Forum 4: Global Voices Project

This forum discussion will expand from our earlier discussion on ‘Liberation technologies’ here we will focus on more actual real world debate based on an ongoing citizen journalism project titled global voices, the link to the page is, or the more advocacy oriented page: 

What I would like you to do is go over this web resource, select couple of stories you find interesting which you did not see in any mainstream media and make a case why these stories are important, their political implications and the role of technology in creating alternative spaces for expression. You can make your own case for the 2 – 3 stories/reports you select and comment on other’s pickings and respond.

I will keep this forum open midway through spring break to give you more flexibility and close the page for comments on (midnight) 18th March 2015


81 thoughts on “Forum 4: Global Voices Project

    Alita said:
    March 9, 2015 at 10:54 am

    The first article I picked jumped out at me because of its lack of importance it though. I was curious why John Ledged going to sign in Bahrain would make a news article. This piece turned out to be less about one artist in particular and more about the power of celebrity and a voice to speak for those whose voices have been snuffed out unfairly. The author addressed his owner personal struggle with activism and alluded to the fact that there was a need for a hero, or at least that was my take. In order for thousands of imprisoned Bahraini people to fight for freedom and achieve glory their story needs to be know.
    The power I see with this story is its potential. It is not in the mainstream media yet, however, if John Legend where to go to Bahrain and was able to bring his celebrity and influence with him, this could be the first step in revolutionary happenings. If more attention was brought to the issues in Bahrain massive political implications may follow. One celebrities donated time could mean mass political reforms here and positive changes for the future.
    The role of technology in this case is clear. Following modern day celebrities are millions of people who are connecting with them via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other sources of social media. It would take very little effort on John Legends part to instantly inform millions about the issues he may encounter in Bahrain if he is brave enough to hit the send button.
    I look forward to hopefully seeing this matter play out and make mainstream news.

    I was intrigued with the power of music expressed in the first article I read and found another on the same site that uses music but goes a step further in its efforts to enact change.
    Rapper Mouad Belghouat is critical of the Moroccan government and uses the lyrics of his songs to express these frustrations. He has been arrested three times so far in direct relation to his fighting words against the Moroccan king. His latest album entitled “Nothing” to express that “nothing has changed in the field of justice, education, democracy, there is too much corruption and we are living under a dictatorship with torture, etc…”(Freemuse) has contributed with his third arrest, which he is still in prison awaiting trial for.
    The political implications of Belghouat’s actions have great potential. He has utilized his celebrity to enact change and encourage societal advancements. By the Moroccan government repeatedly arresting Belghouat they are gaining him the political spotlight he needs to get his lyrics heard and rally a revolution.
    The use of technology in this particular example is key. Belghouat utilizes mass media in the forms of radio and the general music industry as well as personal Facebook accounts to clearly tell his story and spread his message. The potential that this artist has to enact real and permanent good is astonishing and I look forward to seeing the outcome of his trial and hopefully the media that can come out of tat event and more to follow.
    Overall I feel the US does not utilize the power of the music industry as much as we could. Our music seems to be more superficial and about less important issues than seen in other countries. Just thinking about the power that these music celebrities have it seem like a waste that they are not advocating for anything more serious than drinking beers on a Saturday night.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 12, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      These are two very interesting articles i actually went back and read them, I do agree that the US music industry/artists seems to be getting more disconnected from addressing social and political issues compared to the recent history of music/activism. Why do you think that there is such a gap now ?

        Alita said:
        March 12, 2015 at 1:27 pm

        I feel that in the US we use the media and the music industry as an escape from reality. We utilize media, things like Netflix and Hulu as well as music to get away from reality for a little bit. It’s a shame that these very possibly influential aspects of our society do not utilize their power for good, however, if they did I feel they would not be as popular. People don’t want to be forced to focus on the bad and the negatives of our world all the time, they need a break for forget and relax. This time of relaxation is a cultural advantage that people in other, more desperate countries, might not get the luxury of. Music may be a necessary form of activism in some parts of the world.

        Reed Mcleod said:
        March 13, 2015 at 8:19 am

        I am also interested on the gap between music industry and activism has widen within time. On the one hand I want to believe that Americans have restored to other platforms to address their political opinions. But on the other hand, the lack of activism may be a result of the low production of creative material within the industry.

        Louie Freda said:
        March 17, 2015 at 11:34 pm

        Alita I agree with your point that the music industry is an escape from reality. Not much of the music has deep social meaning, but just recently Kendrick Lamar dropped his new album, “To Pimp a Butterfly.” According t o recent article in the Atlantic, “Butterfly is part of the not-always-so-grand tradition of art about how hard it is to be famous. But it’s also a dense, astonishing, cliché-busting confession about how his fear of failure intertwines with his race, community, ambition, and psychology.” ( Maybe rap music in America is headed for a change of pace…

    Reed Mcleod said:
    March 11, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    While scrolling through the numerous articles, one under the title “A Dialogue About Communication — Not Political Change — in Iran” caught my eye. There was a meeting last week in Spain where both political and technological leaders discussed the role communicative technology plays in Iran. A large topic of debate that was brought up within these meetings revolved around Iran’s recent advancements (or lack of) in technology. The country still relies on foreign certificate authorities to secure domestic websites, which is may pose as a threat towards national security. One topic that seemed very relevant towards our discussions in class is the contradictive agenda of many large social media platforms in Iran. For example, Twitter is one social media platform that has been very vocal on Iranian civilians freedom to use the website freely without and restrictions. The only problem is that Twitter is refusing implement a two step verification sign in process that would secure the privacy of its users. With a authoritative government such as Iran, this process is essential for the security of the citizens. This echoes our discussions related to whether platforms such as these can be defined as “Liberation Technologies” On the one hand, they are allowing for Iranian citizens to communicate with each other in ways that would be impossible to do before. But on the other, governments spying and restrictions through these platforms only add to the oppression.

    Titled “US Government Eases Sanctions to Allow Export of Personal Communications Tools to Sudan”, the story goes on to explain that Sudan citizens are now able to use smartphones, laptops, and network devices that were once restricted in the country. The lift of sanctions makes communication between Sudan citizens much easier, while giving a larger voice to the internet community of Sudan. The article continued to show exuberant tweets from individuals all over Sudan. While reading the article, I couldn’t hold back a sense of anger towards US foreign policy. Although these sanctions were directed at the country’s government, it had a direct impact on almost every connected individual. Despite the US’s illusion of being the global watchdog for liberation, examples like this show that a political agenda can come before civilian needs in foreign policy. It will be interesting to follow the future of the ban liftings. Will users now be able to communicate more freely with one another, using these devices as Liberation Technologies? Or will the governments of both the US and Sudan take advantage of the citizens by implementing restrictions that act as catalyst for oppression?

      Alita said:
      March 12, 2015 at 10:29 am

      I also read the article about the lifted sections in Sudan and couldn’t help but ponder some of the same issues. I debated the use of technology as a whole and whether I would still want it if I knew everything I looked up or sent out was being constantly surveilled. There is the argument that this is already happening to a lesser extent, but the overall question remains, is technology still a liberating form of communication if it being monitored, or is it just a new advanced form of oppression to watch dog our society?

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 12, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      Yes the observation about sanctions and who it actually affects is a major problem, it actually harms more than the intended outcome of constraining a dictatorship

      you can discuss more on the effects of such sanctions and how people have found ways of voicing political opinion in even the most repressed places on earth

        Alita said:
        March 18, 2015 at 11:07 am

        My best friend is currently studying in China for a semester and needed to purchase a ‘firewall breaker’ before we were able to get in touch. This intrigued me and I recently found an article about the “Great Firewall of China” and how ordinary people are accessing information on sensitive subjects such as Chinese human rights and Tibet that are normally banned on the Internet in China. In this article a great term, “hacktivists”, is used to describe the forerunners of Internet liberation technologies in China. It’s amazing and inspiring to see the lengths these people have gone to to be able to voice their political opinions.

