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Tri gjëra që i mësuam nga vendimi i UEFA-s: klik lajmet, protesta digjitale dhe forenzika digjitale

Javën e kaluar UEFA e dha vendimin për ndeshjen Serbi-Shqipëri e cila u ndërpre për shkak të përleshjeve. Nuk dua të merrem me ndeshjen, e aq më pak me vendimin e UEFA-s. Tashmë janë thënë të gjitha çka kemi pas për ti thënë: që nga sharjet më perverse deri tek analizat e ndryshme.

Ajo çka dua të vë në pah në këtë blog post janë gjëra që i mësuam (mund edhe ti keni ditur) nga tanë kjo ngjarje:

Klik-lajmet
Menjëherë pas vendimit të UEFA-s shpërtheu një ulërimë sharjesh drejtuar UEFA-s për vendimin e marrë. Normalisht kjo përbente lajm, ose një mori lajmesh, për portalet e ndryshme të cilat kujdesen pafundsisht që publiku të informohet në kohë reale. Shpesh, madje shumë shpesh ndodhë që këto lajme nuk verifikohen dhe merren direkt nga burime të ndryshme prej rrjeteve sociale. Portalet nga presioni që të japin lajmin të parin, e së bashku me lajmin edhe klikimet të cilat pastaj shëndërrohen në para të gatshme nga reklamat, e japin lajmin të paverifikuar duke shkaktuar kështu një kakofoni lajmesh. Çka mësuam? U pa qartë tendeca e portaleve për me përfitu sa më shumë klikime dhe si rrjedhojë të shesin sa më shumë reklama. Kjo ndodhi me lajmin për “raportimit e faqes së Facebook-ut të UEFA-s”, një gjetje e mirë e Valon Badivukut. Fotoja e tij, e cila u punua me photoshop, u mor nga Klubi i Tifozëve të Prishtinës “Plisat” të cilët kanë mbi 100 mijë fansa në faqen e tyre. Prej aty, lajmi bëhet “viral” (lexo blogun e Valonit) duke u kopjuar nga portalet tjera (shih më poshtë).

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Sigurisht se raportimi i faqes së Facebook-ut të UEFA-s është një humbje kohe për shkak se raportimet i shkojnë direkt ekipit legal të Facebook-ut në Evropë të cilët i rishiqojnë të gjitha raportimet. Duke pasë parasysh faktin se faqja e Facebook-ut të UEFA-s është e verifikuar, kjo e bënë edhe më të vështirë mbylljen e faqës. Ajo çfarë ne duhet të marrim parasysh është kredibiliteti i portaleve të cilët e kanë kthyer gazetarinë në biznes përmes lajmeve të cilat sjellin klikime. Prandaj lajmet e tipit “Sa herë në ditë të bëjmë seks!” apo “Orgjitë nëpër solitere” nuk janë asgjë tjetër përveç se “klik-lajme”.

Protesta digjitale
Gjëja e dytë që kuptuam është se interneti, së bashku me mundësitë, hapësirën dhe veglat që na ofron, i jep rastin secilit person që të prodhojë përmbajtje në formë të shkrimeve, fotove, audiove apo videove. Përveç kësaj, përmbajtja gjithashtu mund të publikohet në hapësira të ndryshme, si psh: blogje, YouTube, rrjete sociale, etj. Kjo është shumë me rëndësi që të theksohet sepse sot qytetarët janë të barabartë në prodhimin e përmbajtjes/mediumit kundrejt mediave me buxhete të mëdha. Prandaj, reagimet kolektive siç ishin peticionet e ndryshme, ndryshimet në Wikipedia të prejardhjes së Michel Platini, cicërrimat e panumërta në drejtim të llogarisë së UEFA-s në Twitter dhe komentet në Facebook, nuk janë asgjë tjetër përveç se forma të ndryshme të protestave.

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Nuk do të habitesha nëqoftëse faqja zyrtare e UEFA-s do të sulmohet nga hakerë të ndryshëm në shenjë proteste ndaj vendimit të UEFA-s. Kujtojmë vitin 2001 kur faqja zyrtare e kompanisë ajrore Lufthansa u sulmua me DDOS nga dy OJQ ( “Libertad” dhe “Kein Mensch ist illegal”) të cilët protestonin kundër dëbimit të refugjatëve azil që bëheshin në atë kohë me aeroplanët e Lufthansas. Në Maj të vitit 2006, Gjykata e Frankfurtit merr vendim se sulmi i faqes nuk ka shkelur ligjin Gjerman. Sot më shumë se kurdoherë kemi mundësi të pafundme që ta shfrytëzojmë internetin për protestë kundër padrejtësive të ndryshme.

