Internet och demokratisk förändring/Internet and democratic change


Uppdaterad: 23 maj 2014

Programme for the conference, October 26, 2011, "Internet and democratic change - Net activism, empowerment and emancipation".

Where: The seminar will be broadcasted via Internet and open to everyone through a link. A chat link will be available for those who want to ask questions to the speakers. Only those with personal invitation can attend live.

When: October 26, 2011, 09.00 – 20.30 hrs 


09.00  Start: Online broadcast Main session and Parallel session (from 10.40)

09.00-09.15 Welcome

  •  Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Director General, Sida

09.15-09.30 Introduction

09.30-10.10 New Media in the New World of the 21st Century

  • Scott Lucas, Professor, Birmingham University, (UK)

 “New media” has overtaken the international pages of daily newspapers. Twitter is now a portal not only to the latest from publications in Iran, Afghanistan, Palestine, Libya, and Brazil - it is the opening to the latest from NGOs, activists, financial institutions, and other actors. Rather than waiting for hours for a US publication to confirm a report, an active participant in new media can navigate a route picking up events (and interpretations of events) almost as they happen.

In short, the “gatekeepers” --- both in politics and in the media --- have been brought down.

From my room in central Britain, I can observe from Egypt to Libya to Bahrain to Iran to China to Sudan. “New media” offers a window on the changing landscape of negotiation, and it is also the location where much of that negotiation takes place.

10.10-10.40 Coffee break

Parallel programme
10.40 -11.20 Net activism, analysis 

  • Anita Hunt, Social Media Curator for Human Rights (UK)
  • Jacob Appelbaum, Researcher and Hacker, The Tor Project (USA)

Effective use of social networks to support social activism

Internet surveillance, censorship, and avenues of resistance with anonymity 

In just 30 months from the time of the massive protests that followed Iran's 10th presidential election in June 2009 to the current day, social networking has been in a state of continual change. This has been accompanied by an unprecedented and largely unexpected level of social unrest in an increasing number of countries worldwide. A critique of some of the strategies employed by activists on social networks during this turbulent time provides valuable lessons to help us in going forward.

Internet censorship is a second order effect of so called "lawful" interception, wiretapping, and monitoring. Interception of traffic allows for denial of service as well as arbitrary incrimination. A lack of by-default strong anonymity allows for specific targeting as well as wide scale dragnet surveillance for later analysis. The use of anonymity systems as a method for censorship circumvention has become practical for everyday resistance. Wide scale deployment, adoption, integration and further development of anonymity systems is a territorial imperative for the internet if we hope to maintain essential freedoms in a global society.


Parallel programme
11.30-12.10 Net activism, practice

  • Måns Adler, CEO, Bambuser (Sweden)
  • Stephan Urbach, Hacktivist,  Telecomix (Germany)

Watching the watchers - democratized real- time video broadcasting

Revolutions from the couch

Bambuser was together with Twitter the two services that were shut down first in Egypt. Måns Adler will during his presentation tell you the story about real cases of live mobile video streaming from Egypt and other countries as well as why the technology helped to raise awareness in traditional media.

The revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East were experienced live by people from all over the world by reading Twitter, Facebook, watching Al-Jazeera and other media coverage. Newspapers wrote about it and many blogs were read during these days. We had the chance to see it live on our computers. When Mubarak shut down the Internet, the people in the countries had no chance to get information about what was happening. This is where Telecomix stepped in and tried to help. From their couches and desks they tried to help by providing technical infrastructure, security advice and first aid manuals. They also spread the news they accessed. In this talk Stephan Urbach explains what they have done and which impact it had.

12.10 -13.30 Lunch

13.30 – 14.10 Net activism, cases

  • Mahnaz Afkhami, Founder and President, Women’s Learning Partnership, WLP

Virtual Activism, Real Change: Women & Democratic Transition in the Middle East

Recent events in the Middle East/North Africa region have demonstrated how the use of technology has impacted every aspect of life and has become a driver of change across the world. Dissidents have used texting to mobilize demonstrations. Citizen journalists have documented events and sent images and news items abroad to mobilize international public opinion. Twitter has been used to send alerts on street harassment of women and location of shelters for victims of violence.

Learning portals and special web sites have been created to provide a space where young men and women can discuss democratic processes and best practices. Among the other questions, we need to consider how do we further empower women in the Global South to make more expanded use of technology to gain knowledge, experience, and to develop networks of solidarity and how to eliminate the gender gap in the use of technology in the Global South.

14.20- 15.00 Parallel programme

  • Slim Amamou, Computer programmer, Entrepreneur and Blogger (Tunisia)
  • Salma Said, Political blogger (Egypt)
Tunisia: Hacktivists, Anonymous and their role in the revolution Egypt: Popular uprising or Internet revolution?

The Tunisian revolution was overwhelmed by a series of net based events. Among other, many different net activist groups were active in different parallel processes. How can the relation between these groups be understood, and how have the different groups found their part of the revolutionary events? It is time to discuss why the online social networks have to be including for all, since all kind of groups - including hacktivists, Anonymous and even Trolls - are part of the Internet and its revolutionary movement.

The Egyptian blogosphere has been a center for citizen news reporting as well as a catalyst for organizing grassroot movements and sharing ideas. At the same time, the Egyptian revolution has to be seen as historically inevitable. What role did the Internet and its social media actually play in the recent revolutionary process? How can this be discussed without overrating the Internet or for that sake diminishing the long and still ongoing Egyptian progressive struggle.


15.00 -15.40 Coffee break

15.40 -16.20 Parallel programme 

  • Hamza Fakhr, Activist (Syria)    
  • Maryam Al-Khawaja, Human Rights Activist (Bahrain)
Syria: ICT and the revolution: A grassroots movement case Bahrain: Social media and the revolution

The Syrian revolution is an example of Internet activism and citizen journalism, which is used and needed by youth throughout the world to influence their states. The presentation will detail the evolution of the use of ICTs, and will end with a proposal brought forth for the creation of a global umbrella of net activists and journalists to support grassroots movements all over the globe –particularly the MENA - to effectively share power and be heard.

Social media has played a huge role in Bahrain since the uprisings began. How can you look at its influence, the usage and the reaction from the regime when it comes to this break-through? Social media and the internet is a tool that is being heavily used by both the government and protesters, for many different reasons. How are human rights activists using social media? We need to ask ourselves that to learn and fully use the potential of the Internet.

16.30-17.00 Closing remarks

  • Hanna Hellquist, State secretary , Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Moderators: Joachim Beijmo, Yasmine El Rafie and Marcin de Kaminski


19.00-20.30 Discussion

In the crossroads between traditional journalism and social media

After a long day of conferencing, Sida brings together three of the Internet's most prominent social media journalists/analysts that all have worked with coverage of the MENA-uprisings and acted as Twitter nodes and informal news agencies in social media. What are their common and different strategies and lessons learned from finding and verifying information in social media, crowdsourcing together with their tens of thousands of followers and when evaluating sources? And where do they believe that this, still comparatively young, kind of reporting will head in the future. The topic of the discussion is mainly what role social media will play for the media development in developing countries and repressive environment. And where do they believe that this, still comparatively young, kind of reporting will head in the future.

You can attend and listen to their discussion during the mingle.

Journalists and bloggers:
Neal Mann, Dima Khatib and Sultan al-Quassemi

Moderator: Yasmine El Rafie 

Programme and bios (English)






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