    Grace Segrave said:
    March 13, 2015 at 7:35 am

    A Singapore blogger was fined heavily for his actions to stand up for anti-gay laws that he many still face today. He is also part of the LBGT movement in China, which to me is remarkable. I had no idea that these issues were even part of the social system in China and I am always impressed with citizen’s ability to stand up against the government even though they face endless punishment for their actions. Another man in Tamer Mabrouck in Egypt also faced a similar punishment in Egypt for his blog post about the environmental pollution that was happening within his country. He also asked his fellow citizens to stand up against Trust Chemical, so that this company would no longer pollute the lakes that were affecting people water and fish habitant. These stories of citizens around the word facing punishment from their government everyday but still refuse to be silenced and speak about what they think is important is impressive because this is something Americans never have to worry about. When we stand up for what we believe in all we have to worry is that fellow citizens will down upon us not that we will face taxes that would hurt us. These citizens are using the internet to their best ability and to get stories out there that people might not even know about and that is what power of the internet is all about. These peoples advocacy is impressive in a time of change.

    In this story about Nigeria Oluwakemi Ojo curated a 100 picture Instagram blog about how beautiful his country is. He says that we was getting sick of people associating his country with war and terror and is trying to put this project together to show exactly why the country s. His project is now known as “nature’s master piece”. Here he is using the power of social media to show other nations what his country has to offer, he shows his national pride for a country that is often looked down upon. Another use of social media that I believe to very powerful and sad that many Americans might not see is the use Egyptians standing up against ISIS. After every scary video ISIS tried to release to scare the people Egyptians are staking a stand and creating their own videos. It has turned “into a joke among social media users in Egypt” ( I believe that this movement is an accommodating one. The young generations of citizens are showing that they’re not going to be scared and submissive of the attacks that this group is doing, instead they are shoving it back in their faces. They are proving that this group has no authority even though they try to continuously prove it. These uplifting and brave acts show that the young generation of the world can work together to take a stance!

      reed mcleod said:
      March 13, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      It seems that satire has been a reoccurring topic of discussion when confronting oppressive regimes. I am curious on why the use of comedy is such an effective tool. Why are activism groups resorting to satire when dealing with oppressive regimes as opposed to other methods?

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 14, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      do you think that cyberspace has united like minded activists globally? and what would be the outcome of such an alliance?

      Ryan Hackett said:
      March 18, 2015 at 11:21 am

      Awesome article here about how social media can make a negative situation into a positive one. Spreading the word and posting pictures of Nigeria by depicting how nice it is makes people in a sense forget about all of the awful atrocities that ISIS has imposed. It is also interesting to see citizens of Egypt taking a different perspective, rather than being afraid, they joke and poke fun at the terrorist group. It is funny to see in the article, that people are mocking ISIS by remixing their main song that they use in every video that they post. My only concern is the unpredictable nature of ISIS and their vicious ways. By making fun of the way they operate, I would not be surprised if they were to take some sort of violent action. But all in all, the nature in which Egyptian citizens are handling this is nice to see.

        cyberoutpost responded:
        March 18, 2015 at 11:24 am

        you can actually elaborate on this, it seems pretty interesting coming from the Arab world

    Reed Mcleod said:
    March 13, 2015 at 8:10 am

    I believe we can tie Alita’s article into this debate. People living within repressive regimes have restored to music to not only tell their story but express their political opinions. Using art as a form of political expression is not a new method but one that is widely excepted (reminds me of the Chinese satirical story that we read about a week before). With the lifting of the sanctions, I would not be surprised to see a similar form of activism throughout the music industry.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 14, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Yes satire and even music has been all aspects of significant political articulations and expressions, cyberspace has enhanced the capability of artists to be politically active and also for states to repress such expression, you can keep the discussion open about the impact of global political activism and its artistic expressions

        Grace Segrave said:
        March 17, 2015 at 3:24 pm

        This form of art and politics really makes me think of the Wall that separates Palestine and Israel. This wall symbolizes a separation of politics and religion. This wall also symbolizes a hardship and destruction but some of the destruction that on the wall itself shows is a romantic notion of art and peace keeping. As the fight between the two nations continues people have begun to paint nonviolent pictures on the wall to help end the fight and create a state of peace. This use of art is one that shows the nations that the citizens will destroy a wall that generates hate and will fill it with art of nonaggressive power and truth, which can be helpful in a fight that is so destructive. It gives people something to go off of and feel inspired. I think art Is the most powerful because it hit the depth of the human sole that make people feel motivated for change

      Alita said:
      March 18, 2015 at 11:18 am

      I am currently taking an Israeli- Palestine class focussing on the rhetoric surrounding the conflict. We have listened to translated exerts from both Israeli and Palestinian songs and they both fully utilize this form of media. We came to the conclusions that artist will produce materials based on prevalent issues in their lives, the conflict in these areas is prevalent to a wide net of people. The difference we have seen is that in the US is that there are few large all encompassing issues that cross all lines of gender, race, social status, economic issues ect. that all people can find solace in music together, at least recently. Here is a compiled list of some of the most important political songs have been (note, not many modern songs):

      1. Woody Guthrie – “This Land is your Land”
      2. The Special AKA – “Free Nelson Mandela”
      3. Bob Dylan – “The Times they are a-Changin'”
      4. Billie Holiday – “Strange Fruit”
      5. Claude de Lisle – “La Marseillaise”
      6. U2 – “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
      7. Eugène Pottier – “The Internationale”
      8. Robert Wyatt/Elvis Costello – “Shipbuilding”
      9. Sex Pistols – “God Save the Queen”
      10. William Blake – “Jerusalem”
      11. The Who – “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
      12. Rage Against the Machine – “Killing in the Name”
      13. Tracy Chapman – “Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution”
      14. Nina Simone – “Mississippi Goddam”
      15. Marvin Gaye – “What’s Going On?”
      16. Gil Scott-Heron – “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”
      17. Bob Marley – “Redemption Song”
      18. John Lennon – “Imagine”
      19. Pete Seeger – “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”
      20. Tom Robinson – “Glad to be Gay”

        cyberoutpost responded:
        March 18, 2015 at 11:23 am

        Alita, this is a nice compilation and great to keep the conversation going and you can actually pick some of your favorite songs and discuss the political impact of them and also you can look at people view these songs on popular internet sources

        Alita said:
        March 18, 2015 at 6:05 pm

        Professor Vidanage, I was very interested in this topic when we discussed it in my Israeli- Palestine conflict. On the political level very few negative things were ever said about “This Land is your Land” by Woody Guthrie. For this reason when I was in middle school my teachers would let us say the pledge of allegiance or by remain silent. While many of us, even in middle school, did not feel comfortable saying the national anthem, especially the “one nation under god” verse, we all happily sung “This Land is your Land” every friday afternoon before school let out. I feel this song, and some others on the list impose less and more open to interpretation for he general public, and in these ways can be very politically effective.

        cyberoutpost responded:
        March 18, 2015 at 6:28 pm

        That is a very interesting revelation, how public connect with music/songs and their implicit political impact

    Andrew Wanamaker said:
    March 15, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    I chose to read the article “Leaked Wire Taps Appear to Confirm Election Fraud Suspicions in Macedonia” written by Danica Radisic. This article claims to take a stance on the political instability that the Macedonia government is corrupt and illegitimate. The Wire Tapping Scandal is shaking up the political scene since mid February earlier this year when opposition Leader Zoran Zaev and the representatives of his Social-Democratic Party have already held presses leaking the the “seventh bomb” tapes to confirm the allegations of election fraud during the 2014 elections. Time Minister Gruevski’s party claimed the victory through fraud but very few people are actually aware. One of the pressing issues here is that there is a lot of fear that if one group of people uprise and speak out they are at risk and fear the Macedonian government because of some threats that have target media outlets and charged them with defamation lawsuits. Liberates and Okno two online news magazine portals have targeted the government and released the production of fake voters in a small portion outside of Albania. Liberating technologies like twitter have helped bring this scandalous event to the public in which people are now questioning how legit their government is. Journalist Vladimir Petreski pointed out in a twitter statement that “there is no free #media outlet in #Macedonia with capacity to translate & publish wiretaps in English for internaitonal audiences. None. This was on March 9, 2015 and just after looking at the message it only appeared that there was 5 retweets and 1 favorite which go to show many citizens may not have full access to these liberating technologies that bring out the certain flaws in society. However towards the end of the article I noticed that when certain individuals released the wire tap frauds articles which @tanjatania did “…no reaction yet on macedonia Prime Ministers election Fraud..?” there was 23 retweets and 14 facilities. The power of twitter has helped the public gain some public knowledge by spreading messages and ideas and the fact that the opposition holds weekly press conferences; also further illustrates that the government is being confronted and realizes that Nikola Gruevski is being challenged.

