Online campaigning for the release of two Swedish journalists jailed in Ethiopia. A Chinese blogger debates the need for a revolution in the country. And a video encouraging web users to do a good deed and help change the world.
Ethiopia jails two Swedish journalists
A court in Addis Ababa sentenced the two Swedish journalists, Martin Shibbye and Johan Persson to 11 years in prison on Tuesday for “supporting terrorism” and entering Ethiopia illegally. The trial has been widely criticized and this particularly heavy sentence has triggered lively reactions online, with web users now campaigning for their release.
Many have taken to social networks to do so, using the hashtag #ethiopiaswedes to voice their outrage over the verdict and post messages urging the Swedish authorities to come to the defense of the two journalists who were arrested on the 1st July. Many feel the government did not play an active enough role in the affair; this activist is addressing Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, directly, asking him to do everything in his power to obtain the immediate release of his fellow citizens.
There has been widespread online support: this petition is asking the Swedish government to stand up for the journalists detained in Ethiopia, and has already gathered over 3 200 signatures.
There have been all sorts of online initiatives to get web users involved and show their solidarity with the jailed reporters. A number of support sites and Facebook pages have been set up, providing information on the work the journalists were involved in and the circumstances surrounding their arrest; saying they were working on a report on the Ogaden National Liberation Front, at war with the Ethiopian government to make this south eastern region an independent state. The sites are all sending out the same message: the men are not terrorists, they are professional journalists and therefore do not belong in prison.
Blogger ignites debate over Chinese revolution
A series of articles have triggered lively debate on the Chinese blogosphere. Han Han a prominent and popular blogger with the Chinese youth has posted 3 essays in which he talks about revolution, freedom and democracy. Former race car driver turned writer, Han Han, whose freedom of tone is highly appreciated online, says a revolution is not necessarily the best option for China. He does not think the country is ready for democracy and that any changes should be made within the current system through progressive reforms.
His writings are similar to the official line taken by China’s ruling Communist Party and have been harshly criticized by Chinese activists. Dissident artist Ai Weiwei has said it feels like the controversial blogger is giving up, surrendering. He thinks his articles would make good pieces for the Global Times. Hu Xijin, the editor in chief of the state run daily has indeed applauded Han Han’s essays.
This type of discussion is relatively rare in China where political censorship on the Internet is the norm. But things are changing in China; there has been an increase in local uprisings across the country, and just recently in the village of Wukan in southern China. And many activists have been imprisoned over the past few months following online calls for a Chinese “jasmine” revolution.
YouTube’s most-watched videos of 2011
Video sharing platform YouTube has released a list of its most-watched videos in 2011. And in first position is Rebecca Black’s “Friday”, followed by this hilarious clip of a talking dog and taking bronze in this musical parody inspired by the “Pirates of the Caribbean” saga. You can watch all the videos on the site YouTube Rewind, classified in order of popularity.
Now trending on social networks
Following Wednesday’s announcement of the death of Cheetah the chimpanzee, the star of the 1930s Tarzan films has been trending heavily on social networks. He lived for 80 years, twice the average lifespan of a chimp, meaning he has now entered the “Guinness Book of World Records”. Many have taken to social media platforms to salute the memory of this animal star of the big screen that brought joy to film goers the world over.
Video of the day
Kindness is catching …this is the simple message conveyed by the « Life Vest Inside » organization in this short film. It shows us how a simple gesture or good deed can generate a series of similar acts, carried out with no ulterior motive, which make the world a better place. The video hopes to encourage web users from all over the world to do something nice for someone else and help improve the day to day life for those around us.