Tunisian web users asked to participate in the drafting of the new constitution. The anti-government protests continue in Angola. And a car jumping rope…
Participatory democracy in Tunisia
In Tunisia campaigning is well underway for the 23 October polls which will elect an assembly to draft a new constitution. Among the 1500 or so registered lists, the ‘Doustourna’ network, set up to give web users a voice and enable them to contribute to the drafting of the new constitution.
The independent network was launched in March and serves as a think tank in which citizens can actively participate. Around 250 articles have been put been forward for online debate. Web users can comment on any of the subjects by clicking on “I Like” or “I dislike “ or by grading them on a scale of one to five. They can also add comments and give their own personal opinion.
Social networks are also playing a key role, just as they did in the uprising against the former regime. Over 3 000 web users have joined the Facebook page “Pensons notre constitution”, meaning “let us think about our constitution” which regroups a number of civil society organizations.
And although the project outlined by Doustourna seeks to establish a parliamentary regime which guarantees individual freedoms, it does not propose any economic, social or cultural program. Candidates from the Doustourna network, like Thouraya Sethom, say they are not looking for government posts.
The network states on its website that its sole ambition is to make sure the visions and hopes that guided the Tunisian revolution are taken on board in the writing of the future Constitution. Doustourna recently uploaded this campaign video; it’s in sign language illustrating their desire to ensure anyone who wants to gets to have their say.
Protests in Angola
Despite attempts by the authorities’ to repress the movement, political tensions continue in Angola where protesters are calling for an end to the 32 year rule of President José Eduardo dos Santos. 16 activists have been arrested and imprisoned for taking part in an anti-government demonstration at the beginning of September. There are numerous reports of the unrest available online.
As this online footage illustrates, a number of demonstrations have taken place across Angola in recent weeks and in the capital Luanda in particular, with citizens protesting against the imprisonment of activists and demanding their immediate release. Opponents of President dos Santos are planning fresh rallies and urging people to take to the streets on the 16th and 18th October.
Much of the protest movement is being coordinated via the web. Activists have set up the site “Central 7311” to relay information and news to a wider public. The site has published the names of the 16 detainees and citizens can use the site to increase pressure on the government to free them as soon as possible. The people behind the movement have also made great use of social networks and Twitter especially to keep people updated and circulate calls for demonstrations.
And protesters are becoming increasingly vocal on sharing sites, criticizing the current President and saying it is high time he stepped down. In this satirical video, one of dos Santos’ speeches has been given a comical twist, and pastiches of the head of state have been pouring in online, web users seem intent on making fun of him until he retires from political life.
Vote for the best "Space Farm"
NASA is holding an online competition as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the first American in space. American farmers have been honoring that special day, the 5th of May 1961, by designing corn mazes which highlight key moments in the history of space exploration. Web users can vote for their favourite of the seven “Space farms” and upon doing so will be entered into a random prize draw to win lunch with an astronaut.
Now trending on social networks
Smartphone brand Blackberry has been trending heavily on social networks over the past few days. Web users have been commenting on the crash which affected millions of Blackberry users, with many angry customers left without Internet access and messaging services. Smart phone users have been suggesting reasons for the blackout online; some are even saying the ghost of Steve Jobs is behind the glitches affecting the iPhone competitor.
Video of the day
This video, which has been doing the rounds on sharing sites over the past few days, is part of a viral campaign for a brand of American menswear. We see a car jumping rope, yes the hydraulics are so powerful the car can apparently jump off the ground…