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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.

Many in Emerging and Developing Nations Disconnected from Politics
Pew Research
In recent years, high-profile protest movements have erupted in several emerging and developing countries, roiling, and sometimes overturning, the political status quo in Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Ukraine, Brazil, Thailand and other nations. Millions have demonstrated, and activists have pioneered new forms of online engagement.  However, a recent Pew Research Center survey finds that many people in these nations remain relatively disconnected from politics. Although most vote in elections, few take part in other forms of political participation.
21st-century censorship
Columbia Journalism Review
Two beliefs safely inhabit the canon of contemporary thinking about journalism. The first is that the internet is the most powerful force disrupting the news media. The second is that the internet and the communication and information tools it spawned, like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, are shifting power from governments to civil society and to individual bloggers, netizens, or “citizen journalists.”  It is hard to disagree with these two beliefs. Yet they obscure evidence that governments are having as much success as the internet in disrupting independent media and determining the information that reaches society. Moreover, in many poor countries or in those with autocratic regimes, government actions are more important than the internet in defining how information is produced and consumed, and by whom. 

Justice, Development Planning, and the Role of Regular People
Open Society Foundations
A comprehensive new report by Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, released earlier this month, has now set the stage for next year's intergovernmental negotiations on the world's development priorities for 2015-2030. It is a document which strengthens expectations that justice will be a cornerstone of the new development framework.  The so-called Synthesis Report seeks to sum up the extensive global consultations that have taken place so far, ahead of the expiration next year of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set in 2000.  The report endorses the Open Working Group (OWG) Outcome Document already adopted by the UN General Assembly as the basis for the post-2015 negotiations, which emphasizes the need to “provide access to justice for all.” 
TechTank’s Top 10 Tech Innovations That Will Transform Society and Governance
New technologies can have revolutionary impacts with widespread and unexpected benefits. Technology can also serve as a tool to enable governments to better serve their citizens. The public sector can also develop policies that utilize technologies to empower innovators. These are the 10 technologies from 2014 that innovators and governments are using to make the world a better place.
Throwing the Switch: An Update on the State of the Global Transition to Digital TV Broadcasting
This briefing paper updates an earlier report for CIMA by Burgess, Throwing the Switch: Challenges in the Conversion to Digital Broadcasting, published in 2009. Five years later, the report finds, the transition, which has the power to bring new views and voices to the television airwaves, has yet to deliver those benefits in many developing countries.
The Internet of Things and the Connected Person
One of the interesting things about the Internet of Things (IoT): It’s not really about the things.  The IoT is a developing technological marvel. It is estimated that by the year 2020, 50 to 100 billion devices will be electronically connected in the globally emerging IoT. But at the center of the innovation that is unfolding across all geographic, industrial and technological borders is not so much those devices that are being linked together but the “connected person.” At the center is the human being who is making use of the applications and services that are enabled by the devices — the things — and their unprecedented integration provided in the IoT. Indeed, technologists around the world have been working for years to gradually build the massive amounts of infrastructure and networking to expand more and more pervasive connectivity around the world, and the most profound impact of that effort has always been connecting more people in more ways and improving lives globally. 

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