WFFM to Host Free Media, Technology Convergence Ahead of the World Social Forum 2016

In preparation for this year’s World Social Forum (WSF) in Montreal, the Local Organizing Committee of the World Forum on Free Media (WFFM) is inviting organizations and individuals active on issues of media and technology to attend its first convergence. This event will serve as a meeting place for people to know each other and to coordinate their activities.

It is expected that this collaborative meeting will strengthen WSF activities related to media and technology. Since 2009, a “thematic forum” called the World Forum on Free Media (or WFFM) has been created, which will gather for its 5th edition during the upcoming WSF.

Stakeholders are thus invited to join the March 10th Media and Technology Convergence that will bring together free media makers, including autonomous and alternative media activists, journalists, hackers, academic researchers, etc, who are attending and/or organizing events around the upcoming WSF.

The WSF is an international meeting of civil society that brings together tens of thousands participants from social movements, non-governmental organizations, and grassroots collectives to cultivate alternatives to the current economic model and provide opportunities to collaboratively build alternative global politics. The next WSF will be held in Montreal between August 9th and 14th 2016 (http://fsm2016.org).

Media and technology issues have been given a varying importance in the WSF gatherings. In past social forums, independent media press rooms were put in place to support alternative coverage of the WSF. Workshops and panels were also organized about themes such as media and power, Internet governance, and digital surveillance.

Remote participation will be available on demand and alternative media coverage of the WSF will also be on the agenda. For more information on remote participation, contact the Local Organizing Committee for the World Forum on Free Media by email at The deadline is March 10, 2016.

For further information, visit http://www.fmml.net/spip.php?article154

impactAFRICA Calls for Proposals on Data Journalism, Innovative Reporting

Africa’s largest fund for data-driven storytelling, impactAFRICA, has called for proposals on pioneering data journalism and innovative reporting that tackles development issues such as public healthcare, in six African countries of Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.

Being an initiative of Code for Africa (CfAfrica) and the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), impactAFRICA is offering $500,000 in support for original data journalism and ground-breaking reporting.

impactAFRICA also provides technology assistance from its civic labs in all six countries, as well as one-on-one editorial mentoring, digital skills training, and content syndication services. The initiative is intended to spur newsroom experimentation and innovative storytelling, while also encouraging more evidence-based public discourse.

Proposals are expected to be focused on in-depth reportage into hidden, neglected or under-reported health and development issues.

The deadline for submission of proposal is April 15, 2016. Further details can be found on http://impactafrica.fund/resources.

Deutsche Welle Launches Online Activism Annual Competition, Calls for Submissions

Deutsche Welle has launched the 12th annual competition for online activism by calling for submissions to “The Bobs – Best of Online Activism.” Deutsche Welle is looking for engaging, innovative and interactive in its annual contest.

Submissions are open to anyone using the internet and don’t cost a single penny, but everything submitted to The Bobs has to be in one of the contest’s 14 languages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Ukrainian.

“Freedom of expression on the Internet finds itself in a catch-22,” wrote Claire Ulrich, a former jury member at The Bobs. On the one hand, the commitment of young people on the internet is more important than ever, especially after the attacks in Paris. In addition, the online activism is increasingly subject to monitoring in other parts of the world with the dangers that this entails and retaliation.

According to the group, “Deutsche Welle’s award is one way to honor the work of people risking their lives to promote online freedom of expression and civil society through innovative projects and personal dedication.”

The scope of languages represented at The Bobs makes the contest a unique award. An international jury, with one juror representing each of the contest’s 14 languages. This year, Georgia Popplewell, managing director of Global Voices, returns to The Bobs’ jury.

It will be up to jury members to evaluate projects submitted to The Bobs, last year there were more than 4,800, and creates a shortlist of nominees to advance to the competition’s final round. The list of finalists will be announced on March 31.

Interested Internet users have until March 3 to submit websites and online initiatives to the contest at thebobs.com in 14 languages and 18 categories, including “Social Change,” “Tech for Good,” “Arts and Culture” and Citizen Journalism.”