Forenzika digjitale
Kjo ësht pika e tretë dhe e fundit. Ngjarja e cila ka ndodhur at natë në Beograd ka qenë e tmerrshme. Por, gjithashtu ajo është interpretuar ndryshe nga media të ndryshme. Ajo që mësuam është se si një ngjarje mund të ri-konstruktohet përmes “forenzikës digjitale”, një fushë kjo e re e cila po aplikohet nga BellingCat, grup kolektivë për gazetari hulumtuese. Duke përdorur pamjet e marra me telefon apo kamerë të cilat u hodhën në YouTube, fotografitë e ndryshme, veglat për editim të videove dhe fotove, ngjarja në Beograd u ri-konstruktua duke dhënë kështu fakte të cilat do ta ndihmonin Komisionin (symbyllur) të UEFA-s dhe Federatën Shqiptare të Futbollit. Megjithëse një vendimi kontravers të UEFA-s dhe humbjes së pikëve, mendoj se mësimet që i kemi marrë duhet ti përdorim edhe më shumë herëve tjera – ndoshta me një koordinim më të mirë. E pse jo ti përdorim edhe kundër klasës politike e cila shpesh anon nga ana e padrejtësisë, ashtu siç ndodhi me UEFA-n javën e kaluar.

Kosovo Science for Change: launch

Kosovo Science for Change co-design event – Prishtina, 20-22nd June 2014

The Kosovo Science for Change project launched in June 2014 with a weekend co-design event at the Unicef Innovations Lab in Prishtina. Participants included young people from several parts of Kosova that are experiencing severe environmental issues, including Plementina (a community right under the polluting power stations), Prishtina (the capital city, downwind of the power stations and with heavy traffic pollution), Drenas (near the Ferronickel plant), Mitrovica (with the legacy of mining) and Hani Elezit (not far from the cement plant).

There were also participants from UN Habitat, KEPA (Kosova Environmental Protection Agency), KOSID (the collaboration of environmental NGOs) and the Municipality of Obilic, which includes Plementina and the power plants.

The core project team is made up of local partner, UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo (who also hosted the launch event), Transitions and Internet.Artizans.

what is our kind of citizen science?

The event began on Friday evening with an overview of citizen science and why citizen science has particular potential in Kosova. The Public Lab definition of ‘civic science’ http://www.publiclab.org/about was used to situate the Kosovo Science for Change project, and a series of examples and videos were shown to illustrate the potential, including the work of Mapping for Change and UCL’s Extreme Citizen Science research group (ExCiteS) in London, grassroots balloon mapping, and the AirCasting project in New York. The work of Global Community Monitor and their bucket brigades was used to illustrate the role of citizen science in environmental justice.

It was emphasised that citizen science can be important even when there is statutory monitoring by the authorities, for example when the community knows about hotspots that would be missed by orthodox surveys. The Safecast project http://blog.safecast.org/ was given as an example of the potential scale of citizen sensing, and also to show the usefulness of having a local hackerspace.

The central role of mapping was highlighted with examples from Pennsylvania fracking map, the Louisville air map and the Arvin Bucket Brigade Map.

The latter two maps were also used to introduce the idea of using qualitative data and citizens’ observations alongside numerical data. The Kosovo Science for Change project will ask participating communities to reflect on the collected data in order to establish what it means for them. This is related to ideas of post-normal science which suggests the need for ‘extended peer review’ including local knowledge and soft data as part of a process of ‘extended peer review’.

The session concluded by looking at the ways open source software, open hardware, hackerspaces and sensor networks have lowered the barriers to citizen science and opened up new possibilities for bottom-up participation and DIY impact.

why is citizen science right for kosova?

The introductory evening session also looked at the specific relevance of citizen science for Kosova, especially the overlap of serious environmental threats with a motivated and mobilised youth population.

The known health costs to Kosova from environmental issues (as documented in the World Bank’s 2013 report “Kosovo – Country Environmental Analysis” come from air quality, lead exposure, water-borne infections and waste disposal.

The power plants produce PM10 particulates, SO2 (sulphur dioxide) and NOx (nitrous oxides). In the north near Mitrovice, research shows that lead exposure is affecting the IQ of young children. Nonpower SO2 emissions are mainly attributed to Ferronikeli, and Sharrcem cement factory is also an important NOx generator. However, the most recent KEPA report says that current data on these issues is either not of a good quality or is incomplete, and that there is a lack of capacity for environmental protection at a local level.

