18
Mar 15

Video of the Week: Digital Divides

By Marc Greber

Mark Graham from the Oxford Internet Institute talks about the Digital Gap and the content created IN and ABOUT the developing world.

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18
Mar 15

KETA – ICT education in Ghana

By Marc Greber

“As a great social leveller, information technology ranks second only to death. It can raze cultural barriers, overwhelm economic inequalities, even compensate for intellectual disparities.“ – Sam Pitroda [1]

Big words from an interesting person, you should really read about.

Another social leveller of immense power is education and I want to introduce a great women who I had the pleasure to meet: Margarete Grimus, who became a teacher in 1965 and returned to university to obtain a degree in IT in 1994, worked in teacher education all her life [2]

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18
Mar 15

Women and the media in Vietnam

By Seija Anttonen

Some of the key questions related to media and development is whose voice gets heard, and also how different groups are represented in different media. These representations have a lot of power in either changing of preserving the cultural landscape and shared values. Women are generally viewed as a group deserving special attention in this regard, and many efforts have been made in practically all sectors to enhance both the access of women as ‘producers’ of media content and how women are represented in different media.

As part of the year-long UN Campaign ‘Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity’ that celebrates 20 years of implementing the Beijing Platform for Actions, UN Women has produced a video to provide an overview on gender equality in the media in Vietnam:

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17
Mar 15

The Gyandoot Experiment

By Charlotte Gunnarsson

Participation of people in development programs as well as the use and design of information systems (IS) have been stressed both by development theorists and IS researchers to boost efficiency of development programs and IS projects, separately. The theme of partaking becomes gradually important in the modern situation where development projects in third world countries are being included with ICTs, information and communication technologies, for example in the domain of e-governance (Krishna & Walsham, 2005; Bhatnagar & Schware, 2000; Warschauer, 2003a). The growing use of ICTs in developmental contexts is motivated by the intentions of refining and simplifying governance, indoctrinating transparency, and eliminating the historically present legacy of ineffective and immoral systems and governmental controls (Goswami, 2002; Singh, 1999). However, there are numerous contextual alterations in implicating ICTs in development-related applications as compared to in organizational situations within Western countries. Some important points of leavings include the focus on marginalized rural communities as end-beneficiaries, the repeated involvement of public sector governments, insufficient human resources capability, and the being of infrastructural restrictions including finances and technology. Continue reading →


16
Mar 15

Sharing valuable voices: Community Digital Storytelling

By Seija Anttonen

Sharing their experiences in using participatory media for development, CARE International in Vietnam has recently published an excellent report on Community Digital Storytelling (CDST) – a method they use to engage with especially the most vulnerable communities to get their voices heard.

A variation of ‘digital storytelling’, Community Digital Storytelling is a participatory development approach that focuses on collaboratively created group stories, which can be used specifically to improve programming and policy in a development context.

“Such stories not only help us understand the diversity of this dynamic country, but can also inform important development decisions that impact the people whose stories most need to be heard.”

CARE in Vietnam has used the method as part of their community-based project to support vulnerable communities in the Mekong Delta Region, to adapt to emerging climate change effects and to improve their climate resilience. CARE International has also published ‘CDST Guidelines’ for the basis of training and support on the approach. Continue reading →


16
Mar 15

Radio Deseo, the voice of freedom desire in Bolivia

By Irene Salas

Mujeres Creando

By making you dinner, by making your bed, I stopped wanting to make love to you. Mujeres Creando.

Keving Howley defines community media as a “grassroots or locally oriented media access initiatives on a profound sense of dissatisfaction with mainstream media form and content, dedicated to the principles of free expression and participatory democracy, and commitment to enhancing community relations and promoting community solidarity”.[i]

In his book Community Media: People, Places, and Communication Technologies (2012), he illustrates how this alternative mechanisms of expression managed by grassroots / common citizens have allowed the creation of spaces for contestation, resistance and exchange generating a “strategy for progressive social change” through participatory horizontal practices that promote a more democratic communication and local autonomy, responding to concrete needs and concerns of local communities.[ii]

Among the institutions he presents as community media case studies in the USA[iii], moving south in the map I want to introduce you to the Bolivian community radio Radio Deseo (Radio Desire).

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15
Mar 15

The controversy of new media in closed societies: activists under restriction in Vietnam

By Seija Anttonen

As discussed in an earlier blog post, increased access to global media and especially the new and social media often threaten the status quo and existing power structures, and no more so than in ‘closed societies’ such as China and Vietnam. Dennis Hopper discusses China as an example on the globalization of media and information, when “national governments no longer monopolize the flow of information.” [1] While Vietnam has been utilizing many similar tactics, its contemporary approach is somewhat ‘looser’ compared to China at least when it comes to the use of social media, and e.g. Facebook is nowadays accessible and in fact the most popular social media platform in Vietnam.

A protester gestures as he marches during an anti-China protest in Vietnam's southern Ho Chi Minh city Continue reading →


09
Mar 15

Social media, political change and power – Impact and strategies

By Seija Anttonen

Prof. Clay Shirky (New York University) makes interesting inputs on the impact and potential of social media in bringing about political change, in his article in Foreign Affairs (90.1: Jan/Feb 2011). His recommendations are targeted for the U.S. government and their internet freedom strategy, but Shirky’s message is relevant in the wider discussion on social media as well.

Shirky’s main argument is that instead focusing on the use of social media’s power to topple governments that has been much studied, the real potential of social media lies in its ability to support civil society and strengthen the public sphere, and to bring about change in the long term instead of quick overthrows. Shirky also criticizes U.S. government’s ‘instrumental’ approach to internet freedom that was launched in 2010 by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Social media’s real potential lies in supporting civil society and the public sphere – which will produce change over years and decades, not weeks or months.”

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03
Mar 15

New media and civic participation – Opportunities, risks and support

By Seija Anttonen

Different ways to get active

Over time, media and communication technologies have traditionally been defined by categorizing them through their technical features and capabilities, the contents they produce and the different media systems and/or institutions that govern them. In addition, the communication process itself has usually been viewed as separate from the methods and technology. New media blurs these traditional definitions both in the sense of remixing the traditional categories and how it blurs the line between media producers and consumers, often combining the roles of media designers and users.

In terms of participatory approaches, the emergence of new media has created new possibilities for citizens to use their voices and be in charge of producing own contents within and outside of the traditional media systems. Looking into the ways of using new media, Leah Lievrouw defines five different genres of alternative and activist new media through their chosen social domain, the forms of media they use and their purpose.

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