    The second article I chose on Global Voices was “Political Pollution Polarizes Public Opinion Over China’s Environmental Crisis.” This article was quite interesting because once again it goes to show that the only way for certain government regimes to respond to flaws within the system that are posted on social media is to remove the stories. “Under the Dome” is a documentary about the air pollution crisis in China which was produced by state Media CCTV reporter Chai Jing. According to the article the 200 million views goes to show the power that the internet and liberating technologies plays in developing countries. The problem with documentaries like this is that they often exaggerate and lead to “junk science” however there is a good meaning to films like this because often people misunderstand how important are environment is. In “ An Inconvenient Truth” we are presented with many important concepts and ideas that pertain to what has lead up to the eco environmental disturbances and also the effects that we may be presented with in the near future. However it is interesting in this case regarding “Under the Dome” that it was removed after the opening of the National People’s Congress. Sina Webio a famous twitter critic make a good statement that “ i even hope that she will benefit from the documentary, which would encourage more people to take up the cause.” Currently I am taking Introduction to Environmental Politics and a Chinese international student did a current event presentation on air pollution. She made a statement that really intrigued by saying that “people often say it is 5x harder to breath over there in the cities compared to the Untied States.” She also noted that it is difficult in an up and coming society to maintain stability across all sectors and that due to the increasing demand for energy it has poised a problem for the government. However by censoring topics like this, leave us with a problem that many people will turn blind to. The main argument I have for these points made on our environment is that the general public should be aware and have access to social media to further learn about the consequences, because if everyone worked together to show more appreciation we could go a long way before it is too late.Clearly there needs to be better communication between the government and general population in order to further enhance public policy, however due to the early stages of the internet there is a finite line between what is accepted and not accepted over social media.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 15, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Do you think in reference to the finite line you mention that there is a sense of confusion emerging in the information realm which may actually not help better State service delivery and understanding of citizen expectations?

    Andrew Wanamaker said:
    March 16, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    I believe that there is a sense of confusion between the state and citizens of less developed countries. Many people
    In the world have no idea how democratically free we are. If you are a good citizen who abides by the law there is almost no reason to worry about your privacy rights or freedom of speech being taken away by the government. If we see a video like “An Inconvenient Truth” we babe the right to look up both sides of the debate and build our own ideogy with whether we agree or not. It appears that in China and many other countries there is confusion between what is right and inaccurate because the government wants you think what they think. Also I would say that compared to our American schools who touch on both sides of controversial
    Debates, China probably tries to brainwash you at an early age in school to not speak out against the government. Since we have the Internet that is essentially neutral in the United States we are able to research beyond the parameters that are restricted in other countries that are not democracies.

    Ibrahim Khan said:
    March 16, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    The Ban on “India Daughter”(documentary) brings India’s Sons into focus” is the first article I read. India’s Daughter depicts inhumane mind set of convicted rapists regarding gender issues. It is a documentary about a brutal gang rape in 2012 of a 23 year old student on a moving bus who passed away after a few weeks due to excessive internal injuries. In order to bring her justice there were numerous protests then and even now after the documentary was banned recently by the government which feels the film has “objectionable content”. In the documentary, the convicted criminal, Mukesh Singh states that a “woman is more responsible of rape then men, and women should not fight back when being raped”. At another incidence he has reported to have said “A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. Boy and girl are not equal. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes”. The sad truth is that two lawyers also share the same mind set as Mukesh.
    This is not only the problem in India, but also in other neighboring countries in that region. The usual response a girl gets if she is harassed is “what were you doing there”? “why were you even there”? ” take another route next time” Years after years, people have been conditioned to respond in a way that makes the victim seem like the problem, and everything else being normal justifiable behavior, such as Mukesh’s and his companions act. The good sign is that change seems to be have arrived. Even after being banned by the government, the film was shown in Mukesh’s village which is a poor area and people are very uneducated. There is a need for documentaries, protests and articles like these to change the barbaric mind set of millions of people like Mukesh and the two lawyers. And it seems India has managed to succeed after this incident to raise awareness initially by simply informing and discussing about such topics and importantly after teaching people of this mind set a lesson by putting Mukesh and party behind bars waiting to be punished for their crime.

    The second article that caught my attention is “These Photos of Filipino Children Working in Mines and on Sugar Plantations Will Make You Cry”. The article gives insights about the growing number of child labor in Philippines and the alarming working conditions they are exposed to. In 2011 it was reported that 5.5 million children were working, and 2.9 million were working in dangerous industries such as mining and plantations. Eiler, an institute for labor research recently learned that these children are exposed to unfriendly working conditions. Children are kept away from their parents for two weeks to a month in plantation industry where they are directly exposed to dangerous chemicals like Agro. In the mining industry, children work with dangerous substandard tools and are regularly given illegal drugs to stay awake and work longer hours. All of this is resulting in making children a case of hopelessness and despair. The article shows what a former child labor has to say of her experience and feelings. “I was ten years old when I stopped going to school. I have lost hope that I might still go back to school, and I thought to myself that I would be a singer instead. I usually sing to endure and forget the feeling of pain and fatigue from working in plantation. It has been four years since I stopped schooling. I only reached the sixth grade level and then had to stop so I could work”. To bring these children out of this state of hopelessness, EILER is working hard to eliminate child labor in the country. The most important feature of EILER is the program “return to school” which takes out children from these working conditions and helps them get back to school. EILER reported that 900,000 children left school to work, and getting them back will not be easy without getting support from people. Articles like these will bring attention to the issue, and hopefully EILER will get support to for the noble cause it has been working for since years and provide children a chance to get education rather than working as slaves.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 17, 2015 at 11:50 am

      you can also discuss the importance of cyberspace and outlets like global voices that bring stories such as you mentioned both with governance implications and discuss the impact it has on governments and states

        Ibrahim Khan said:
        March 17, 2015 at 9:26 pm

        Outlets like global voices certainly has impact on governments and states. For instance the Indian government at the highest level is aware of the protests taking place for the horrific incident that took place in 2012. With cyberspaces like global voices, the whole world has its eyes on the state watching how it would react towards the situation. So there is this pressure which the government would be facing. The people in India want a change in the mind set and they have a platform such as global voices to raise their voices not only attaining attention in India but the whole world. Therefore the government is forced not to take aggressive decisions even though they do not support the documentary. Whether the ban on the documentary was a good move or not will be known in the coming future. Will the protesters accept defeat or come back with a stronger force using cyberspace and further challenge the government, who knows.

        Similarly programmes like EILER working against child labor has a strong source to spread awareness and inform the world what is happening in Philippines. Their message reaches every corner of the world through cyberspaces like global voices. This makes it difficult for firms and industries to encourage child labor as well as pressurizes and gets attention of the state which might have kept ignoring the issue if cyberspaces like global voice did not exist.

        In examples such as these, global voices empowers people of the country to exercise democracy practically. Any growing issue concerning the people of a country needs to be solved by the state by reacting and playing its role. If that is not being done, people have access to cyberspaces and raise their voice to make things happen by forcing the state to take action.

    Joe said:
    March 17, 2015 at 10:32 am

    The article I chose was focused on Muslims in America, and how they are being treated in regards to “security” of other Americans. The article focuses on the three day international summit convening in the White House that is focusing on the Counter Violence Extremists. The problem with this is the focus seems to be directed just at Muslims and the state of Islam in the United States.
    Many Islamic activists have taken serious offense to the CTE act that is being discussed because they feel as if they are being targeted by the American Government without justification. WIth over 2 million muslims in our country they feel that it is unfair to have such a critical focus on them, and it has caused them to feel unsafe in the world they are living in. The article goes on to discuss the three muslim students at Chapel Hill who were murdered. Were they terrorist extremists? No.
    However one has to be able to see both sides of the equation. America seems to have an infamous history, especially in the past couple decades with Islamic extremists posing a terrorist threat to our country. September 11th 2001 is a day that will never be forgotten by any american as one of the most ruthless terrorist attacks in our countries history. The attacks of 9/11 have been linked backed to the Muslim community although not domestically. Another example is the Boston Bombings that took place during the 2013 boston marathon. This was a case of a domestic terrorist attack that can be linked back to the Muslim Community.
    The biggest threat on the United States right now may very well be ISIS. the ISIS organization is fueling this the CTE act, as they are a ruthless and dangerous group. The misconception about ISIS is that they represent the Muslim community. That is not true. The article points out that it is Muslims who are being killed by ISIS and it is the Muslim community who are taking arms against the ISIS group. They dislike ISIS just as much as we do, so it is unfair to automatically link the two together.
    With that said, I still feel the need for the CVE act to go through. I am afraid of ISIS and I do see the link between the Muslim community and ISIS. Thats not to say that we should be profiling anyone of feed into the “Islamophobia” but I think we need to be aware of our history with Islamic Extremists, and make sure that we are safe at home from them. It is a very touchy subject, and it certainly violates the civil rights of many Muslims, but should it be done?