Then online voting boxes will open, and Internet users will have until May 2 to cast their ballots for the people and projects that impress them the most. In the past, some 120,000 people participated in the vote.

The organizer said “on May 2, just before World Press Freedom Day, the jury will announce the winners of The Bobs 2016. Deutsche Welle’s board of directors will also present its special Freedom of Speech Award for the second time.”

Raif Badawi, imprisoned Saudi blogger won last year the award.

An award ceremony for the top winners will take place as part of DW’s Global Media Forum on June 14 in Bonn, Germany.

NUJ Imo State Condemns Assault on Journalists

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Imo State Council, has expressed disapproval over the conduct of officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who beat up journalists in Owerri, the state capital, over the weekend.

In a statement signed by the state NUJ Chairman, Mr Innocent Igwe, the union described the incident as unwarranted, excessive and abusive use of force by the officers involved.

It described the action of the officers as unnecessary, inhumane and shameful. The union claimed that the officers of FRSC and NSCDC on duty decided to put people’s lives at risk, just because the journalist pleaded with them to release a car carrying a woman in labour to the hospital, in order to prevent any mishap.

“Journalists in Imo have maintained excellent working relationship with the security agencies particularly the FRSC and the Civil Defence. It is worrisome and of serious concern that some officers of these agencies could throw caution to the wind in such a minor incident,” the statement said.

The council called on both agencies to carefully look into the matter and take necessary steps to prevent a reoccurrence. It further expressed its dislike on the action of the officers, saying the journalists were manhandled by those meant to safeguard them.

It was guarded that the journalists were sporadically shot at, while trying to ensure the woman on emergency gets to the hospital on time, her husband was unnecessarily delayed by an official of FRSC, who requested for a bribe, claiming he had an expired driving license.

The journalist involved were Sliverbird reporter, Mr Nnamdi Ofonye, Channels Tv, Mr Eyitope Kuteyi, and Mr Obioma Oburuoga of AIT.

UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) Calls for CSO Nominations

The United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) is calling on civil society and individuals to submit names of candidates from developed and developing countries as well as from economies in transition, all geographic areas, and policy orientations to serve as Civil Society representatives on the CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation.

This announcement can be found at http://unctad.org/en/pages/newsdetails.aspx?OriginalVersionID=1193.

This call was borne out of the outcome document of the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis [1, para 69] which contains a call for “enhanced cooperation in the future, to enable governments, on an equal footing, to carry out their roles and responsibilities, in international public policy issues pertaining to the Internet, but not in the day-to-day technical and operational matters, that do not impact on international public policy issues.” So far there has been little to no agreement on how this should be implemented.

In lieu of this, the UN General Assembly has asked the Chair of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) to “establish a working group to develop recommendations on how to further implement enhanced cooperation as envisioned in the Tunis Agenda.” This will continue work done by an earlier CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation, that was active from 2013-2014.

There will be five Civil Society representatives on this Working Group, one from each UN region. These civil society representatives will be selected by the Civil Society Coordination Group (CSCG).

Nominees are asked to consider a service period of 2016-2017 (and eventually the beginning of 2018).

Shortlists should be submitted to the CSCG’s nominations committee (nomcom) via the email address nomcom06@internetgov-cs.org.

The deadline is 15 March 2016.

Independent Civil Society experts (i.e. those who are not nominated by a civil society network or other community) can also send self-nominations directly to the CSCG nomcom by the same deadline.

More information about the WG proposal can be found at http://unctad.org/meetings/en/Presentation/CSTD_2015_s11_Major_en.pdf .

 

MFWA Hosts West Africa Conference on Media and Participatory Governance

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is organising the West Africa Conference on Media and Participatory Governance scheduled to take place in Accra, Ghana on March 15, 2016. The Conference will bring together the leading freedom of expression and media development organisations from all 16 countries in West Africa. Also present will be ECOWAS, UN agencies and donors, and civil society groups.