This contrasts with the importance placed on the environment in Kosova’s consitution and laws (and also in everyday conversations with Kosovans). For example, the Law on air protection (no. 2004/30)—adopted—assigns responsibility for setting air quality and emissions standards; identifies main air quality indicators; and sets obligations for protection of air quality. In the context of Kosova’s aspirations to join the EU, it was also pointed out that the Aarhus convention mandates citizens’ right of access to information about the environment and to participation in envirnmental decisions. This is mirrored in Kosovo’s environmental protection law which identifies the principle of public access to information and participation; for example, Environmental Impact Assessments’s are supposed to have citizen participation.

In contrast, the potential for making a difference with citizen science in Kosova is increased by being able to draw on motivated young people who have experience of participatory innovation (through the Innovations Lab) and a strong interest in digital technologies, especially via the recent series of Kosovo Social Innovation Camps and self-organised initiatives like FLOSSK (Free Libre Open Source Software Kosova). This opens up the potential for a citizen science project where the air monitoring can be low-fi, partly digital and participatory, in contrast to the €2,000,000 of EU funds it took to establish the semi-functioning government air quality monitoring network.

hearing from the communities

Saturday began with a session called ‘hearing from the communities’. The participants were given a set of guiding questions and worked in small randomly assigned groups to generate the issues that most concerned them. Each person in the group had 5 minutes to talk through their responses to the questions while the other group members jotted down key ideas and terms on post-it notes. After 5 minutes the post-its were added to the main sheet and the next person had their say. After everyone was done, the group as a whole reflected on the issues that had come up and tried to group them in to themes for feedback. It was clearly a powerful experience for participants and a tremendous diversity of issues emerged from the discussions. Noise came up early as a problem from several sources, as did industrial concerns dumping in rivers. There were some direct observations about problems, such as being able to smell the bad air on certain days, and finding particulates like sand in the drinking water supplies.

An analysis afterwards of the post-it notes on the showed the following concerns;

air: Dust from power plant, rooftops turned white. Lead presence in air. Private operators filters not fully functional. No catalytic converters in cars. Acid rain.

water: Poor quality, undrinkable. Sand-like presence in tap water. Water losses due to old infrastructure. Water shortages (several hours a day/night).

sewage: Old infrastructure. Sewers overflow in rainfall. Poor improvement work being done by municipality. Infrastructure improvements for cable TV, KEK, roads, house construction etc., damage existing pipes and never repair them or repairs are done poorly.

rivers: Sewage end in the river. Trash thrown in the river by people Riverbeds ruined by private operators who dig out gravel for commercial purposes
No fish in our rivers anymore

land: Landfills. Trash thrown everywhere, contaminates soil quality. Lack of proper landfills, trash cans, containers in open spaces. Burning of trash is common. Lack of green spaces. Illegal, unregulated construction. Noise pollution. Traffic noise.

health related issues: Asthma. Respiratory diseases. Cancer incidence high. Lack of information. Inaccessible information. Lack of awareness of existing studies.

environment & health panel

After coffee, there was an Environment & Health Q&A session with a panel made up of representatives from KEPA (Kosova Environmental Protection Agency), KOSID (the collaboration of environmental NGOs) and the Municipality of Obilic. The moderator’s questions were intended to draw out both what the known environmental problems are and what actions have already be taken.

The panel member from KEPA reported on their monitoring of environmental issues, and on some successes, such as getting filters installed at the KEK power stations. However, she also acknowledged that there are still huge problems due to pollution as shown by the much higher incidence of respiritory diseases in the capital Pristhtina, near the power stations, compared to Prizren in the south. The KOSID representative criticised government plans to replace the Kosova A power plant with Kosova C without looking at the external costs of coal power and without looking at renewables or energy efficiency, and referred to the Berkley report on “Sustainable Energy Options for Kosovo”. The environmental officer from the municipality gave an account of the difficulties of making a difference at a local level; despite some success in clearning up waste and garbage, other problems still required daily pressure to be applied to KEK with phone calls, meetings and so on.

During the discussion other issues were raised, such as companies illegally taking gravel from riverbeds near Rahovec (the main wine growing area) which had ‘nearly killed’ the life in the river. When the questioner asked about fines for this she was told that inspectors in the field had been threatened by companies taking the gravel.

