By: Thabani Nyoni, Zimbabwe Independent, May 3, 2013Zimbabwe has seen a plethora of opposition political parties, civil society groups and human rights organizations as well as dissenting voices being criminalized, delegitimized and brutalized. This culture of violence, intolerance and impunity has thrived as the government uses terms like "sell-outs", "puppets of the West", and "Western-sponsored agents of regime change" to justify political persecution. Civil society groups and human rights activists have worked to expand, democratize and maintain a vibrant and legitimate public sphere in Zimbabwe, which is a legitimate democratic regime agenda.
By: Gregory Warner, NPR, May 2, 2013Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki does not tolerate any independent media, the Internet is restricted, and Reporters without Borders recently named it 179th out of 179 countries for freedom of expression. Isayas Sium, an Eritrean-American exile, had an idea to subversively protest against the government: robocall Eritreans with a smuggled phonebook and tell them not to go out as traditional on Friday night. They called the movement "Freedom Friday." According to one activist, Eritreans are "...not as fearful as she thought they'd be, as according to inside sources and recent refugees who've fled, staying home on Friday nights is becoming kind of cool
By: Adam Clayton Powell III, Good Governance Africa, May 2, 2013Citizen journalists, mostly untrained volunteer newscasters, activists and whistle-blowers can take advantage of powerful new technologies, many created in Africa, to collect and distribute their reports. The power and ubiquity of inexpensive, low-end cellphones has increased, making possible access to tools that can help spread information and safeguard anonymity. For example, Mimiboard, a virtual noticeboard, won the most votes at last year's Open Innovation Africa Summit and enables users to post, via the web or SMS, events and information about social and political issues in their communities - particularly when these citizen journalists and activists who may not be able to operate openly.
By: Felicity Clarke, School for Authentic Journalism, April 24, 2013For more than twenty years, Brazilian authorities have maintained that the Vila Autódromo favela in Rio de Janeiro's west zone doesn't belong and have attempted to remove it, citing aesthetic damage, environmental damage, environmental risk and, more recently Olympic Park developments as reasons. The community continues to resist, knowing their legal right to the land and creating an alternative upgrading plan for the community at a lower cost than relocation. This is where the School of Authentic Journalism comes in: reporting for RioOnWatch in the last year, I have been learning how journalism can empower people, even whole communities.