أرشيفات التصنيف: English

Digital Citizen/المواطن الرقمي – Keeping tabs on digital rights in the Arab world

Digital Citizen, or المواطن الرقمي is a monthly newsletter that aims to cover all sorts of issues related to technology, policy, and human rights. The project came about when friends and colleagues from several organizations—at first SMEX, Access, and EFF—realized that there was a gap in coverage about Internet governance issues in the Arab world and decided to do something about it. Realizing any such project would have to be bilingual (if not trilingual), they enlisted Global Voices to join the team and thus Digital Citizen was born. The wonderful Jordanian team at 7iber joined shortly thereafter.

The newsletter is very much a team effort, with volunteers working from Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, the United States, and elsewhere, and the team is constantly growing. We met at AB14 this week to discuss our process, hoping that by announcing the meeting publicly, we might gain a few new members…we were very surprised, then, when at least eight people joined our meeting, excitedly sharing their ideas for the project.

From the meeting emerged several important ideas: First, syndication. Most of the subscribers to our newsletter seem to be based in the United States, but the analytics for the published version on Global Voices indicate that our Arabic version is more popular than the English (and Spanish!) versions. So, in order to ensure greater distribution, we're seeking syndication with publications that will re-publish and spread our content. Partners will be encouraged to publish Digital Citizen as a whole, but are also welcome to publish only the sections relevant to their country or context (Digital Citizen is licensed under Creative Commons!).

Furthermore, we also managed to recruit some new faces to the project, from Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Lebanon. One struggle we've faced is ensuring good, accurate content from countries where we have no local contributors, and so these partnerships are key to the project's survival. We're also going to begin publishing the newsletter in French as well as English and Arabic.

Finally, like any good project, we've experienced growing pains that have sometimes delayed publication or made the contribution process painful. To that end, we're working to find ways to create better internal processes and hard deadlines.

We're excited to see Digital Citizen grow and hope you'll join us on the journey!

Arab Bloggers Call For The Release Of Rights Activists in Syria – Statement

 ab14 original logoThe 4th Arab Bloggers Summit participants support the release of Razan Zaitouneh, a human rights lawyer and the co-founder of the Syria's Violations Documentation Center (SVDC) — a non-violent civil group documenting human rights abuses in Syria since March 2011. Ms. Zaitouneh, 36, who is a co-awardee of the European Union's Sakharov Prize for her human rights work, was kidnapped on December 9, 2013 in the outskirts of Damascus along with Samira al-Khalil, Wael Hamada and Nazim al-Hamadi, also members of SVDC.

In the 33 months since the outbreak of the Syrian uprising, Razan Zaitouneh's work with her colleagues at SVDC became a vital source of information for the international community on the violations of human rights in the country. Now that the UN has made the unfortunate decision not to track the death toll in Syria, the work of SVDC has become more crucial than ever.

Razan and her colleagues worked in extremely difficult conditions, taking great risks in order to fulfill the vital task of enriching our understanding of the plight of the Syrian people. So were many others, like our colleague blogger  Bassel Safadi – in detention since March 2012 – who worked on promoting freely available and open-source technology, and who is highly missed at the 4th Arab Bloggers Summit, which took place from January 20-23 in Amman, Jordan.

As a community, we have a responsibility to stand in solidarity with activists promoting freedom and exposing human rights violations in service of our shared humanity.

We, at AB14, demand that the UN and all countries involved in the Geneva II Middle East Peace Conference establish verifiable mechanisms to protect and secure the release of opinion detainees and kidnappees in Syria.

Day One: Stories, Security and “Communicative Capitalism”

On day one of the Arab Bloggers Meeting, participants threw themselves into workshops and discussions stemming from our central theme: civic expression and action online. Working in groups divided by interest — storytelling, digital security, data visualization, and Internet policy — we found that many of us are facing similar challenges in our work.

Many of us want to find new, innovative, compelling ways to tell stories. In the storytelling session, Syrian participants pointed to the mainstream coverage of violence in their country and raised the question: How do you find new ways to tell an old or familiar story? How do you work to keep the public actively engaged and interested in stories about a violent conflict over a long period of time? A common desire among participants was to develop strong methods for telling stories, presenting data, and making policy arguments in order to affect political or legal reforms.

Participants planning a video project.
Participants planning a video project.

متابعة قراءة Day One: Stories, Security and “Communicative Capitalism”

#AB14 Kicks off in Amman: Iraqi and Syrian Bloggers Missing Thanks to Red Tape

It was a bitter sweet reunion for Arab bloggers and activists at the Fourth Arab Bloggers Meeting, which kicked off in Amman, Jordan, this morning.

The four-day gathering, bringing around 80 bloggers, activists and academics from across the region and beyond, includes a three-day retreat for Arab bloggers, which culminates with a public meeting on Thursday.

Missing from the meeting were prominent bloggers Egyptian Alaa Abdel Fattah and Syrian Bassel Al Safadi, both in jail in their countries.

Palestinan Abir Kopty tallies up those missing:

متابعة قراءة #AB14 Kicks off in Amman: Iraqi and Syrian Bloggers Missing Thanks to Red Tape

“Yes, I will leave the online world”

Mauritanian netizens are experiencing anger, sadness, and confusion, along with feelings of solidarity, after young Mauritanian blogger Mazid Weld ElSheikh, sent a letter to his father on Facebook in which he pledged to deactivate his Facebook account until his father forgave him for his recent activities on the social network.  Earlier this month, a group of religious extremists accused ElSheikh of blasphemy, printed the blogger’s Facebook updates and showed  them to his father. In response, his father demanded that ElSheikh shut down all of his social media accounts and stop writing. His mother pleaded with her son to leave his social media accounts. On her own Facebook account, she asked everyone to leave her son alone. متابعة قراءة “Yes, I will leave the online world”