The panel members engaged open to discussion with the audience of motivated and critically-minded young people, which is not the usual way that policy is debated in Kosova. Some explanations were offered by panel members for relatively slow progress on the environment, such as “we had a war, and the post-war focus was on social issues”, and “economic development was a priority but now environment will be more of a priority”. Overall there was a sense from participants that there has been lots of debate and relatively little concrete action: as one young questioner said “plans, plans it’s always plans”, with another saying “why are you not panicking?! why can’t we do more, why are we waiting for others to solve our problems?”. There was a general agreement that we should all ask ourselves questions about where the solutions could and should come from.

methods: tubes, wipes, noise, maps and more

After lunch on Saturday there was an introduction & training sesssion on the use of the proposed non-digital methods, mainly diffusion tubes (to measure levels of SO2 and NO2) and so-called ghost wipes (which can detect the presence of heavy metal contaminants).

The session began with a look at the action research cycle, and examples of various methods were discussed, including diffusion tubes, ghost wipes, noise monitoring, logs and mapping. Overall, the idea of establishing and sticking to a protocol was emphasised, both as good scientific practice and also as one of the key pieces of advice the project had received from Global Community Monitor.

For diffusion tubes, the topics covered were how they work, where to put them, the concept of a chain of custody, where to record details of location, conditions etc and the technique of getting people to ‘adopt a tube’. The possibility was raised of using rapid air monitors such as those from Gradko in situations where a snapshot reading is more important than a monthly average. This may be one of the actions triggered by digital readings from the Smart Citizen Kits.

For the ghost wipes, we briefly looked at how they work and the methods of using them, with the aid of the Dust Air Quality Toolkit from Mapping for Change. There was also a joke about these being ‘the most expensive wet wipes you’ll ever use’ (the main cost, of course, being the analysis at the lab).

Noise measurements were not one of the original aims of the pilot project, but because they were mentioned several times during ‘Hearing from the Communities’ several examples were show, especially the Mapping for Change noise toolkit and the NoiseTube project http://scistarter.com/project/475-NoiseTube. This also opened up a discussion about qualitative measurements, as the Mapping for Change noise monitoring in Royal Docks is a good example of recording qualitative data alongside empirical data.

Following on, the idea of keeping logs was introduced. We looked in detail at an example of a pollution log from Global Community Monitor which included questions for observers about what they saw, heard, smelled, tasted and felt (e.g. “what kind of bad smell and when?”). We looked at map from Global Community Monitor’s Louisiana Bucket Brigade to see how these qualitative measurements worked alongside sensor measurements, also re-emphasising the importance of mapping as a way to collate and make sense of the results of our work. The session also looked at example of kite mapping from the Public Lab online community which showed evidence of a company dumping coal in a river, as this was relevant to reports from the ‘Hearing from the Communities’ session of factories dumping in rivers in Kosova.

smart citizen kit

The second session on Saturday afternoon was led by Alexandre (Alex) Dubor of the Smart Citizen project, who produce the Arduino-based Smart Citizen Kit (SCK) which the Kosovo Science for Change project is using as it’s digital sensor device. To put the SCK in context, Alex began with an introduction to Fablabs, their mission and principles, and a description of the way the SCK had been created in Barcelona Fablab. This also gave us an insight in to the nature of prototyping; as Alex said, it took only four days to rapidly prototype the original version of the Smart Citizen Kit but almost two years of refining it to bring it to a stage where it could be deployed in significant numbers in somewhere like Kosova.

Alex then gave a demonstration of the kit and also of the platform where the data will be livestreamed to the internet. This will be an important part of the Science for Change Kosova project.

A discussion followed of how to deploy the kit in practice. Some of the questions were related to the local context; for example, as Kosova still experiences power cuts it was useful to find out that the battery will keep the devices going for up to 24 hours and that sensor data is stored to RAM until the kit is back online and can upload it to the internet. Alex also shared practical tips about the best way to orient the kit and how to tape the usb cable so it doesn’t put strain on the usb socket when the kit is hanging on the wall. The Science for Change project won’t be using the designer 3D printed enclosures that feature on the Smart Citizen site so there’s was a discussion about what kind of boxes would be good for enclosures, what air flow is needed, and so on. There was also a discussion about how best to co-locate the kids with the diffusion tubes, as this is part of the project’s strategy for matching digital readings with well-calibrated laboratory readings.