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 17, 2015 at 11:52 am

      well i get the ambivalence you feel towards the security paradox facing the US, but you also can discuss the impact of web spaces such as global voices in providing exposure and to a certain aspect protecting civil rights of all

        Joe said:
        March 18, 2015 at 11:06 am

        Right, I failed to mention the role of technology in my first post. The impact of webspaces such as twitter plays a huge role in protecting the civil rights of the muslim american community especially in this article. Twitter allows muslims to voice their opinion and potentially gather enough other people who share their point of view to make a difference. The article shares Maher Arar, Sana Saeed, Wajahat Ali, and Haroon Moghul’s twitter posts. All of their posts on twitter serve as their way of using liberation technologies. Twitter serves as a way that they can voice their beliefs and share it with millions of other people.

      Ibrahim Khan said:
      March 18, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      I can understand why Muslims would take it as a serious offence and I also understand that the U.S needs to deal with the threat. The offence starts when Muslims are painted with the same brush as the article points out. When a majority is looked upon with suspicious for the acts of a minute minority, naturally that’s where taking offence ignites.Especially when the majority of the Muslim world is against groups like ISIS and wants to bring an end to these people as soon as possible, when this majority is put in the same basket as ISIS, then that majority is offended. But then again security is more important than getting offended.
      As time passes, I think there will be a need to come up with a fair way of dealing with American Muslims regarding security issues as I am sure they want to eliminate groups like ISIS with the same intensity as the government.

    Ryan Hackett said:
    March 17, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    The first article I chose was about 5 feminists in China that were arrested on March 12th. The women were arrested for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” Since their arrest the five women have gone missing according to the article. Authorities in China have released minimal information regarding the issue and word is beginning to spread amongst mainstream media. The issue at hand is significant as it comes before the International Women’s Day. China has been known for withholding information from the public, but since word has gotten out about these women, the public has shown proactive awareness. Through several media outlets including facebook, twitter, and tumblr, individuals are spreading awareness. Activists in China are posting pictures and statements demanding the release of the women. These posts have spread all across the world and the hashtag freethefive has become increasingly popular. Through these social media outlets 50 local civic groups and 2,500 people have signed a petition demanding these women to be released by March 21st. Currently a session on the Status of Women is taking place at league of nations, as they are reviewing the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action which has to do with gender equality. This is a significant impact at hand because China is in a sense suppressing women’s equality by restricting their voices and shielding them from society by putting them in jail. With abundance of information that is withheld from the outside world, this is one of the instances that we truly see how China takes action towards certain issues.

    The other article that I chose was related to the second murder of a journalist in Colombia within a span of 3 weeks. The journalist murdered was Edgar Quintero who was 57 years old. Quintero was the program for the popular Colombian show News and More on Radio Luna. News hit media outlets, as people on twitter quickly expressed their feelings through twitter. The threat was felt amongst the media community as many criticized the ongoing murders of Colombian reporters. The issue at hand is quite large because when a reporter is killed it restricts the audience of vital information. The media is our main outlet of information and when those members of the media are killed, it effects society deeply. One individual on twitter posted a picture saying, “When a journalist is silenced, your right to know is silenced.” Basically reiterating the point I made earlier. Several organizations have taken to the web demanding an in depth investigation regarding this murder, as to why Colombian citizens are killing innocent media members. The Committee of to Protect Journalists came out with a statement depicting past instances related to journalists being murdered in Colombia. It stated “between the years of 1980 and 2012, 27 journalists have been murdered in the province of Caqueta…Colombia is the second deadliest country in the Americas when it comes to participating in journalism.” These are staggering statistics and the lack of media attention is discouraging. I feel as though the notion of Colombia is that it is a violent country, so the overall opinion towards this issue is, what do you expect? But that is no excuse. These members of the media are essential in releasing important information to the public and without them we would be deprived of critical data.

      Jonathan Wagner said:
      March 18, 2015 at 11:17 am

      Ryan, for your first article, any ideas what these “picking quarrels and provoking troubles”? I read a similar article concerning women’s rights in China. On March 7th several women were arrested for promoting women’s equality and trying to spread awareness of sexual harassment. The worst thing is that these women were arrested on the eve of International Women’s day. These articles I feel are defiantly linked and I hope Social Media continues to spread the stories of these women because it is unacceptable.

        Ryan Hackett said:
        March 18, 2015 at 11:25 am

        Hey Jonathan how are we? The only idea of picking quarrels and provoking troubles that I can think of, would have to be that they were voicing their opinion in public, and those opinions went against authoritative views. China has a strong sense of censorship of speech and will do anything in their power to punish individuals who go against their views. If that means putting them in jail and not releasing them out back in to society, they will do so.

    Nick Moffitt said:
    March 17, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    After reading the article titled “Back-to-back Murders of Journalists Raise Concerns in Colombia”, I couldn’t help but to think about the degree of danger that comes from being a journalist. When a journalist works he/she is developing and displaying controversial ideas that can be debated in various ways. When something a journalist worked on is put on the web on in a paper everyone can see and interpret those articles in their own manner, many of which will take offense to it. For those that do not agree it can be motivation to voice their own opinions in a dangerous way. For example, the two murders in Columbia within a three week period. Edgar Quintero and Luis Peralta were the two journalists killed and investigators believe the murderers were enemies or opposed to Peralta and Quintero.

    The second article I found interesting was from the advocacy website titled “Vietnam: Communist Party Leaders Struggle Over Social Media”. From what I could analyze from the article the idea of the Vietnamese citizens having access to social media, specifically Facebook doesn’t bode well with the government. The article was written by David Brown who is a retired US diplomat that spent a lot of time in Southeast Asia, so he knows first hand what kind of situation this really is. Censorship in communist countries is an unhealthy concept. In this case the communist government in Vietnam is worried that its citizens will use social media to undermine the leaders of the countries. A quote I found striking from the article was “More than 30 million Vietnamese insist on getting their news from the Internet. That’s something we cannot prohibit.” This quote just validates my point about the government being scared that they will be undermined by its people if the obtain access to Facebook and other social media outlets.

      Zayn Thompson said:
      March 18, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      Moffit, I also agree that the life of a journalist has some serious risks, especially in places where the regime is not popular but still in power. We hear stories of journalists and activists “disappearing” in places like Russia, because it is very dangerous to be a prominent, loud activist in those places. Recently the leader in a top opposition group, Boris Nemstov, was killed, which further demonstrates the dangers of being a prominent figure in activism. As a journalist, you will always have enemies who disagree, and now it seems as if having opinions in these countries is dangerous.

        Nick Ford said:
        March 18, 2015 at 11:05 pm

        Nick, I thought you picked a great article to discuss, as it is a very tough issue. Journalists have a difficult job because many articles and opinions posted can be controversial, which can cause serious backlash.

        Zayn, you make a good point by saying how in some countries stories that are posted and revealed may not coincide with the governing bodies. Because of this, journalist have faced the danger of those who have opposing views.

        When looking at this issue, do you think the privacy of journalists needs to be more closely reviewed?Should journalism move to anonymity to protect the well being of journalist so they can continue to freely write without the worry of danger that could arise?

      Joe said:
      March 18, 2015 at 10:16 pm

      Perhaps it is a good thing that social media is serving as a strong form of liberation technology in communist areas like vietnam. I think that it is very possible that a social media uprising could happen. Social media serves as a tool to connect people, and if enough people agree that the government is doing things wrong, there is no reason why they cant get together to form a rebellion. I believe the future of social media may include uprisings sparked by gathering people together with the same beliefs about a government, and i think it is a great tool to have. It is truely a form of liberation technology.
      I think that it is also very important to keep in mind the risk and reward factor of being a member of social media or in the other case, a journalist writing about a controversial topic. That is the risk one must take to make a difference in todays world.

