Global Voices — Citizen media stories from around the world Since 2005 Global Voices has been a platform for trending news and feature stories. News stories are submitted by more than 800 mostly volunteer writers, analysts, online media experts and translators in 167 countries. Accounts are verified and translated by the Global Voices team into 30 languages, including Malagasy, Bangla and Aymara. This nonprofit, completely virtual newsroom was co-founded by MIT Media Lab research scientist Ethan Zuckerman, who heads the MIT Center for Civic Media, and former CNN Asia correspondent Rebecca MacKinnon, who now runs the Ranking Digital Rights project at the New America Foundation.
Global Voices also advocates for online rights and press freedom and fights censorship through the Global Voices Advocacy project. Its Rising Voices project trains and provides tools for citizen journalists in underrepresented communities around the world so their voices may be heard.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) supports press freedom worldwide through news and analysis, blogs, data analysis and advocacy projects such as its current #RightToReport campaign. This independent, nonprofit organization founded by journalists in 1981 provides security guidelines and assistance to journalists in trouble around the world. CPJ researches and maintains statistics on the number of journalists killed, imprisoned and harassed internationally. In 2008, CPJ began publishing an Impunity Index that tracks unsolved journalist murders by country as part of its Global Campaign Against Impunity.
Free Wi-Fi hotspots help improve Africa’s education and economy, according to Tom Jackson in his blog post How the growth of free Wi-Fi is transforming life in Africa. “If Internet penetration grows in the same way as that of mobile phones on the continent, it could contribute as much as 10 percent — $300 billion — of the continent’s total GDP by 2025,” he writes. Government participation is essential to internet penetration — and has had success in localities such as Tshwane, South Africa, and Nakuru County, Kenya, among other places. The private sector also facilitates Wi-Fi access in some countries.
E-government in Africa has made crucial services available to many more people. The Internet Society study History of the Internet in Africa: Impact examines how top-ranked countries have made strides in education, health, agriculture, and trade, thanks to the Internet.
Nigerian blogger Jide Awe discusses How to lay a solid foundation for electronic governance so that Nigerians can ask questions, make their views known to their government, and evolve a participatory democracy.
Unique Nigerian website presents complete 2011 election observation data as country prepares for new polls An innovative Nigerian website uses infographics and maps to present the findings of citizen observers from the country’s 2011 presidential elections, to better inform and engage citizens ahead of Nigeria’s 2015 elections.
UN ranks Nigeria high in e-government devt index The latest United Nations e-government development ranking showed an upward improvement by 21 points. Nigeria rose to 141 out of 193 countries rated in the U.N. Global E-Government Development Index for 2014.
India is also benefiting from e-governance programs. E-governance hopes rise as India crosses 1 billion transactions so far this year. “It is an important milestone for India’s e-governance initiative,” J. Satyanarayana, secretary in the department of electronics and information technology, told The Economic Times. “With better accessibility and more projects getting completed, this number should keep rising.” India has begun a large-scale e-governance program that includes a vast information technology network to facilitate speedy delivery of public services.
The Indian government plans to boost mobile startups with seed money, TechCircle reports in Govt to fund mobile startups developing e-governance solutions. The funding will go to developers of e-governance applications. The new initiative is part of the national e-governance plan, announced in the Union Budget for 2013–14.
The government of Mexico is taking new steps toward transparency and informing citizens about government issues, as reported by eGov in “Mexico the Emerging IT Hub of Latin America.” Mexican Congress Launches New Initiatives to Increase Legislative Transparency notes: “The role of technology was recognized as an increasingly critical tool for creating transparency. Alejandra Lagunes, coordinator of the Mexican president’s national digital strategy, said the legislature should increase its use of social media to provide additional outlets for citizens to communicate with their representatives. She also stressed that social media could be as a more innovative and efficient way to provide people with information about their government by sharing it with a wider audience.”
For Mexican Women, Fundraising and Technology Are Key to Overcoming Campaign Obstacles relates how text messaging technology has been used in Mexican election campaigns to get out the vote. Email, blogs and social networking sites are now being used to “recruit volunteers, promote specific policies and platforms, and involve citizens in discussion and debate about issues.”
Transforming Mexican Democracy with Open Data Mexico is in the vanguard of countries where open data is the next big thing for tackling corruption and making the governments more responsive to their citizens. Using government open data, citizens can build applications for social impact and improving democratic processes.