The Kosovo Science for Change project is fortunate to have a volunteer technical support team made up of participants from FLOSSK (Free Libre Open Source Software Kosova) and the tech community who are established Prishtina Hackerspace.

advocacy & impact

The Sunday morning session set out to develop plans for advocacy & impact. It started with a presentation about the relationship between digital spaces like social media, activism and social change, drawing on global examples like the Arab Spring as well as local examples like recent campaign about the Rectorate at the University of Prishtina, and case studies like the agile Greenpeace campaign about palm oil (URLs).

Trying to answer the question ‘what difference can citizen science make?’ the group looked at the Pepys noise campaign, the Putney air quality measurements that followed (which highlighted the rat runs and enabled the community to be able to sit down and have a roundtable with council & tfl). The session also looked at the achievements of Global Community Monitor’s bucket brigades, which has helped communities be relocated in in Norco, Louisiana, had a school moved and has had companies like the steel facility Claymont, Delaware spend large amounts of money to clean up (some details of which can be found in the REPORT). However, he also emphasised the advice from GCM to understand Science for Change Kosovo is a pilot project, so our expectations of immediate impact should be realistic, while also recognising the larger longer term potential.

It was also pointed out that science doesn’t always have the kind of certainty about environmental impacts (or lack of impacts) that is portrayed in public, and that there are a lot of disagreements inside science and a lot of arguments about what data is valid and what isn’t. Participants were introduced to Phil Tattersall’s Community Based Auditing, a methodical process that doesn’t try to disprove the science asserted by the institutions but simply points out the gaps and mismatches (what Phil calls the disconfirmation process). The impact is not only the change but the realisation of the participants that they are agents of change.

personas for impact

The introduction to advocacy & impact was followed by a group exercise, where each local action group was asked to create detailed personas for the individuals they were trying to influence, and to create imaginary strategies for how to do that with the kind of data and qualitative information that the Science for Change project is aiming to produce.

action planning

After lunch on Sunday, the local groups were tasked with producing a one side action plan, with a top level statement about what they wanted to monitor, what they wanted to achieve by doing this, who was going to be involved and what support they needed from the Science for Change project and the Innovations Lab.

It was explained that the core project team would look at all the plans alongside each other and would prioritise which ones could be started straight away and which would be part of a second phase of the project, based on constraints such as money, local support capacity and the currently available methods (which focus on air quality).

The project’s closing remarks emphasised the amazing potential revealed by the weekend; the co-existence in Kosova of critical environmental issues alongside savvy youth who are motivated to become active participants in independently tackling these problems. After a group photo and the official closing of the weekend, some people returned to lab for a further working group sessions.

Later that evening, some participants gathered for a meal on a balcony which, coincidentally, overlooked one of the government’s fixed air quality monitoring stations in Prishtina. The large LED indicator board above it, which apparently used to display time, temperature and the air quality measurements, was completely dark – as it has apparently been for some time…

(to be continued… in meanwhile follow us on Twitter: @CitSciKS and Facebook: Citizen Science Kosovo)

Disclaimer: this post was originally written by Dr. Dan McQuillan and published here.

Agile campaigning – lecture in #pisu13

On July, 2013, I was invited by Dr. Dan McQuillan to give a lecture on “Agile campaigning” in Prishtina International Summer School 2013 (#pisu13). His course was focused on social media campaigning and social innovation – providing a great opportunity for students to learn more about latest developments around social media for social change and the impact of internet on traditional journalism. The course has included also other interesting topics such as: the dark side of internet, social innovation, hacktivism and politics, legal frame of internet in Kosovo, etc. The course has combined the blended learning approach – theoretical knowledge and practical work through Digital Boot-camp workshops on #Crypto and Crowdsourcing.

My lecture was focused more on alternative spaces used by activist during ’60’s and ’70’s and comparing them with today’s’ blogosphere and social web, as well as critically analyzing various campaigns and social movements around the world. I have also shared my latest experience working with No Hate Speech Movement – a pioneering campaign launched by Council of Europe to empower young people to combat hate speech online. I also draw the focus on Kosovo ‘ecology’ and analyzing the existing fatigue among people to protest against injustice by boosting the slackitivism effect among (young) people.
Throughout the lecture I provided to students various techniques and cases that applied agile campaigning, as well as comparing the shift from traditional campaigning into agile and cloud campaigning.

If you have any feedback, feel free to comment under the blog post.

Post-Mortem: #NoHateSpeech action day on #IDAHO – critical reflection

On May 17th, activists of the No Hate Speech Movement#nohatespeech – have marked the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia – #IDAHO – by taking online actions and standing for human rights and against hate speech online.  I have blogged about the action in my previous blog and you can read it here.

