These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
The National Press Club
Freedom of the Press panel explores 'Arab Spring' aftermath
"The revolutions sweeping the Middle East and North Africa have brought the promise of more open and accountable governments and societies but that outlook has dimmed, as autocratic regimes in the region have responded to the so-called “Arab Spring” by clamping down hard on reporters and citizens communicating on the web, a panel of experts said a National Press Club Freedom of the Press event Feb. 14.
“Wait a few more years before you call it ‘spring,’” said a skeptical Abderrahim Foukara, Washington bureau chief of Al Jazeera Arabic, one of the panelists.
As regimes have felt threatened by their own people’s demands, their security personnel have beaten, detained, spied on and even killed reporters. They have blocked communications via phone, satellite TV and the Internet. They have conducted surveillance of the computer activities of reporters and citizens alike." READ MORE
“In 2009, Global Voices launched Threatened Voices, an innovative project to track threats to bloggers and netizens worldwide. At the time,Threatened Voices filled a void in coverage, during a year a U.S. State Department official dubbed ”the worst year in the history of the Internet as it related to Internet freedom.”
Now, three years later, as threats to netizens have increased, so has coverage of those threats. Dozens of local and international organizations, such as Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists, regularly report on arrests, harassment and intimidation of bloggers and other Internet users. This is a good thing: raising awareness of free expression takes a village, so to speak. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (or EFF, where I serve as Director for International Freedom of Expression) is committed to focusing on these issues, but as a U.S. organization based in San Francisco, we rely upon our global contacts to keep us informed.” READ MORE
“The Government of Uzbekistan has been increasing the role of local authorities and communities in providing essential services and encouraging more funding to come from local resources.
Since 2005, the Enhancing Living Standards (ELS) Programme has helped bring communities together to discuss common challenges and take practical measures to improve living conditions. Financed by the European Union and implemented by UNDP, the programme covers the Andijan, Fergana, and Namangan regions, where some eight million people—nearly a third of Uzbekistan’s population—live.” READ MORE
“If you were to think about what Internet cafes might look like in 5 years, I bet you might imagine something like the photo above. A clean, modern cyber cafe run by a mobile phone provider as a way to showcase broadband Internet and data services in addition to traditional handset and airtime sales.
This future is here now in Harare, Zimbabwe. I saw it with my own eyes at the Econet Wireless' new Internet cafe in Harare, Zimbabwe.” READ MORE
“Panel discussions about journalism and technology can be pretty hit-or-miss these days. This week, I saw a couple of hits.
In two Social Media Week panels Tuesday in Washington, D.C., O’Reilly Media’s Alex Howard (better known as @digiphile) posed good questions to journalists from major news outlets (Politico, ABC News, Huffington Post and Gannett) and representatives from major tech companies (Facebook, Twitter and Google). Their answers revealed how technology and social media are changing campaigns and the media coverage of them in 2012.” READ MORE