MFWA has been promoting and advocating on issues around free expression rights, media professionalism, and media-led advocacy for peace building, peaceful elections and participatory governance in West Africa for the past 18 years. MFWA is also known as a lead media development and freedom of expression advocacy organisation in West Africa with national partner organisations in all 16 countries of the region. It also doubles as the Secretariat of the Continental Network of the leading Free Expression and Media Development Organisations in Africa, known as the Africa Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX).

The theme of the Conference is “Promoting Professional Journalism for Good Governance in West Africa”. The aim of the Conference is to deliberate on and identify key challenges in the areas of free expression, media development and access to information, and to develop strategies in tackling these challenges to promote good governance, regional integration and peace in West Africa.

MRA’s Executive Director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo has been invited to give a brief opening remark, and also speak at a panel that will focus on the issue of Access to Information in West Africa.

The Conference will take place on March 15, 2016, in Accra, Ghana at the Mensvic Grand Hotel.

 

For more information visit www.mfwa.org or Email : info@mfwa.org

AFIC Holds General Assembly in Kampala 

The General Assembly of the Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) will be held in Kampala, Uganda, from March 3 to 4, 2016 in accordance with Article 13(c) of the Constitution. The General Assembly which will be holding in Kampala, Uganda has an overall objective to discuss progress of pursuit of AFIC goals.

AFIC was first registered and operated from Nigeria under the Guidance of Media Rights Agenda since 2007. At the beginning of 2010, the organisation’s Secretariat shifted to Kampala and obtained legal status in October of the same year. The last General Assembly which held in January 2014 saw the election of a new Governing council, ratification of the constitution and adoption of a strategic plan. The Assembly also discussed and approved membership policy as well as the organisation’s code of conduct. Significantly, members having not met since 2006 entrenched the sitting of General Assembly every 2 years.

The specific objectives of AFIC’s General Assembly 2016 are:

  1. Receive and discuss report of the Governing Council
  2. Review implementation of programmes
  3. Discuss capacity and technical needs of members
  4. Hold consultation meeting of project, “enhancing good governance through citizens’ access to information in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda

The General Assembly will comprise three parts: a) members assembly, b) capacity strengthening workshops and c) strategy meeting.

The Members Assembly is chaired by the chairperson and will be convened in line with the stipulations of AFIC’s constitution. The meeting will last half day of March 3, 2016. The meeting will involve consideration of Minutes of the previous General Assembly and statutory reports (Steering Committee, Treasurer and Executive Director) as well as election of Governing Council/board. The meeting will be open to guests who wish to observe the proceedings. For the benefit of members from francophone countries

Workshops on capacity strengthening for freedom of information advocacy and litigation and other areas will be conducted during the General Assembly to strengthen members’ capacities to plan and effectively execute activities in these areas. The areas of need were identified when AFIC has through Survey Monkey sought from all AFIC members’ areas for consideration for capacity strengthening. Facilitators of the workshops will mainly be AFIC members with expertise and experience in these fields. The parallel workshops will be held on the afternoon of day 1, March 3, 2016.

At the Strategy Meeting, AFIC members, Secretariat together with implementing partners (Article 19, Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation and HURINET) in the 3 countries will engage experiences and lessons from the project, Enhancing good governance through citizens’ access to information in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda.  The objective of the meeting is to share experiences, draw lessons and identify ideas for scaling up in the project’s implementation phase after June 2016.