    Louie Freda said:
    March 17, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    I enjoy following sports and I was aware of some of the controversy surrounding Qatar’s 2022 bid to host the World Cup. After reading, “For Nepali Migrant Workers, the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar Is a Game of Death” I was completely taken aback, I had no idea it was so bad. According to the article last year in Qatar, a migrant worker died every two days. And Qatar is spending $220 Billion on the World Cup but many Nepalese are not being paid or earning considerably less than a dollar a day. Many citizens fled Nepal because if a violent Maoist insurgency and because Nepal suffers from large-scale poverty. In Qatar, Nepalese migrants account for 400,000 of the 1.4 million migrant workers in the country. Qatar has significant political implications in the US because Al Udeid Air Base, the location of US Central Command, is in Qatar. Human rights groups have used technology, specifically Twitter and YouTube to spread the word about the Khalifa regime and their blatant human rights abuses. These technologies allow the global community to learn and see for themselves the damage being done in Qatar, they are a step towards liberalizing Qatar, but only a step.

      Zoë said:
      March 18, 2015 at 12:12 am

      It is interesting to consider the two sides of a huge global event like the World Cup. On one side, it is the most watched sports event in the world. This means so many things for widespread spectatorship, support, and rivalry. It means a lot for the host country, as you mentioned that Qatar is planing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on the event, but there is a darker side to potential commercialism. As with many other highly commercialized events, Qatar’s investment in the World Cup will not be wasted as plenty of tourists will likely spend money on traveling to enjoy the game. Some of the people however have to be marginalized for profits, again, as with many other commercialized events or products. Disregard for human rights such as the ones you’ve mentioned throughout this article are often hidden from all too many people who could do something about it. Hopefully as the 2022 World Cup approaches, the online activism will increase and become public knowledge and progress.

        cyberoutpost responded:
        March 18, 2015 at 10:30 am

        It is going to be interesting to see how a state manages its own image despite its duality to human rights and what cyber activism can gain from large scale events such as a Foot Ball World Cup.

        Mike Gellman said:
        March 18, 2015 at 3:28 pm

        Zoe agree with your analysis of the two sides of the World Cup. Something I would like to point out though is that countries that host the World Cup often don’t make money, especially if they have to build things like stadiums and hotels in order to host it. FIFA is actually the only one that tends to make money off the World Cup and it normally increases local and federal debt in the host country. It makes sense why Qatar is cutting back on things like safety precautions for workers because they are trying to keep their margins as close as possible. It’s very questionable why Qatar wanted to the World Cup in the first place and somewhat disturbing that FIFA thought it was a good idea to give it to them. Like you said, hopefully activism increases and maybe it will cause something to be done about these working conditions.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 10:06 am

      I like the insights you have brought out in this post, you actually can elaborate on some of them more, especially the role of Qatar in the regional and global politics

        Zoë said:
        March 18, 2015 at 12:30 pm

        Ideally, Qatar would be playing a dynamic role in preparing for the event. Knowing that it is bound to draw attention leading up to the event, Qatar would create better systems of production and installation for the event that do not include the marginalization and mistreatment of migrant workers. Unfortunately, in this situation and many others, the kind of human rights violation that is intertwined with cheap labor is inevitable. The conflict between knowing that billions of dollars are invested and knowing that there are many workers who get less than a small fraction of it (or the profit) is not something new. It happens in many countries at the hands of plenty of profitable transnational corporations. The only positive part is that we have the Internet to advocate for issues like that we definitely wouldn’t have known about without activist journalism.

        Louie Freda said:
        March 18, 2015 at 1:40 pm

        Qatar’s geopolitical power is tentative, the countries majorsource of wealth is centered on oil and the US alliance is one of US nessecity instead of US choice. To increase legitimacy and geopolitical power, espically in the Middle East, Qatar spent billions to win the bid for the FIFA World Cup. The international community should use this as a barraging tool to achieve more liberalization in country. I believe that Qatar is desperate enough for the World Cup to agree to some reforms to keep the tournament in country. The US and the international community have unique leverage over a regime when none existed before, they should use it to encourage the protection of basic human rights.

      Ryan Hackett said:
      March 18, 2015 at 10:14 am

      Louie very interesting article. The situation in Qatar is quite baffling in regards to how inhumane these workers are treated. As you stated 2 are dying a day. Also I saw a piece on real sports I believe, on the living conditions of these migrant workers. They house them in horrendous conditions without showers or toilets and make them work upwards of 18 hours a day. Reminds me of this past world cup in Brazil where workers were dying on daily basis due to treacherous working conditions.

        Alita said:
        March 18, 2015 at 11:42 am

        Apart from the humanity issues that come with events like the Wold Cup and the Olympics, political changes also impact the hosting areas. I recently read an article about how the 2008 Olympics in China negatively effected the political freedoms the people there have. The author theorized that the games resulted in a shift in Chinese politics from progress and change to “control and stability preservation”. The necessary changes that Beijing had to go through to prepare its self for the games altered the freedoms people were given and created a hyper cautious atmosphere. Apart from the dollars and cents, and humanistic effects large events can also alter political freedoms and liberation accessibility for people.

        Grace Segrave said:
        March 18, 2015 at 5:02 pm

        That is a very interesting fact Alita about the olympics. In my environmental tourism class we talked about that exact problem in China. We also talked about the fact that the olympics negatively affects the economy and the people as well. And what many do not realize is that nations are not wanting to host the games anymore because it leaves them in a deficit. The games requires a large amount of money to be poured into building stadiums that hold the sporting events but aren’t needed after the olympics. Once the games are done these buildings are not necessary and the government has spent millions on buildings that are only need for a short period of time and not spent on the millions of people that need health care, food, and so on. The games in China left thousands angry and broken.

    Zoë said:
    March 18, 2015 at 12:04 am

    This headline proves the effects and emphasis of activism online. I was not sure it would relate to other case studies in the class, as I was not familiar with Panama’s politics or social media presence. As it turned out, it was another perfect example of the internet as a provider of an open space for which regular people can unite and have a say in politics. I hadn’t thought about defining this as a “butterfly effect” until after I read about the cascade of events detailed in the article. The butterfly effect is actually a perfect title, as politicians’ actions can now present a series of events through the ways in which the public closely watch and respond to them with the help of the internet. I think that the most important part of this is that the internet brings information about politics local and global to everyone, which also allows everyone to publicly react and respond. The Panamanian lawmaker who the article focuses on, Zulay Rodriguez, responded to the internet backlash as politicians now must, even after making a public apology. I think that the internet provides an indispensable vehicle for public opinion and for forcing politicians to take note.

    Similarly, this article proves that support of political issues is more widely offered globally through social media on the internet. In this case, many students in Myanmar protested a new law on education that would likely limit academic freedom by giving most of the authority to a military-backed civilian government. The protesters were stopped brutally by government force. Instead of this not making news at all, a Facebook page brought the issue to light. The article includes plenty of pictures of different people from various countries around the world showing their support with photos of themselves holding their own protest-esque posters that read their statement of support and their home country. Some of the global supporters include their name or certain words describing their support; one woman writes that she is “proud” of the students. According to the article, the Facebook page backs up the several photos shown in the article with over 20,000 likes. Rapidly sharing photos and short stories of activism to many people at once can get incredible responses like this. It is not the first time that we have seen Facebook pages as points of support where many people come together for a pressing issue, and it will not be the last.

      Ryan Hackett said:
      March 18, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Zoe great article choice. The government in Myanmar reminds me much of the Chinese government because of the restrictions they put upon their citizens, regarding freedom of speech. This article reminds me of the article I chose about the five Chinese women that were arrested by authoritative members because of their stance on feminism. But through social media, word has spread rapidly to release these women. As the hashtag freethefive has become very popular amongst the twitter and facebook communities. In accordance to your article, limiting academic freedom will only continue their narrow stance on education and deprive their citizens of expanding their knowledge towards different areas of society. In these cases members of society can use social media to their advantage to promote positive change in their cultures. These governments fear that social media will reveal the truths in which they have operated and therefore will do anything in their power to restrict freedom of speech and education.

        Zoë said:
        March 18, 2015 at 12:21 pm

        I also ended up reading the article about the five Chinese women. It is very interesting that all of these stories relate because of the importance of technology as a new space for social output. These stories wouldn’t surface for us as readers has the various support groups not made waves using Internet activism. I agree with you that in oppressive government arenas, the power of the Internet can be exponential as a new realm for freedoms. The fact that global support follows as well is also important for advocacy.

