </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs, Microblogs & dissenting opinions </li></ul><ul><li>Photos, audios and videos to spread truth </li></ul><ul><li>Connecting to resource and information </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitating a culture defying censorship </li></ul><ul><li>Linking to Activism </li></ul><ul><li>Transmitting to Each Other </li></ul><ul><li>Collective intelligence </li></ul><ul><li>Making the Voices hard </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic Democracy </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>What tools/platforms are they using and how effective are those tools? </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook, Googlegroups </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs, Twitters </li></ul><ul><li>Flickr, Youtube, Vimeo, Dotsub, Podpress </li></ul><ul><li>Slideshare,, Esnips </li></ul><ul><li>Databases and archives, aggregators </li></ul><ul><li>Proxies, TOR etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Flashmobs </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>What are recent examples of successful online campaigns? </li></ul><ul><li>Kids With Cameras </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Life in a Refugee Camp, Through Children’s Eyes </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Side by Side, Israel & the Occupied Territories </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>In September 2006 a group of Arab bloggers took an initiative to let women from the Arab world to blog about their problems and injustice they face daily in their societies. The aim was to encourage women to speak out loudly and to push them to ask for their rights collectively. They asked women to also record with other women who have no access to the internet, like their grandmothers or even maids. </li></ul>We are Laila
  11. 11. We are Laila
  12. 12. We are Laila <ul><li>The idea behind ‘We are all Laila‘ started with with Laila, a woman who was confiding her concerns to another Laila. Soon the two Lailas became three, then five and then more than 50 women, who discovered that despite the differences in their circumstances, ideas and priorities, they were all Laila at the end of the day. Laila is the heroine of The Open Door, by novelist Latifa Al Zayat, which was later made into a movie, starring Faten Hamama. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Are bloggers today activists, citizen journalists, or something else? </li></ul><ul><li>What they want to be </li></ul><ul><li>Filling the Gap – Biased media </li></ul><ul><li>Propaganda , Censorship </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Why Cyber Activism? </li></ul><ul><li>The attitude to help others is innate in our lives. Think about any problem in your society. How much effort it takes to solve it? What are the requirements of resources and how to obtain them? </li></ul><ul><li>Only some years ago we needed to wait for a mainstream media to propagate for social initiatives to help others in a broad scale. Now Social Media is empowering ordinary people to do that for them. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>What is the value of engaging with global, transnational networks of cyber activists? </li></ul><ul><li>GV Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>DIGIActive </li></ul><ul><li>Rising Voices </li></ul><ul><li>Committee To Protect Bloggers </li></ul><ul><li>Offline outreach is a necessary activity to promote regional, linguistic, gender, and cultural diversity within online participatory media. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Rising Voices <ul><li>Rising Voices, an outreach initiative of Global Voices, aims to help bring new voices from new communities and speaking new languages to the global conversation by providing resources and funding to local groups reaching out to underrepresented communities. </li></ul><ul><li>Its Micro-grants of upto $5,000 have had a ripple effect on the communities concerned when put into the hands of groups and individuals eager to use participatory media to both affect and document social change. </li></ul><ul><li>22 Projects in 21 Countries: </li></ul><ul><li>(Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, Madagascar, Kenya, Uruguay, Iran, Congo, Romania, South Africa, Ukraine, Serbia, Jamaica, Sierra Leone, India, Kazakhstan, Ivory Coast, Liberia, China, Mongolia, and Yemen.) </li></ul><ul><li>Why the outreach is required? Most of the bloggers are urban elites and we look at the world through their eyes. But what if those who do not usually get the means and chance to speak out joins the conversation? We can see a whole new world opening up. </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>* News summarizing, translating, and featuring the best work of citizen journalists from Rising Voices projects are posted regularly. </li></ul><ul><li>* Citizen Media Guides </li></ul><ul><li>* Tools </li></ul><ul><li>* Success Stories </li></ul><ul><li>* Newsletter </li></ul><ul><li>* Community </li></ul>
  18. 18. The goal of Iran Inside Out is to open up opportunities for the hundreds of talented and passionate young filmmakers in Iran whose films are rarely ever seen outside of small festivals inside Iran. The project also aspires to show a different side of Iran to the rest of the world (i.e., a view from the INSIDE). <ul><li>Iran Inside Out: </li></ul><ul><li>* Rising Voices grantee Iran Inside Out is the first initiative dedicated to promoting the development and distribution of online film and video in Iran. Iran Inside Out is a mission driven, non-political and independent project inspired by the Internet’s power to link people with one another. </li></ul><ul><li>* Project leader Shaghayegh Azimi has partnered with film clubs in Tehran to identify young filmmakers to encourage and support them to produce videos and to publish them online. Iran Inside Out videos focus on showing an inside view, beyond the mainstream news, about Iranian life, history, culture, and society as seen by the filmmakers making them </li></ul>
  19. 19. Iran Inside Out <ul><li>Here are two videos published by the project. </li></ul><ul><li>SILENT SCREECH </li></ul><ul><li>Director Hamid Najafirad openly interviews heavy metal singers in Iran about their passion for Metal music and what about life in Iran led them to the underground scene. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>PARSA </li></ul><ul><li>How would you feel if you felt threatened by a war on your country? What would matter most to you? These are the questions that director Hossein Rasti tries to answer as he points the camera to his beloved nephew PARSA. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  20. 20. Conclusion <ul><li>Activists are using whatever tools suit them </li></ul><ul><li>They are evolving and getting more experienced </li></ul><ul><li>New media tools should be available to them </li></ul><ul><li>Cell phone oriented tools -microblogging etc. </li></ul><ul><li>More Outreach efforts should be taken </li></ul><ul><li>We have to engage more non-profits. </li></ul>