Protests in India against web censorship. The US presidential campaign trail continues for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. And a web platform aimed at combating all forms of extremism.
Protests in India against web censorship
Aseem Trivedi used to draw and publish cartoons online, denouncing the corruption in India. But his website was shut down in January following a complaint lodged by the police. Some of his cartoons were considered insulting, perceived to be mocking the Indian flag and national emblem, and are now available to view on a blog hosted in the US. Many Indian web users feel this case reflects the authorities’ desire to toughen its control over the Internet.
Last year the powers that be discreetly announced new measures meaning, amongst other things, the government would have the authority to force websites to remove any content deemed offensive or objectionable, content that did not comply to a long list of criteria.
The system is being met with an increasingly frosty reception, and cyber activists are busy campaigning for a change in legislation. Web users have been sending in photos to this blog; they are all holding a sign condemning what they see as a form of censorship.
A campaign called « Save your voice » has been launched on social networks. It includes a petition, which has been signed by over one thousand web users, calling upon India’s MPs to take action to protect online freedom of expression.
And the campaigning is not just taking place in cyberspace. A rally was organized in New Delhi last week with demonstrators symbolically locked in cages to help raise awareness about the problem of web censorship in India.
USA: presidential candidates focus on youth and hispanic votes
With a little under six months to go before November’s presidential election in the US, Barack Obama and his likely Republican opponent Mitt Romney, continue their respective campaigns, aiming to win over as many voters as possible. Both candidates are currently targeting very different categories: young voters and the Hispanic community.
The former governor for Massachusetts has posted a short video and infographic on his website, highlighting the difficulties faced by young Americans since Barack Obama was elected to office. The video claims the number of young people in America living below the poverty line has increased by over 23 % during the current president’s first term in office and that half of university graduates are presently unemployed or underemployed. The Mormon candidate promises he will tackle this problem if elected.
Students are also a concern for the White House occupant who has just completed a tour of a number of universities across the country. But at the moment Obama’s campaigning, at least his online campaigning, is primarily focused on the Hispanic community; the president’s campaign team has released two new campaign ads in Spanish urging members of this community, the majority of which voted for Obama in 2008, to vote for him again later on this year.
And this appeal has been relayed by the highly popular actress Eva Longoria, who is of Mexican descent. In this video she says the head of state should be reelected for a second term in office so he can continue his reform efforts.
Website launched to tackle extremism
Arno Michaels is a former American right wing extremist, Yasmin Mulbocus used to be a member of an Islamist outfit in Britain and Jo Berry’s father was killed in a bomb attack in 1984. They have been brought together by the site “Against Violent Extremism”, an online forum set up by a group of NGOs to build a network of reformed extremists, survivors of terrorist attacks and experts to promote non–violence.
Now trending on social networks
Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has announced plans to build a 21st century replica of the Titanic, sparking widespread reaction online. Messages have been pouring in from web users, sharing their excitement at the idea of one day being able to board the cruise liner which will make its maiden voyage from England to the United States in 2016. Some social networkers have posted somewhat ironic messages wondering if the Titanic 2 will meet the same tragic fate as its illustrious ancestor.
Video of the day
Shoreditch and the people that live there; UK artist Joe Peel decided to bring a wall to life and tell the story of this mythical neighbourhood of the British capital, in pictures. You can see his work in this time lapse video, it took him three weeks to complete the work or art, which has been condensed in to a three minute, beautifully edited, animation.