    Jonathan Wagner said:
    March 18, 2015 at 10:56 am

    While looking over the countless of articles, the first one that caught my eye was about the World Cup. In 2022 the World Cup will be held in Qatar, and is considered to be the world’s most popular sporting event. This article caught my eye because I love following European football, but most importantly I have heard of some issues in Qatar but was not fully aware of what was going on. Over the past couple years Qatar has focused much of its government funding and workers to build a world known stadium for the 2022 World Cup. The issue at hand revolves around human rights issues. For the past two years migrant workers from India and Nepal have died in Qatar trying to build this stadium. A horrific quote from the article states that, “last year in Qatar, a migrant workers from Nepal died every two days.” The concerning thing about these deaths is that Qatar has not published or collected statistics about the deaths of the migrant workers. The truth about why these migrant workers were dying was spread through mainstream media. A video shows the poor living conditions these migrant workers live in. The video is very graphic and very upsetting. These families live in-migrant working camps with up to 600 other Nepal workers. On many occasions these workers are not paid but are made to work. This is known as forced labor, or also modern day slavery. With no food, water, or clothing many of these workers die. Through YouTube the stories of these migrant workers from Nepal have spread throughout the world. Protest have immerged to help fight for human rights for these migrant workers. I believe this story is so important because the World Cup is set on a worldwide stage. Everyone watches these games and if people were to see how this stadium was built in Qatar, I believe that not only would fans protest the World Cup but also the players. As of right now the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is being discussed by FIFA if it should be moved. Through mainstream media we can help in the protest against Qatar and have the World Cup moved to a new location.

    The second article I looked at is title, China Harasses Women Activists on the Eve of International Women’s Day. This article caught my attention because as I read further into the article I found out that in 1995 China hosted the United Nations’ Fourth World Women Conference. The Chinese government asserting to uphold human rights of women and girls however, they arrest women of the eve of International Women’s day. This article states that seven women were arrest on March 7th for trying to promote equality and women’s rights. The campaign planned by the women was only going to post stickers on public transportation to encourage citizens to stand up against sexual harassment. Once the women were arrested and were missing, people took to twitter and social media about what happened. One tweet stated that Beijing police broke into the apartment of women’s rights defenders and took them away on the spot. They have been missing for twelve hours. This story is so significant because China is restricting the opinions of women. I am just very bemused about why China would arrest several women for promoting equality and to say no to sexual harassment on the eve of International Women’s day. Through social media this issue was spread throughout the world and can hopefully help women in China get the equality they are looking for.

      Grace Segrave said:
      March 18, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      John I think this is a very important fact to bring up especially because many women around the world are feeling the brunt end of a governments downfall on equality. I find it to be appalling that a government would allow such a day but arrest those who would take part. They should just not even have it in general if they are going to punish their people for taking part in it. It would make more sense just not to allow the event, but maybe they are just doing it for show. To show nations around the world that they have a kind of “equality” that their government and nation “supports”, when in reality they do not.

        Nick Ford said:
        March 18, 2015 at 10:25 pm

        Mr. Wagner, I read your post and think this was a great article to post for discussion in the forum. While the Chinese government is attempting to promote equality and women’s rights, they seem to be very hippocratic in exercise.

        Grace, I completely agree with what you said. Its appalling to think inequality and women’s rights is still a global issue. I think, because human rights is an ongoing issue in China, it is a great thing to promote women’s rights and voice, but if they are going to be punished it makes no sense. The article truly shows how far China and its government needs to come, as they clearly have unjust and immoral views on the issue.

        Mr. Wagner, do you think social media and communication technologies can continue to make a big enough impact and voice that can help the suffering voices of women to the point of permanent reform? What other ways do you think liberation technologies can be used to promotes human rights in China?

      jsroot11 said:
      March 18, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      Jonathan, great name. I to read the World cup article and after reading your comment, one word stuck to me the most, slavery. What is happening in Qatar, in my opinion is a possibility of slavery. I did not think of this initially when i read the article. If this is the case, do you feel the more important problem is the deaths of the napal workers, and the living conditions, or is the possibility of slavery. I am curios to know how this form of work would represent a case of slavery, and if it does what would the world do if the word slavery began to gain weight on social media and the FIFA World.

        Jonathan Wagner said:
        March 18, 2015 at 6:38 pm

        Hey Jonathan, I was hoping someone who bring this up in discussion. I used the word slavery in my article blog post because I feel as if the Nepal workers are trapped. Nepalese make up the highest numbers but lowest paid migrant workers in Qatar. In the video, it discusses how they are a part of a state run sponsorship system, which binds each worker to a single employer. They cannot leave their job or even the country without their employers permission. One man in the video who was forced to flee from the work camps in Qatar said he has nowhere to go and is always on the run. This system combined with the amount of debt the workers have in Nepal keeps them trapped in Qatar, working to build the 2022 World Cup Stadium. This is what forced labor is and why they also call it modern day slavery. Again, the poor living conditions are a very important problem in Qatar but if the word slavery gained weight in the social media, people from all over would join together in protest against the 2022 World Cup. This is just not acceptable and Qatar must be hold accountable

      Ibrahim Khan said:
      March 18, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      Jonathan, very interesting article about Qatar. I saw a video last year about how Nepali workers are treated in the Middle East. It is unbelievable. The use of the word slavery is appropriate in this context as workers are not able to leave unless their employers allow, The video I saw gave insight of extreme poor working and living conditions, and alarmingly low wages. The article above exposes a more serious issue i.e. that workers are dying on a regular basis. All over the world media prepares its fans of how exciting and glamorous world cup will be but none focuses on what happens behind the scenes preparing for the glamorous event. I think cyberspace can play a very big role in ending this cruelty by addressing the issue to the world cup fan base, which will inform millions of people around the world who would have never known what labors and their families experience.

    Louie Freda said:
    March 18, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    “Facebook, one of the most popular social networks in Russia, reported that content restriction requests from the Russian government increased nearly two-fold during the second half of 2014.”
    It appears that the Putin regime seems to be cracking down on Facebook posts about “unsanctioned mass riots/marches” and content “violating the integrity of the Russian Federation.” This story is important because it clearly illustrates that Russians are not happy with the way the regime is governing. Politically it has few implications in Russia, liberation technology has not been able to surpass the efforts of the government to censor citizen opinions. The government recognizes that with a single tweet or post opposition leaders or everyday citizens can reach thousands of people quicker than the government can respond. Internationally however, I think the implications are significant. It tells western leaders in the US and UN that heavy sanctions on Russian territorial aggression are succeeding in creating domestic unrest. Facebook and other social media sites are spaces, in a liberal democracy where citizens can have access to alternative spaces for expression. When Russia limits their access I believe it will only worsen the problem because Russians will go from limited options to vent about social issues to none.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      interesting observation, what I see is a significant increase in content filtering by many states in the world now, but also websites like globalvoices do carry these stories, thus there are always alternatives but this is a worrying trend, if you have time focus on Turkey and see if there are stories on Turkey, it is worst than in Russia!

        Andrew Wanamaker said:
        March 18, 2015 at 3:36 pm

        I found an interesting article about Russia and how they just recently vamped up their internet monitoring with “gone digital” against independent voices. We are seeing a common trend that you can be prosecuted or even found guilty just by association with liking groups, or getting tagged in certain social media outlets. Yevgeniya Vychigina from Perm Russia was prosecuted and fined for being tagged by a friend in a extremist video on Vkontakte despite not even being in the video or supporting the videos message. What this case essentially proves in Russia is the absurd and alarming scope of internet censorship. However like I have mentioned many times we are in the early stages and there are very few rules regarding the internet and it is often up to prosecutors to define what that narrow line between what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. What really interested me about this article was that if you have over 3,000 unique visitors on a blog you must register it with authorities. Due to the governments extreme fear they have gone as far as getting rid of adobe. There is clearly no net neutrality here in Russia as their freedom of speech is greatly jeopardized. It is not right that activists are harassed and in the near future i see more repercussions for the general public. This is not just the case for Russia but as you have mentioned it is in other countries. There has always been public protest but because of the internist tremendous capabilities, the power of words have never been so strong in the 21st century.
        Article: Don’t get tagged in Social Media in Russia

      Zayn Thompson said:
      March 18, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Louie, I too found this article interesting. It is concerning that the Russian government is asking for more censorship among political opposition. Perhaps the Russian government is feeling the heat and are trying to take suppression to a new level. But, the big thing I took from this was that Facebook officials stated that they would no longer block any protest-related material in Russia, which is somewhat of a liberation and is definitely a positive thing.

