www.ICT4Accountability.wordpress.com , one of the blogs started by a former master student of the UvA, is officially selected to compete in the internationally renowned blogging competition’ TH!NK3’. This blogging competition, set up by the European Journalism Centre, will bring together some 100 bloggers, journalists, issue experts and students from the 27 EU member states, as well as neighborhood countries and beyond, to exchange ideas and debate sustainable development and global cooperation topics. Winners of the competition will be awarded with opportunities to travel and report from Asia and Africa. The big prize is a trip to the UN headquarters in New York in September 2010, at the time of the Millennium Development Goals summit. Read more…
‘Quis custodiet ipos custodes?’
(Old Latin saying meaning: ‘Who will watch the watchers?’).
The Logo (right) accompanying the term ICT4Accountability symbolizes the panoptic- or all-seeing prison. In his book ‘Discipline and Punish’ (1977), one of the most influential theorizers of modern society, Michel Foucault, describes the panoptic prison as a metaphor for the power relations within modern society. The prison was originally invented by Jeremy Bentham in 1785. In the architecture of the ‘panopticon’ a central guard tower is erected in the middle of the prison, the windows in the tower allows the guard to look out, but no-one is able to look into the tower (think of blinded glass). Cells are built around the central tower within sight of the guard.
Without being able to view the guard in the centrally located tower, an all-seeing gaze is marked yet masked, at once visible and invisible. Foucault’s thesis follows that, since prisoners must therefore assume that they could be at any time under the watchful eye of the tower, they begin to self-discipline their behavior. Even if the guard is not present in the central tower, prisoners will feel ‘the gaze’ and will behave according to the rules. Michel Foucault applies this model or ‘diagram’ to society as a whole. The presence of (central) authority should be internalized by the people, creating self-discipline. Read more…
Nairobi — Kenya is seeking the services of leading mobile phone companies in an ambitious campaign to market the East African Community Common Market. In an Obama-inspired campaign — where ICT played a major role in galvanising public support — the country plans to educate all the 17 million Kenyans who own mobile phones on how they stand to benefit from the Common Market, whose protocol was signed a month ago. Read more…
Dick Scherpenzeel Stichting
Wednesday September 16th
Location: De Balie, Amsterdam
In the smallest room in the Balie, the Dick Scherpenzeel stichting, in cooperation with a handful of donors, held a debate on the opportunities of new media to link local African reporters with western media. Can Twitter, Facebook, linkedin, Blogs and broadband connections change the face of international correspondence? This was the question that drew a healthy amount of people to the debate in the Balie in Amsterdam. Unfortunately the answers had no prominence in the debate. Only once Facebook was mentioned and the other new media opportunities were left untouched. Most of the time was spend discussing a wider debate on the ethics of journalism.
The necessary panel of speakers made their appearance and told us what we already knew. New media makes international communication easier. The discussion soon revolved around the question: are African reporters good enough to cover a story for Dutch media? Is anybody with a camera-phone a journalist? And, are the stories of African reporters relevant for a Dutch audience? In a battle of old vs. new media, Africa interactive chairman Pieter van Twisk defended his network of semi-professional African reporters against the more traditionally oriented Bart Luirink, editor in chief of ZAM magazine. Read more…
Kampala hit by renewed violence,
Police and rioters clashed for a second day in the Ugandan capital Kampala in a dispute involving a tribal king.
Three people are reported to have died in the latest clashes, bringing the death toll to at least 10.
Violence erupted when the government banned the king of Buganda from travelling to Kayunga, an area which says it has seceded from his kingdom.
A spokesman for the king said on Friday he had postponed Saturday’s planned visit, Reuters reported.
The comments by Medard Lubega, deputy information minister of the Bugandan kingdom, contradicted an earlier statement by the king’s premier that the visit would go ahead. Read more…
Wouter Dijkstra (University of Amsterdam) &
Kinyiri Salim (Makerere University Business School)
This fieldwork will focus on information distribution through electronic media and how it can stimulate public service delivery in 4 different districts of Uganda. It will find out how and if citizens get service delivery related information about their district through electronic media and find out how and if they are able to contribute to this information flow. Because of the limited communication infrastructure in rural areas of Uganda we will focus on the local radio stations. Furthermore, we will try to find out how the mobile phone is used in the process of response. Read more…
Questions and Answers after 2 weeks.
Because my notes are too extensive to post I will give an update on my main research questions.
1.What kind of relationship exists between political power brokers and civilians?
2.Why do civilians fail to become politically aware members of their society?
1. To answer the first questions it is imperative to define the ‘power brokers’. This is a very complex story in Uganda for it is a system where many different groups, cultures, clans, families, tribes, parties etc. intertwine.
2. There is a huge gap between civilians and leaders. Uganda is still a class society and as a member of the upper class, you should not mingle with the lower class. Furthermore, a great part of the civilians population in Uganda (especially in rural areas) is ignorant of the role of government.
1. How can New Media Technologies help in a constructive way to tackle some of the major challenges created by the limited access society?
2. Can inverted panoptic surveillance be applied to Ugandan leadership?
1. Tools and applications related to New Media can be used in creating awareness among civilians and providing knowledge to the people ignorant of their political power. Accountability, transparency and accessibility to information are key in this process.
2. As I see it now, inverted surveillance is not an option as of yet. Civilians have no authority and means of power over their leaders. However, when a strong and responsible central government can be formed, civilians can be used to monitor on district level, making it easier for government to regulate and manage.