Cities are more than a collection of streets and houses or people and plants. “Cities have become both digital and digitized”, says Mark Graham, Director of Research and a Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute. These days an indicator of the development of a modern city is not just its physical infrastructure.
In dozens of cities across Africa, Graham has produced a visualization of geocoded Tweets. And an interesting pattern emerges, showing the footprint of internet penetration and the use of mobile devices. While in cities such as Nairobi, Cairo or Cape Town you can see important information hubs, other cities such as Mogadishu and Addis Ababa remain almost completely blank.
All over the world Google is engaging more and more in covering elections and making access to information easier for voters. This is also true for Africa. Following the elections in Ghana in December last year, Google has launched a new hub for the Kenyan elections coming up on March 4. DW Akademie spoke to Ory Okolloh, Google’s Policy and Government Relations Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, about Google’s work in Africa and its commitment to free and fair elections.
Be it the death of Osama bin Laden, the emergency landing of a plane on the Hudson River or armed conflict in Syria, photos and videos made by eye witnesses usually reach the public as initial evidence through breaking news. Today, media organizations are virtually flooded with digital content from all over the world which makes it even more important to pay attention to the sources of information. That is why large media organizations have set up special research teams to verify the content from social networks. Although most of them follow the same rules, it is worthwhile to compare the separate approaches. Konrad Weber shows how renowned international media outlets such as ARD, BBC, CNN and others check the content coming from social media.
He uses the approach which others only study theoretically and call a future model of journalism. The Frenchman Francis Pisani is an entrepreneurial journalist. He prepared for his new self-funded journalistic project for eight months: a trip around the world in search of those places where the innovative ideas of the future come into being. Pisani lived in Silicon Valley for more than 15 years reporting on new technologies. However, the 69-year-old journalist is sure that innovations of the future will come from other places throughout the world. Since September 2011, he has visited more than 30 cities on five continents, from Mexico City to Recife, Brazil, from Accra and Nairobi to Cape Town in Africa, from Cairo to Beirut and Tel Aviv. He has been in Russia, India and Indonesia.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper strongly supports open journalism. The Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, wants to engage readers and users. He wants to integrate their knowledge, skills and opinions into the reporting.
Rusbridger’s philosophy is that “journalists are not the only experts in the world.”
In a recent online chat, Alan Rusbridger explained how he understands open journalism:
Let’s hear the bad news first: fact is that you’re probably not going to get rich through your blog or website.
But the good news is that depending on the quality of your content, it’s not totally impossible to generate money with your site. And there are a number of ways to do that.
The official term for making money from your site is website monetization. The most popular ways to monetize your site involve putting advertisements on it.
Blocking Internet Access = Human Right Violation?
Against a background of the Arab Spring, a number of talks at the recent DW Global Media Forum focused on the importance of the Internet and social media networks during protests and popular uprisings, especially in Tunisia and Egypt.
But in their efforts to control information or suppress freedom of expression, some governments will try to block access to the Internet and mobile phone networks.
The United Nations has just issued a report saying that blocking Internet access may be a violation of human rights because it infringes on the freedom of expression.
This point was emphasised by Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, during his keynote speech at the GMF.
“The Internet has become a space representing an unprecedented potential for freedom. Not only for the freedom of expression. It is now the main vehicle for democracy where people organise themselves and voice their opposition to government.”
“We need a global instrument for this purpose, and I support the recent UN report’s call for access to the Internet as a globally recognised human right. I agree and we should start in Europe!”
So should access to the Internet be a human right? The DW-Akademie put that question to participants at the GMF.
Photo credit: Deutsche Welle/K. Danetzki (some rights reserved CC BY-NC)
Video interviews: Chiponda Chimbelu
TagsCouncil of Europe, global media forum, GMF, human right, internet, Thorbjørn Jagland, United Nations