      Zayn Thompson said:
      March 18, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      I also found another article about how Russian suppression of free speech has been increasing over the past year. There have been multiple laws passed through legislation recently, one of which is to limit the momentum an activist can get. Anyone with over 3,000 views daily on their website (which is actually a very easy number to surpass) are required to join a state registry. Coupled with the data retention law, which forces all data in Russia to be through Russia servers, these activists and going to see an increasingly difficult time to make noise, and it seems like the Russian government is doing everything possible to suppress, and they are not done yet.
      Also, now just a simple re-tweet can land you in trouble. Dmitri Semenov re-posted an extremist image that had been used earlier, and soon after was under criminal investigation with a warrant to search his place. Semenov, among there re-posters of anti-regime material, can face up to four years in prison for something as simple as a retweet.

    Mike Gellman said:
    March 18, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    The first article that I chose was called “Somali Americans Fight to Save Their Lifeline of Cash for Relatives Back Home.” This article discussed ongoing issue of banks deciding to stop allowing the transfer of money from the United States to Somalia. The main bank that was used for these transfers was the Merchants Bank of California, the largest bank willing to do transfers with mostly Somali-run transfer companies. However, this changed when the Merchants Bank and other banks that were doing the same thing began to feel pressure from the Treasury Department who urged them not to put cash in the hands of potential terrorists. The group that is main cause of this concern is a militant group called al-Shabab which is based out of Somalia.
    This is a huge problem for many peaceful Somolian citizens though because they are heavily reliant on this lifeline of money from their relatives in the United States. Scott Paul, who is Oxfam American’s senior humanitarian policy advisor, states in the article that, “The Somalia diaspora sends 1.3 billion every year to their loved ones in Somalia.” This is more than the country receives in humanitarian aid and foreign investment combined. It is also primarily used to meet the basic needs of the Somalians that receive it so it is clear why the news of the freeze has cause widespread panic across the country. There are efforts being made to start up the cash flow again by utilizing other banks (primarily local Minnesota banks), but these partnerships are shaky and it is unclear how long they will last. The author concludes the article by mentioning that this lack of cash flow will actually lead to kids joining al-Shabab, an ironic twist to the actions of the Treasury Department.
    The reason I found this story interesting and also important is because this an activity that has been going on for centuries in America yet you almost never hear about it anymore. The idea of coming to America to work hard and making money for your family back home was one of the main reasons so many of our ancestors came to this country. Technology has made the transfer of this money easier but it has also shrunk the world through globalization. In the past we would have never known about a terrorist group in Somalia and thus the flow of money would never been stopped. I think this another good example of technology being a double edged sword with lots of good but also having unseen implications.

    The second article I chose was called, “Vietnam: Communist Party Leaders Struggle Over Social Media.” It was about the Communist Party indecision on wether or not to embrace social media or not. On the pro side of the argument there is an opportunity to have an easy way to reach the internet using portion of the 90 million people that live in Vietnam. This comes at a cost though because it leaves the regime open to anti-government attacks on the internet, something that has already happened a few times. Vietnam also has a dissent blogger population that is causing some unrest. The government has tried to control bloggers by throwing many of them in jail but it would unrealistic to think that this would continue if this dissents moved to more viral social media. The Vietnamese Communist Party’s Propaganda and Training Department hasn’t given up though. The summary of the their plan is currently, “Meeting the need for news that serves the need to build and defend the nation and raise the morale and develop the mastership of the People.”
    This concept of mastership of the people pretty much sums up how much freedom the party plans to allow. If the Communist party does win, expect to see a very similar situation to China’s current cyber setup occur in Vietnam. The people will be allowed access to social media and other internet outlets but they will be harshly filtered and policed. This story is important because it is another example of the new dilemma of governments trying to control cyber space. This battle is in it infancy but it will grow into a larger issue if governments keep it up.

      Cam Hickey said:
      March 18, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      Hey Mike, I enjoyed your write up on the Somali Bank Transfers and i too agree that for centuries it has always been the American Dream to make money and start a life for yourself, while at the same time sending money home to your family. This idea is still true across the planet, but as our world continues to shrink due to globalization organized crime in many countries have found avenues to generate revenues and continue their crimes. Instead of stopping the flow of cash to Somalia, would it not be better to look at who they are sending their money to? Or creating a post where the money comes in and then can be given to the relatives without having to worry about the cash ending up in the wrong hands?

        Mike Gellman said:
        March 18, 2015 at 10:30 pm

        Thanks for the question Cam! I like both your ideas for making sure the money transferred end up in the right hands. At this point it seems like the best thing is to focus on keeping the links between banks and Somalia open because of how reliant Somalians are for food and other daily needs. But I agree that at some point a system needs to be set up because al-Shabab is a real threat both domestically and abroad.

    jsroot11 said:
    March 18, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    The first article I found to be interesting and worth looking into is the “For Nepali Migrant Workers, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is a Game of Death.” The article brings forward a number of issues and global concerns regarding the development of a major stadium for the upcoming world cup. The piece highlights not the glory and pristine level of accomplishment that world cup holds, but instead the darker side of what is happening towards the preparation of the world event. Evidence and personal accounts have shown that migrant workers, mostly from Nepal have fell victims of extremely poor work conditions and housing that have led to sickness, injury, and even death. What makes this article interesting is not only these stories and accounts of suffering but the political and social movements that have been made and not made against the World Cup. First, social media and the use of the internet and mainstream networks, such as ESPN have spent countless time investigating and spreading the horrors of what is happening in qatar. Throughout the article, quotes, tweets, and videos, are presented as ways that people have created ways to boycott the world cup, hoping to end construction and completely move the event. Personally, this is the most interesting part of this outcry. Technology and social media have created such a powerful storm of protest against the FIFA organization, and the government of Qatar that the possibility of moving one of the worlds largest events could be moved or stopped. It is interesting as more stories and outcry over the internet come out who would win this battle, and who would be responsible for these horrific crimes, the Qatar government, the FIFA organization, or both. Would they get away with this due to the events popularity or will the internet prevail and succeed in stoping the world cup from occurring in Qatar.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Yes i like most of you guys picking on this story, the power of the Qatar state vs. the internet activists, you can keep the conversation going

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      The topic of the plight of migrant workers in the middle east has been a very controversial one, and sometimes these people are known as modern day slaves, but their plight goes unnoticed and many do not care, the importance of the Internet is the ability of more concerned global citizens to expose stories about people which the mainstream media does not

      Nick Ford said:
      March 18, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Hey Jonathan, you picked a great article. After reading your post and went ahead and read it for myself. I took a class last semester and we discussed the growing issues that countries face when preparing to host the Olympic games and major sporting events like the FIFA World Cup. It is truly sickening to think about the horrors that low wage workers face in building such amazing infrastructures for these sporting venues. When building these amazing stadiums, the harsh realities of the processes and conditions surface, and social media has been a powerful way of communicating the unjust circumstances.

      When looking at the bigger picture, do you think there is a resolution that can limit the unjust circumstances and realities that the workers and host countries face? Should there be a permanent site for these venues so these issues don’t continue to reoccur or does the economic gains from these sporting venues outweigh the unfortunate realities?

        jsroot11 said:
        March 18, 2015 at 10:14 pm

        Thick Nord, interesting questions. The idea of a permanent site for the World Cup would be an interesting idea. i think the economic gains to play a major part in the cup, as well as tradition. I feel FIFA as an organization needs to become more involved in how this will play out. I am sure they have had much to say, but as Americans it does not seem as important to us. The Issues that are occurring in Qatar do not seem to hit home for me at least. Could that be because the lack popularity of the sport in the US or is their something else going on? What do you think Mr. Ford?

        Jonathan Wagner said:
        March 18, 2015 at 11:35 pm

        Hey Nick, Just reading your post above and wanted to comment. I think giving the World Cup or the Olympic Games a permanent destination is a bad idea. Hosting the World Cup brings many different things that can help a country tremendously. When South Africa hosted the World Cup, tourism went up extremely and helped their economy. However, it has become a common theme of workers being treated unjustly. I feel like in the future countries will try to build larger stadiums then previous years in order to have higher tourism. This will only increase the amount of forced labor and one way I believe to stop this is through FIFA. FiFA needs to be held accountable for the actions of a country that is holding the World Cup. As of right now there are growing debates on if the World Cup should be moved from Qatar. I hope in the end it does because a world wide sporting event should not be played on a ground that was built through forced labor.