In this blog post I will focus on two elements of the action:  the highlights of the action and low-lights, which can serve as a lessons learned for the upcoming European Action Days (hereafter EAD). Also, note that this blog post reflects my personal critical reflection on the first EAD of #nohatespeech movement and cannot be taken as a reflection of the activists, neither people involved in the campaign.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Activists of #nohatespeech movement

Although, the timeline to design and develop the EAD and its content on #IDAHO was very short, their commitment, investment and contribution has made possible the action day. Despite various challenges that activists have faced, they achieved to smoothly self-organize and give an oomph to the first EAD of #nohatespeech movement.

  • Thunderclap

Thunderclap is a crowd-speaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. A thunderclap was designed for the EAD and the goal was to reach 250 supporters. In the first glance it doesn`t sound as a big deal, but engaging 250 people in such a short time was a great achievement. Moreover, thunderclap showed that can bring a `social media blast` in a short time and engage new audience with the action. Definitely a recommended tool for the next actions!

  • Storify 

Storify is a social network service that lets the users create stories or timelines by integrating/using social media such as: Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, etc. Storify has proved to be very efficient on preparing reports and articles in real-time by using multiple online resources (a great example is the article prepared by the activist @KoberidzeGubaz on the manifestations in Georgia against LGBT community). Storify also helped the activists to put in one place the Twitter conversation and share in other social media channels (look at this example).

  • Engaging influencers in Twitter by activists

Another win of the first EAD was engaging with Twitter influencers, such as: Stephan Fry team (although not directly involved), high-profile activists – Peter Thatcher, international organizations like Amnesty; official institutions – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Fundamental Rights Agency, etc. Except that these influencers bring an added visibility and value to the EAD and campaign itself, they can play a key role on the future actions. Hence, maintaining these relationships and building other partnerships are key elements for the upcoming actions and social media activities.

  • Agility

It`s not anymore cool preparing and investing in a long-term strategies on actions and campaigning. The times have changed and now the organizations and activists more and more are shifting from traditional actions and campaigning into more dynamic, collaborative, participatory and cross-functional actions by using multiple medias and technologies. Agility it supports the adaptive planning, evolutionary development,  a time-boxed iterative approach alias `sprints`, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. The EAD has had a twist of agility on it; the activists have self-organized into cross-functional small teams and worked on various contents. Additionally, the features of the action were more adaptive and implemented on several sprints to build the momentum, raise awareness on the action day and engage new audience.

  • TAGSexplorer

TAGSexplorer is a courtesy tool of @mhawksey which makes possible to users to archive and explore the entire event hashtag and reply any of conversations, by using a combination of Google Spreadsheets as a data source and a simple web interface to add interactivity. I setup a TAGSexplorer for the EAD and there were around 1000 tweets archived, which provide very interesting data from Twitter and allows users to check out who engaged during the EAD. This tool is a big win!

LOWLIGHTS

  • Timeline to prepare the action

I don`t really remember how much time was given to the activists to prepare the action, but definitely there was just few time! And due to lack of timing, a lot of elements of the action have been developed rapidly, but not reflecting critically on them – if they work or not! Also, the time pressure leads the community of activists to take fast decisions (very often on facebook thread of comments) and this raises couple of questions for the future actions: who made the decisions for the elements of actions? Does the community supports and follows them? Who propose the next steps? Etc. However, in order to avoid this lowlight, more time should be given to the activists for better planning of actions.

  • No Hate Speech Facebook group

I personally do consider that closed facebook groups are one of the most frustrated environments for activists to self-organize for actions. First, they are not secure, second they are not user-friendly and third they lack a lot of collaborative features. And following all the comments and notification system is time-consuming and not fruitfull at all. Instead, activists should use other alternative environments for organizing actions such as Elgg  or N-1.

  • Pledgeblank

Is a website which allows users to create and run online pledges on various causes.  The website is not user-friendly and it consumed the time of activists to design the pledge on it. Also, the features of the pledge are very static and not visually attractive. From my perspective, the pledgeblank was a waste of time and if you don`t put lots of efforts and thoughts on how you design it and engage the decision makers to sign the pledge, it can easily fail.

