The Blog — civil society
Facebook activists in Nepal are trading in politics for public improvements.
Breaking news story? Why not put a call in for a robotic helicopter to be the public’s eye in the sky? For that reason there’s a lot to love about these images filmed by an amateur aerial drone hovering over a riot in the Polish capital Warsaw.
The issue of whether — or how much — social-media tools such as Facebook and Twitter influenced the “Arab Spring” revolutions in Egypt and elsewhere has been a contentious one since the first rock was thrown in Tunisia earlier this year. But as more experts have studied the events in those countries, it has become increasingly clear that social tools and networks played a fairly critical role in helping turn what had been undercurrents of dissent into open revolt. Although they didn’t cause those revolutions to happen by any means, it’s arguable that they would never have happened — or at least would have happened in very different ways — if it wasn’t for the use of Facebook and other forms of social media.
The revolution in Egypt is unfinished business. While new online tools are used to strengthen civil society, activists are still struggling with the digital divide when it comes to mobilizing masses against the army and the remains of the old administration.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) aims to liberalize international trade by decreasing tariffs, quotas, and bans and encouraging trade agreements amongst its 153 member states. The organization asserts these measures help the environment, improve the economies of the less-developed countries, and ultimately lower costs for the consumer. Critics of the Organization, however, believe that its policies ultimately yield higher profits to the richer, capitalistic countries while exploiting the lower labor costs of their financially weaker counterparts and ignoring the human rights and environmental implications.
The Abahlali baseMjondolo logo Technology + a Shared Message = A Louder Political Voice in South Africa
In 2005, a shack dwellers community in Durban were denied land that they had been promised by the newly elected African National Congress - a party supposedly elected to serve them. This land would have significantly improved the community’s living situation by reducing overcrowding. This action by the government prompted members of this community to create a physical blockade to the planned development, and ultimately earn this land as their own. The Abahlali baseMjondolo (Shack Dweller’s) movement was born
Today civil society activists in Malawi are beginning a series of mass demonstrations aimed at expressing their displeasure with the Malawian leadership. So far there has been violence between protestors and security forces.
Joshua Foust writing for Registan.net takes a look at how the Internet and Social Media are gaining ground in Turkmenistan and the positive effects this will have for civil society there.
Remember protests in Kyrgyzstan? They came about quickly, were marked by violence from nearly the beginning, and managed to oust an entrenched and corrupt leadership. A year later, young people (over half of the population is under 25) are struggling to have a voice in the new political system.