The online forum will run from July 27 to August 2, and is organized by New Tactics, an outfit called MobileActive and other human rights professionals . The forum is titled "Using Mobile Phones for Citizen Media," and it sounds like it could be of value.
Information is a powerful commodity for human rights defenders. Receiving and sharing information is at the heart of human rights work. Modern technology, such as the mobile phone, and the global distribution of the internet, provides new opportunities for citizens to actively participate in journalism. The mobile phone is arguably the most accessible form of information communication technology and a popular tool for receiving and sharing information.
According to New Tactics, "human rights practitioners are finding innovative ways to utilize mobile phones to amplify the voices of communities around the world in order to collect and disseminate news and information. In Namibia, readers are able to text in editorial comments that are then published in the Namibia print paper. In Guatemala, radio listeners text in their comments that are then read on-air. In India, mobile phones circumvent a radio news ban and allow people to both access news and record information. These are just a few examples of how practitioners are using mobile phones to get and provide information and news from and to citizens. "
"With the growing use of mobile phones for citizen media comes new risks, challenges and opportunities. This online dialogue is a space to discuss stories, tactics and resources for using mobile phones for citizen media, as well as a space to discuss mobile risk assessment and security. "
There is a pretty diverse collection of participants, and includes:
- Melissa Ulbricht (co-facilitator) - MobileActive's staff writer, United States
- Becky Hurwitz - Project Manager at MobileActive and currently working on the SaferMobile project, United States
- Rich Jones of the Open Watch Project
- Mong Palatino - one of the founding conveners of TXTpower, Philippines
- Brian Conley and others of Small World News
- Sean McDonald and Amy O'Donnell of Frontline SMS, United States
- Alix Dunn - applied researcher and consultant in the role of digital tools in activism, Egypt
- John (Kipp) Kipchumbah of InfoNet, Kenya
- Sam duPont - Field Fellow for Dimagi, author of Global Mobile blog at at DC think tank NDN, currently based in Thailand and Philippines
- Patita Tingoi and others from Fahamu, Kenya
- Boukary Konaté and Eddie Avila from Rising Voices, Mali and Bolivia