  • Official Facebook Page

Facebook is the main social network used by organizations and nonprofits to raise awareness and promote actions. Although, an event for the action was created, the official Facebook page of the No Hate Speech Movement was very passive. Although, during the action day the facebook page has got more active, but there was a lack of original content. Consequently, a general engagement of the audience with the content of the Facebook page was low. Facebook page should be used more wisely and put more efforts on it, in order to build the momentum for the actions, engage the audience in debate and conversations on the #IDAHo-related topics.

  • Official Twitter account 

The last thing you can do with a Twitter account is to connect it with Facebook and automatically Tweet Facebook posts!
Activists all around the world harness Twitter to update in real time what`s happening, engage in conversations, raise awareness, build community and even self-organize. Unfortunately, the official Twitter account @nohate_speech have had low-profile until couple of days before the EAD. Hence, opening the twitter account for the activists, handling to them for 1-2 weeks, making it more participatory, would be an interesting test to try it out. In the end of the day if Sweden did it, why not the @nohate_speech movement?!

  • No Hate Speech official website 

The official website of #nohatespeech movement is visually good, but it lacks the main elements of a dynamic platform as intended to be; currently the website is not interactive, participatory and even to join the movement with the photo it require an Instagram or Flickr account, which is very tricky! However, a lot of activists, friends and colleagues have complained for the lack of information for EAD in the website. Although, the homepage of the website should serve as the main page to provide the latest news, call to action, etc, this has completely missed. At last but not least – the Hate Speech Watch is not very appropriate element for reporting hate speech cases and the question is what happened with the reports about homophobia and transphobia during the action day? How do we handle them? How do we debate them? And how do we react against them?

  • Collaborative tools

The social web and new emerging technologies provides today a great variety of collaborative tools to organize the work and speed up the development of the action. Therefore, we failed this time to use several collaborative tools that could save the time and make the performance of the activist more efficient. Perhaps, some of the following tools should be considered for the next actions: Google Hangout, Dotstorm, Etherpad, Pastebin, etc.

  • Lack of visual identity 

Every action needs a visual identity with whom the audience could identify. The graphic design is a crucial part of each action or campaign. We missed this element in the action and we struggled with it. A lot more original content could be prepared for social media if the designing skill could exist in the community of activists. Perhaps, having a graphic designer on-baord would be a next win for the EAD and the Campaign itself?

 

 

SAY NO to Homophobia & Transphobia

On 17 May 1990, the World Health Organisation decided to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. Since 2004, it is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia aiming to raise awareness and promote equal rights.

Although progress in equal rights has been achieved, in many countries around the world loving someone of same sex is criminalized: sometimes it means imprisonment, in some cases its death penalty. Equal marriage of same sex couples is still a debated matter. Transgender people are in many countries subject to forced sterilization. Capacity to exercise human rights of the entire LGBTQIA community is still denied in Europe today.

Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are also a reality at society level. Bashing language such as ‘faggot’, ‘tranny’, ‘so gay’ but also fierce versions of it are a reality on the streets of our societies, just as well as in online space. Education against it, accurate information is also missing and left mostly to the work of LGBTQIA organisations over the world.

The No Hate Speech Movement, which I joined since the preparation phase on 2012, takes a stand against this kind of speech because it hurts, it offends, and most importantly it creates the climate for discrimination and hate crime. A joke can be the push for someone else!

We are taking an online stand for human rights for all! We invite you to join our collective actions against homophobic hate speech.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

1. Join the event page on Facebook HERE, invite your friends and make a post on your Facebook timeline about why you are standing up for human rights. (Example: “I’m doing it because I don’t think anyone should be the judge of someone else’s happiness. Love is for everyone, not just for heterosexuals.”)

2. Add your own video or photo message to the No Hate Speech Movement official website.

3. Actively find hate speech against LGBTQI groups online on Friday and REPORT it on Hate Speech Watch and this will help expose the message.

4. React on hate speech online! HERE are some things you could say.

5. Make it count! Convince politicians and decision makers to take the pledge against hate speech which targets people’s gender identity and sexual orientation! Do this on Friday by emailing the pledge: http://www.pledgebank.com/nohatespeech

6. Send the email that promotes the Action Day and invite your friends and networks to forward it to others. If you don`t know what to write, please get in touch with me HERE or HERE.

7. Join our action in Twitter by RTing the official account of the movement – @nohate_speech – and generating new tweets using the following hashtags: #nohatespeech #IDAHO. If you don’t know what tweets to send out, please find HERE some `cooked` tweets by the activists of No Hate Speech Movement.

8. Join thunderclap! Although, we reached the goal of 250 supporters, you can still spread out the news and add more support.