    Zayn Thompson said:
    March 18, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    I chose this first article because we do hear about Russian suppression occasionally. This article discusses the doubling of the number of Facebook content restriction requests from the Russian government. This is just another tactic that the government can use to restrict and limit what things can be seen and shown on social media sites. Many sites and webpages are blocked mainly due to opposition threats against the regime. For instance, just a few months ago in December 2014, Facebook blocked a page at the request of the government. It just happens it was the event page for a large protest in support of opposition leader Alexey Navalny, which was restricted for all users.
    This is important because the Russian government keeps repressing opposition movements, in turn prolonging their regime by allowing minimal access to opposition material. However, Facebook has recently denied further Russian requests to block pages, which is leading to more Internet freedom for those who want to access that material.

    This next story is very important because many high-end news sites were unblocked in Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan by digital rights activists. They were able to copy the sites, and put them on different servers that were not blocked. This is an important article because this is a big step towards more Internet freedom. Technology played the biggest part in this process. Through a technique called “mirroring,” the activists were able to go retrieve copies of the blocked sites, and re-create them.

    Andrew Wanamaker said:
    March 18, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Harinda going back to the comment you made regarding Louie’s post on Turkey’s internet censorship I found an interesting article off of the Wall Street Journal claiming that “Some Worry Prime Minister’s Tactics Could Become a Template for Other Countries.” Clearly Turkey is one of the worlds most determined internet censors. Erdogan has transformed his democratically elected regime into more of a mass surveillance agenda in which he has the power to shut down websites without a court order, collect web browsing data on users. Twitter was temporarily blocked and certain journalists have been jailed for speaking out and insulting the prime minister. Essentially this is a fire response to a power struggle with political opposition leaders. Prime Minister Erdogan’s main goal is to have unfettered internet access that can be blocked if the system detects any form of threat. This has implications beyond the national parameters because Turkey is an area that has huge potential for emerging tech companies. While this may seem unfair the Turkey government believes they are doing something to better protect individual privacy and family values. If the Turkey government takes this censorship activity too far which they plan on pursuing in the near future, it could crush potential tech startups. The big catalyst to Turkey’s censorship started after youtube and twitter posted corrupt practices by the Prime Ministers closest allies and family members. Despite the government trying to censor the internet there will always be many people finding ways to hack, infiltrate and bypass the government censorship because it is almost nearly impossible to prevent leaks on such a powerful resource we have grown up with in the recent years. In America we have a fairly ethical government with limited corruption but in many other countries there is a constant fear of tainting leaders reputations.

      cyberoutpost responded:
      March 18, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      Yes this is a good follow up, I think the major worry many Internet rights and freedom of information activists and all democratic political actors in Turkey and globally have is the mass-scale emulation and adaptation of the Turkish model by other authoritarian or dictatorial regimes which will be a major blow for the global rights movement.

    Cam Hickey said:
    March 18, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    One story that I found disturbing while at the same time quite heart breaking was the destruction of the ancient city of Nimrud in Iraq by ISIS. It was a story that seemed all too familiar during the Iraqi War, but nonetheless it still seems like a crime against humanity. When ancient sites worldly renowned are destroyed during a seemingly pointless campaign to stir up global protest the culprits should be facing the greatest penalty from the nations involved or the UN. Just a couple days ago, two American citizens were detained in Rome for writing their names on the Coliseum. While this act does issue a response by the authorities, their actions seem meaningless when gangs from ISIS attack world heritage sites without any social or political justification, but instead to create a global protest, which is what they wanted to begin with. The tweets criticizing the attack ask for the people of the region to stand up against these attacks and feel a deep and personal connections to the lose of such a historical place for humanity. Although the one tweet that I believed spoke out the most was the Abu A and Abu B cartoon by Karl Sharro. He shows that in today’s fight in Iraq with all of the outside military presence in the region by neighboring countries to fight ISIS, the only places jihadists can attack now are unguarded historical sites, and after they destroy these the Dinosaurs are the only ones to fight next.

    It is difficult to imagine that based on your profession your likely hood to be murdered can increase drastically. Although in Columbia this seems to be the case, as a second journalist was murdered just in the last three weeks. This story did not pick up much notice here in the United States, but in a country where the central government is corrupt and drug cartels control much of the country side, the death of a journalist reporting on these matters should be a huge story that generates much public attention. The story presented did not have much information on the death of Edgar Quintero, although the tweets that followed his murder showed the world how this journalist carried on what he believed to be right even with countless threats due to the content he was trying to publicize. The tweets discussed how he was investigating corrupt government officials, and how his death has sparked a national outcry for the freedom of information and human rights in Columbia. While the death of Edgar Quintero is a devastating blow to Columbia, it can also show the type of changes in society that must be made to protect journalists and others who are trying to speak out against human rights violations. To do this though, one can write a powerful story that can change history, or become a martyr that accomplishes the same goal.

      Mike Gellman said:
      March 18, 2015 at 10:59 pm

      Cam I really liked your analysis about historical monuments article. It is quite heart breaking that terrorists groups like ISIS would destroy an ancient city just to send a message. My question for you is if acts like this a carried out, do you think countries like the US or organizations like the UN respond by using force? It seems like if we did that it would give these group what they want.

    Nick Ford said:
    March 18, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    (1) After browsing through many articles, the one that really caught my eye was “Is Catchy Song ‘China Is My Home’ Meant to Brainwash Hong Kong’s Children?” ( The Chinese government created a three minute children’s song “China Is My Home,” with four lines that repeat over and over: “China China is my mother. China China is my home.
China China is getting stronger.
China China I love her.” Adults in China, specifically in Hong Kong, view this song as a catchy way to brainwash the country’s children, as the tensions between the Hong Kong and Chinese government are high. The article discusses the current opposing political views in Hong Kong and Beijing, highlighting and identifying the traditional democratic and communist views. The country is struggling between political influences that a government exercises on its society verses the people’s desire for independence and autonomy. The song, in my opinion, is a tactical way for the Chinese government to flex its muscles and impose a communist view and its opinion on country’s youth.

    (2) The second article that I read was Katsuo Ningen, the Humanoid Severed Fish Head That Won Japan’s Heart ( The article highlights how the Japanese government is trying to be creative in promoting tourism in a traditional culture of critical importance. Famous mascots are being used to promote economic and tourist growth throughout the country, as these mascots have become a well-excepted form of communication and spreading promotional messages. More specifically, the article focuses on the Katsuo Ningen mascot, a loincloth-clad, humanoid skipjack tuna, which represents one of Japan’s most isolated prefectures, Kochi. Kochi is located on the Pacific coast of the island Shikoku, Kochi and is surrounded by mountains and isolated from main transportation routes. Because the prefecture is so isolated and is hard to get to, Kochi is fighting the ongoing battle of the inflow of tourism. The skipjack tuna mascot, Katsuo Ningen, was created in 2011 by the Kochi Prefecture’s government as an ambassador mascot to promote tourism in the struggling prefecture. Katsuo Ningen is attempting to revitalize the area that depends on the economic resources to provide the skipjack that is so important to the cultural fabric of Japan and its food culture. Katsuo Ningen travels to popular tourist areas and has a large presence in social media promoting the things that makes the rural prefecture so special.

      Joe said:
      March 18, 2015 at 10:24 pm

      Hey Ford-O, interesting article choices by you. I was most interested in the post about the chinese song “China is my home”. It sounds like a twisted form of propaganda by the Chinese government, and it certainly does send some subliminal messages to its youth. I would say a song like this is the exact opposite of a form of liberation technology, and more of a technology to keep people suppressed. Its interesting that the chinese government would choose to do such a thing to capture the minds of Chinas youth.

    Zayn Thompson said:
    March 18, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    An article I found interesting was about the increased censorship and prosecution in China, and the resulting back-down by many influential bloggers. For some, it is not worth going to jail just to speak their minds about the Chinese regime, so since new censorship laws and the increase in prosecution, many have gone silent. The Chinese government knows they can threaten with these laws, and that people will start backing down. This should be a story more covered in the news because they continue to violate Free Speech, and there is not much being done about it.

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