These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
"NEW forms of information communication technology (ICT) have begun to counter the paradigms of exclusion by empowering the silent, the invisible, the marginalised, the cynical, the passive and the apathetic to engage and act. ICT has transformed advocacy by endowing transnational networks and communities with a greater capacity to research, report, publicise, organise, campaign and develop policy on pertinent issues.
It is clear that there is a gap between professionalised civil society organisations and the constituencies they purport to represent. Currently most traditional civil society organisations use social media as primarily a promotional add-on to their existing work." READ MORE 
Review of Mobile Phones in Africa 
"We recently came across the blog Afrographique by Ivan Colic. Colic collects data from reliable sources like the World Bank or the IMF, and presents the information in aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-understand format. Check out his site to see many more colorful and informative infographics to gain some insight on Africa and its people. His most recent post tells us that “in 2011, there are 32 non-smart phones for every 1 smart phone” in Africa. By 2015, the gap will close slightly to '5.6 non-smart phones for every 1 smart phone.'" READ MORE 
"THREE hundred years ago news travelled by word of mouth or letter, and circulated in taverns and coffee houses in the form of pamphlets, newsletters and broadsides. “The Coffee houses particularly are very commodious for a free Conversation, and for reading at an easie Rate all manner of printed News,” noted one observer. Everything changed in 1833 when the first mass-audience newspaper, the New York Sun, pioneered the use of advertising to reduce the cost of news, thus giving advertisers access to a wider audience. At the time of the launch America’s bestselling paper sold just 4,500 copies a day; the Sun, with its steam press, soon reached 15,000. The penny press, followed by radio and television, turned news from a two-way conversation into a one-way broadcast, with a relatively small number of firms controlling the media." READ MORE 
Technology, Social Media, and Nigeria’s Elections 
"Judith Asuni of Academic Associates Peaceworks and Jacqueline Farris of the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation have recently released a comprehensive report, “Tracking Social Media: the Social Media Tracking Centre and the 2011 Nigerian Election” (PDF), where they attempt to evaluate the impact of social media and information communication technologies such as mobile phones, SMS, Facebook, and Twitter on Nigeria’s recent elections." READ MORE 
Open Government Partnership
We’re Starting Something New 
"The Open Government Partnership is a global effort to make governments better. We all want more transparent, effective and accountable governments -- with institutions that empower citizens and are responsive to their aspirations. But this work is never easy.
It takes political leadership. It takes technical knowledge. It takes sustained effort and investment. It takes collaboration between governments and civil society." READ MORE 
"Freedom Fone, a service that is essentially an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) recently launched in conjunction with Frontline: SMS. It’s basically an open source software platform that takes text messaging and partners it with automated voice menus as a way to share information; it is relatively cheap and can be used by most mobile phone subscribers, of which 60% of the world is (according the United Nations)." READ MORE