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Weekly Wire: The Global Forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Tightening the Net: Governments Expand Online Controls
Freedom House
Internet freedom around the world has declined for the fourth consecutive year, with a growing number of countries introducing online censorship and monitoring practices that are simultaneously more aggressive and more sophisticated in their targeting of individual users. In a departure from the past, when most governments preferred a behind-the-scenes approach to internet control, countries are rapidly adopting new laws that legitimize existing repression and effectively criminalize online dissent.

Is vote-buying always bad for development?
International Growth Center
Elections in the developing world suffer from considerable problems such as ballot fraud, low voter education. electoral violence, and clientelism. If developing world elections do not revolve mainly around policy accountability, there could be important consequences for economic development

Three Billion People are on the Internet Now
Popular Science
By the end of the year, nearly 3 billion people in the world will have Internet access, according to the latest annual Measuring the Information Society (MIS) Report from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). That's an increase of 6.6 percent over the previous year, continuing a steady trend upward that's been in place for the last decade. However, the report also found that just because the rate is increasing doesn't mean that it's doing so evenly across the board. Developing countries are seeing an increased rate of Internet adoption, growing at 8.7 percent this year, and around two-thirds of Internet users live in the developing world. But that rapid rate of growth is due to the relatively small level of current penetration in those less developed countries: While 78.3 percent of the population in the developed world is on the Internet, only 32.4 percent of people in the developing world—and just 8 percent of those in the "Least Developed Countries"—are able to get online.
Cities Find Rewards in Cheap Technologies
MIT Technology Review
Cities around the globe, whether rich or poor, are in the midst of a technology experiment. Urban planners are pulling data from inexpensive sensors mounted on traffic lights and park benches, and from mobile apps on citizens’ smartphones, to analyze how their cities really operate. They hope the data will reveal how to run their cities better and improve urban life. City leaders and technology experts say that managing the growing challenges of cities well and affordably will be close to impossible without smart technology.
Human Rights Day 2014: Facts about rights violations that matter 365 days of the year
International Business Times
Today marks Human Rights Day, observed annually on 10 December, to highlight the fundamental rights that all people are entitled to as a global community.  The day marks the United Nations General Assembly's adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations. The day was first formed in 1950, when the General Assembly invited all member states and other organisations to celebrate. The theme for 2014, "Human Rights 365", is a reminder that everyone is entitled to basic rights with the same ideals and values - all year round.  "I call on states to honour their obligation to protect human rights every day of the year. I call on people to hold their governments to account," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.   IBTimes UK looks at facts about human rights violations and why it's so vital that we strive to achieve greater equality
'Chief storyteller' to UN, NGOs: Tell their story, not yours
What’s the latest story you’ve heard about AIDS or disability this week? Maybe about a homosexual who has been having trouble lately in accessing treatment in Uganda, or a blind woman who needed assistance to reach a decent toilet facility in her community in India?  These examples from different parts of the world come up all the time. Aid agencies highlight their plight in hopes of alerting donors, or as part of their advocacy campaigns. And they may be true, only that the story that came out may not necessarily explain what the potential beneficiaries need.

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