But, this is not all. You can find more instruction for actions by visiting the global webportal for information and action on the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia HERE. Also, you may consider to another website for more ACTIONS – click HERE.

And for the end, please find below some creative videos executed by activists around the world to support the #IDAHO

PINK ARMENIA. SPEAK UP!

LGBT RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS

ST. PAULI FANS CHOREOGRAPHY

ETHICAL CODE FOR ONLINE SPEECH

Digital activism

I`m sharing in this blog post  my presentation I gave back in April, 2013, in the Training Course for Young Online Activists, organized by Council of Europe-Youth Department in the EYCB. The training course aims to develop competences of 30 online activists across Europe to take action against hate speech online and to promote and defend human rights online. The training course also aims to empower them to develop initiatives and take an active role in the No Hate Speech Movement initiated by the Council of Europe.

I`m part of the team of trainers, and my presentation was focused on Digital activism; mainly on various techniques used by organizations/people/groups around the world to fight against injustice, defend human rights and self-organize for their cause. In the presentation I featured also several examples and cases.

Your feedback is welcomed and in the meanwhile please follow the following hashtags: #tcbloggers & #nohatespeech

Gimme some sex

A group of radical Muslims, football hooligans and student organisations have tried to stop the launching event and demolished the place where Kosovo 2.0 has planned to launch their third edition of their magazine named “Sex Issue”. Indeed, this magazine as Editor Besa Luci describes in her blog “aim to break the culture of silence, shame and violence” and give a voice to LGBT communities throughout Balkans. Coincidentally, this comes just one week before the Russian Federation will consider in the first reading a draft law banning the so-called propaganda of homosexualism nationally.

However, before the launching event of “Sex Issue” Magazine, a student organization called “Paqja Studentore” has publicly declared that “they are concerned for the non-human event which wills only contributing to the degradation of the society”. Seriously, how come the society will degrade by a magazine which gives a voice to voiceless communities and highlights one of the most stigmatized community in Kosovo as LGBT are?!

During the whole day, today (Friday) several offensive comments have been published in the Kosovo 2.0 Facebook Page like this one below:

 

Some other pro-Muslim Facebook groups even used national heroes for their propaganda and the screenshot below explains it very well:

 

Their statement in Facebook explicitly says: “Let`s oppose degeneration, division, prostitution, homosexualism and anti-values in our regions, and especially this tonight in Prishtina, which are enforced form outside and from the serbs who speak albanian”.

This is pure discrimination and violation of freedom of speech!

For the sake of argument, here is how Kosovo`s Constitution protects the discrimination of LGBT community and freedom of speech.

Article 24 of the Constitution of Kosovo bans discrimination on a number of grounds, including sexual orientation.

Article 24 [Equality Before the Law]

“2. No one shall be discriminated against on grounds of race, color, gender, language,  religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, relation to any community,  property, economic and social condition, sexual orientation, birth, disability or other personal status”.

Kosovo is thus one of the few states in Europe with a constitutional ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Furthermore, the Anti-Discrimination Law of 2004, passed by the Kosovo Assembly, bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in a variety of fields, including employment, membership of organisations, education, the provision of goods and services, social security and access to housing. The definition of discrimination in this law explicitly includes direct and indirect discrimination, as well as harassment, victimisation and segregation.

Even though Kosovo’s Constitution does not restrict its definition of marriage to the union between a man and a woman, though same-sex couples are not currently recognized by law. Article 37 stipulates that anyone can enter into marriage based on free will

Article 37 [Right to Marriage and Family]

“1. Based on free will, everyone enjoys the right to marry and the right to have a family as provided by law.
2. Marriage and divorce are regulated by law and are based on the equality of spouses.
3. Family enjoys special protection by the state in a manner provided by law.” 

While Article 40 of Kosovo`s Constitution guarantee the freedom of speech to everybody and it includes the right to express oneself, to disseminate and receive information, opinions and other messages without impediment.

Article 40 [Freedom of Expression]

“1. Freedom of expression is guaranteed.  Freedom of expression includes the right to express oneself, to disseminate and receive information, opinions and other messages without impediment.” 

It is important to emphasize that this is not the first time that these groups use hate speech and violance to discredit others. This time again, they used the same tactics – violence and hate speech online to stop the launching event; to discriminate LGBT community in Kosovo (and wide), and to stop freedom of speech in Europe`s newest country.

Whose fault is now? Perhaps lack of sex?

“We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight!” – John Lennon