General Assembly of members is expected to:

  1. Consider and approve report of the GC
  2. Consider and approve Treasurer’s Report
  3. Elect/ fill positions falling vacant in GC
  4. Training of members on FOI advocacy, litigation and (Open Contracting)
  5. Share lessons from pilot projects and suggest areas for scaling up
  6. Give policy directives

Media Rights agenda will be one of the 35 participants of the AFIC General, Assembly holding at Kampala. Other participants include Centre for Media Freedom-Middle East and North Africa (CMF MENA), Comité des Droits de l’Homme et Développement (CODHOD), DR Congo Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Accra Ghana Human Rights Network- Uganda (HURINET-U), International Commission of Jurists Kenya (ICJ), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Media Institute for South Africa (MISA), Namibia, Open Democracy Advisory Centre (ODAC), Right to Know Nigeria (R2K), Nigeria; University of Botswana, Botswana among others.

Observers at the meeting will include: Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), Nigeria; Open Society Human Rights Initiative, Swedish Embassy, Kampala; Norwegian Embassy, Kampala; Netherlands Embassy, Kampala.

MRA, Partners Commemorate World Radio Day with Tweetmeet

In commemoration of the 2016 World Radio Day, the Partnership for Media and Democracy in Nigeria (PAMED), comprising the Institute for Media and Society (IMS), Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and the International Press Centre (IPC) convened a three-hour online discussion (tweetmeet) on Saturday, February 13, 2016 when it joined the rest of the global community to mark this year’s anniversary of World Radio Day.

PAMED’s 2016 World Radio Day discussion programme took place primarily on Twitter and Facebook with three sessions which covered the following topics:

  • Radio Saves Lives: Underscoring the Importance of Radio
  • Ensuring Access to Information for Internally Displaced Persons
  • Accessibility of Radio and the Importance of an Enabling Regulatory Environment

The Partnership for Media and Democracy is inviting all stakeholders in Nigeria, including government officials and representatives of government institutions; members of the media fraternity and representatives of media professional bodies; human rights activists and representatives of civil society organizations; as well as interested citizens and members of the public, to join the discussions online and share their views and perspectives.

The online discussion took place on Twitter from 12.00 noon to 3.00pm and used the hashtag: #WRDNig

The Partnership for Media and Democracy said it continues to identify with the aspirations which motivated the proclamation of February 13 as World Radio Day, especially the need to raise awareness about the importance of radio, facilitate access to information through radio and enhance networking among broadcasters.

NITDA Seeks Comments on Draft Regulatory Instrument

National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is seeking comments on a draft compliance framework for stakeholder’s adherence to its regulatory instrument. The agency is mandated by the NITDA Act of 2007 to develop Information Technology in Nigeria through regulatory frameworks, policies, guidelines and standards.

NITDA was established to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria.

Its role is to develop Information technology in the country through regulatory standards, guidelines and policies. Furthermore, NITDA is the clearing house for all IT projects and infrastructure development in the country. It is the prime Agency for e-government implementation, Internet governance and general IT development in Nigeria.

The Agency has developed compliance framework and member of the public are invited to send their comments electronically at standards@nitda.gov.ng within 21 days beginning from February 18, 2016

Visit www.nida.gov.ng for more information.

Journalists Assaulted While Covering Students’ Protests at Yaba Tech

Reporters of Sahara TV were assaulted by security officials while covering a students’ protest at the Yaba College of Technology (YabaTech) campus over the death of a final-year colleague. Students were enraged by the death of their colleagues and came out in massive number to protest against the dilapidated state of the college’s health centre. Reports have it that the final year student, Miss Comfort Dazan, a victim of Sickle Cell Anemia, died due to negligence of the school’s medical centre.

The security men were particularly alerted when they saw “SaharaTV” flyer on the reporters’ gadget and began to assault them for reporting happenings in the college. The Journalists were not only assaulted but their crew were also dispossessed of their recording gadgets and were all detained by the Head of Security of the school. The Security men prevented media coverage of protests on the campus; thereby hindering the freedom of the press.

After students heard that the Journalists had been detained, they came to occupy the security post. It was later discovered that one of the phones seized from the reporters went missing.

As the reporter asked for his phone in confusion; the students protested and chanted “Bring out the phone! Give him his phone…!”

The reporters were later released after four hours of detention and were guarded out of the school by the protesting students.

To see the video footage, click here