Mobilization for victims of the earthquake in Turkey. Campaigning for the release of two Swedish journalists detained in Ethiopia. And former rap star MC Hammer launches his own search engine.
Earthquake in Turkey
The room shakes, walls tremble and cupboards fall to the floor in a deafening crash… this amateur footage demonstrates the violence of the earthquake that struck Van province in eastern Turkey on Sunday.
As we can see in this video which are circulating on the Internet, once the tremors had stopped, panic set in among the residents of this mountainous region. This is the most powerful earthquake to hit the country since 1999, and the cost is growing by the hour. There is immense material damage, and hundreds of people are thought to be dead.
Turkish web users have been using social media platforms to organize aid for victims. Journalist Erhan Celikk for example has appealed to local Twitter users to offer accommodation to quake victims. His campaign is called ‘My home is your home’ and is proving highly successful as he has already received 17,000 emails from volunteers.
Others have been using the micro blogging site to lobby the country’s mobile phone companies, and have managed to convince the three main operators in Turkey to grant people in the quake stricken areas free texts and talk time, so survivors trapped in the rubble can call for help and those who have already been taken to safety can contact their loved ones.
Hundreds of people are reported missing. To help reunite them with their families, Google has launched this missing person’s service. Around 1,900 reports have been filed online so far.
Campaign to free two Swedish journalists
Web users are campaigning for the release of Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye, the Swedish journalists arrested in Ethiopia on the 1st July as they were working on a report about the Ogaden National Liberation Front, a rebel movement at war with the Ethiopian government. The two Swedes have been arrested by the authorities on terrorism charges. Their trial began on the 20th October, if convicted they face the possibility of life imprisonment.
This website was set up to convince the Swedish authorities to place pressure on Addis Ababa to release the two journalists immediately. The people behind the site feel this case should become a national priority in Sweden. Web users can follow the case and add their comments via Twitter following "#EthiopiaSwedes" and "#freejohanandmartin".
The mobilization for Johan and Martin is gaining momentum in Sweden, over 2,800 Facebook users have joined this page designed to show solidarity with the journalists and collect donations to help pay their legal fees. And this online petition demanding their release has been signed by over 2,700 web users.
So the campaigning has been taking place online, and also on the streets. As we can see in this footage filmed in various towns and cities across Sweden over the past few weeks, rallies have been organized all over the country, drawing hundreds of citizens, all demanding the Ethiopian authorities free their compatriots immediately.
And "Reporters without Borders" is also trying to help the Swedish journalists. The NGO has published a communique on its website asking the European Union to get involved, and stating concern that the trial is just a pretext for the Ethiopian government to demonstrate its determination to combat terrorism on its territory.
MC Hammer to launch new Internet search engine
American rapper MC Hammer who enjoyed huge success in the 90s with his hit « U can’t touch this » is now a web entrepreneur. The former star, whose real name is Stanley Burrell, is now taking on the likes of Google with his new search engine. It’s called WireDoo and will be going live in the near future. And with its so called “deep search” ability which gives the user more pertinent information it could be about to provide some serious competition for the web giant.
Now trending on social networks
Tributes to Stuart Walker have been pouring into social media sites after his mutilated body was found in the village of Cumnock in Scotland. An enquiry is underway and police are not ruling out the possibility that the 28 year old had been murdered because of his sexuality. The story has sparked an outpouring of emotion from web users who cannot understand how anyone could commit such a cruel and barbaric act.
Video of the day
American artist and photographer Joe Capra, travelled across Iceland in June of this year and took over 38 000 photographs which he put together in this time lapse video. The results are stunning and a fitting tribute to the beauty of the Icelandic landscapes.